Who the People? Representative Democracy in North Carolina and Congress

Our elected officials are supposed to represent us, but what does it mean when they aren't like us? Budding citizens explore the demographic makeup of the US Congress, the role of money in political elections, and the Citizens United court case. Class members look at data, news articles, and videos, all of which come with provocative discussion prompts. The lesson concludes with groups creating their own constitutional amendments on the topic of financial regulation of political campaigns.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Get the most up-to-date data by googling "115th congress demography"; have the class compare how things have changed from 2015 to 2017
  • Adapt by providing corresponding data for your state
  • Expand by investigating candidates that will run in the 2018 midterm elections
Classroom Considerations

  • The discussions may draw attention to demographic and socioeconomic differences amongst the class; be sensitive to that possibility and guide accordingly
  • The link to the website about Bernie Sanders' stance on money in politics is broken, but the correct link can be found by googling "Bernie Sanders money in politics"
Pros

  • Provides a balanced approach to controversial issues
  • Discussion prompts promote deep, critical thought about the nature of democracy
Cons

  • None