The A to Z of US politics

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The A to Z of US politics | The Economist





















Abolitionism
The motion to finish slavery in America.
Abraham Lincoln
The sixteenth president, identified for profitable the civil battle towards the Confederacy and abolishing slavery. He was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in 1865 by John Wilkes Sales space, an actor and Accomplice sympathiser. The Economist coated the crime, calling it “maybe the best and most lamentable” occasion, presumably since Waterloo. Learn our editorial leader from 1865.
Absentee voting
Ballots that aren’t solid in individual, often by put up (“mail-in ballots”). The follow in America dates again to the seventeenth century, earlier than independence, and was adopted on a big scale for troopers through the American civil battle. It turned politicised after Donald Trump falsely recommended, within the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, that it led to rampant fraud (confirmed voter fraud is vanishingly uncommon). Within the wake of Mr Trump’s defeat some states, akin to Georgia and Texas, handed legal guidelines proscribing absentee voting. Learn our article from 2021 on America’s battle over election legal guidelines.
Inexpensive Care Act (ACA)
Flagship laws handed by Barack Obama (usually referred to as “Obamacare”) that expanded health-care protection. It created exchanges in order that eligible Individuals may buy, at subsidised charges, non-public health-care plans, and it expanded Medicaid eligibility in most states. The unique regulation included the “particular person mandate”, which required individuals to pay a tax penalty if they didn’t have primary health-care protection. That half was repealed in 2017, below Donald Trump. Read our explainer on why Republicans hate Obamacare.
American courtroom system
State courts hear circumstances involving violations of state regulation; federal courts hear circumstances involving violations of federal regulation or the constitution. They’ve comparable tripartite buildings: trial courts (referred to as district courts within the federal system) are courts of first listening to. A celebration dissatisfied with the trial courtroom’s ruling can ask a state appellate courtroom, if one exists, or federal courtroom of appeals to evaluation the choice. That ruling can then be appealed to a state supreme courtroom, or America’s Supreme Court, which additionally adjudicates disputes between states—although it accepts only a fraction of circumstances.
American Indian regulation
A time period that covers the connection between federal and state governments and the governments ofNative American tribes, or “nations”, in addition to the legal guidelines enacted by tribal governments. Tribes recognised by the federal authorities maintain the facility—granted by treaties and acts of Congress, amongst different rulings—to manipulate themselves (topic to federal regulation) and have Indian tribal courts, which cope with the whole lot from environmental protections to legal justice. In 2022 we wrote about Oklahoma’s tussle with Indian tribes.
Amicus temporary
Formally titled an amicus curiae (“buddy of the courtroom”) temporary, these are filed by events with a powerful curiosity within the end result of a authorized choice however who will not be a part of the case. As an example, in 303 Inventive LLC v Elenis, through which the Supreme Court held that Colorado couldn’t compel a Christian website-designer to create marriage ceremony web sites for homosexual {couples} as a result of she claimed that doing so would violate her non secular beliefs, amicus briefs had been filed by, amongst others, the Freedom From Faith Basis, which argued that non secular beliefs shouldn’t be used to disclaim equal service to homosexual {couples}; and the Catholic League for Spiritual and Civil Rights, which argued the other.
Lawyer-general
The attorney-general is the top of the Division of Justice and is America’s prime federal law-enforcement officer. Regardless of being a part of the chief department, attorneys-general don’t—or at the very least mustn’t—serve the president’s political objectives; they sometimes get pleasure from a lot better independence than different cupboard officers. Learn our Lexington columnist on Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s attorney-general.
Battleground state
A aggressive state within the presidential election. As a result of such states are sometimes essential for profitable a majority within the electoral college, candidates often make investments lots of money and time campaigning in these locations. In 2024 states akin to Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are up for grabs, and can determine the election.
Bidenomics
Used to explain President Joe Biden’s explicit model of financial coverage (he insists the time period got here from the media and never his personal camp). Mr Biden likes to say its defining attribute is to develop the financial system “from the center out and backside up”, a woolly summation of what’s usually in impact industrial coverage, funded considerably by deficit spending. Mr Biden argues it would create jobs, minimize emissions and increase manufacturing. Learn our Briefing from 2022 that assesses Mr Biden’s plans.
Invoice
Legal guidelines start as payments: items of laws launched in both chamber of Congress. As soon as launched, a invoice goes to the related committee, the place members debate and, if needed, alter it. If a majority of the committee approves the invoice, it goes to the complete chamber for debate, dialogue and voting. If a majority of the chamber approve, it goes to the opposite chamber to bear an analogous course of. If the second chamber passes the invoice, variations between the 2 are labored out, and it then goes to the president. If he indicators it, the invoice turns into regulation; if he vetoes it, it returns to Congress, which may override the veto with a two-thirds vote in every chamber.
Blue Canine Democrats
A caucus of average Democrats, united by dedication to nationwide safety and financial conservatism. In its heyday round 2009 it had greater than 50 members. By 2024 it had ten. Read our article from 2009 on the affect of the Blue Canine.
Borking
Obstructing the affirmation of presidential appointees, often by digging up unflattering bits about their previous. The time period comes from Robert Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was derailed when Senator Ted Kennedy appeared to assault him on his values relatively than his {qualifications}.
Brown v Board of Schooling
A Supreme Court case from 1954 that struck down the “separate however equal” doctrine that had sanctioned segregation in public colleges. In follow it took years for colleges to desegregate, and the method was generally violent. In an notorious instance, in 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort black college students—who had been heckled and spat on—into an all-white highschool in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Price range reconciliation
Reconciliation permits the Senate to move payments that change federal income, spending and the debt restrict with a easy majority, relatively than the standard 60-vote threshold required to interrupt a filibuster. Republicans used it to move Donald Trump’s tax cuts in 2017; Democrats used it to tweak the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022. Guidelines governing what could be handed by reconciliation are advanced, and the method can typically be used simply as soon as annually.
Bush v Gore
A Supreme Court case from 2000 that controversially helped to find out the result of the extraordinarily shut presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The ruling shut down a guide recount in Florida, and in impact made Mr Bush president. See additionally hanging chads.
Caucus
A phrase ubiquitous in American politics with an unreasonable variety of subtly completely different meanings. They embody: conferences held in some states through which social gathering members determine on their selection for his or her social gathering’s presidential nominee, such because the Iowa caucuses; all of the members of a celebration inside a chamber, such because the Home Democratic Caucus; and particular teams of Congress members who strategise and have a tendency to vote collectively, such because the House Freedom Caucus, the Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus. The assembly of a caucus can be referred to as a caucus. At these, the caucus members are stated to be caucusing, a phrase that additionally means to be a part of a caucus no matter whether or not or not precise caucusing is occurring.
Central financial institution
See Federal Reserve.
Central Intelligence Company (CIA)
The CIA collects and analyses overseas intelligence, and conducts covert operations on the president’s course. It neither units coverage nor operates domestically.
Checks and balances
Animating idea behind America’s federal authorities construction. Energy is distributed amongst three branches of presidency—government, legislative and judicial—with the goal of guaranteeing they examine one another’s authority. (The time period additionally impressed the title of our newsletter and podcast about American politics.)
Chevron deference
The precept that federal courts ought to typically defer to regulators’ interpretation of an ambiguous regulation. Chevron offers authorities businesses an extended leash: the concept is that so long as they concern “affordable” guidelines the place a statute is unclear, judges ought to butt out and let bureaucrats do their work. However because the Supreme Court launched the doctrine in 1984, in Chevron v Pure Sources Defence Council, justices have winnowed it. In 2024 they could ditch the precept altogether, in a pair of circumstances involving herring fishermen. Learn our article on the cases from January 2024.
Residents United
A Supreme Court choice from 2010 (in full: Residents United v Federal Election Committee) that struck down a ban on “electioneering communications”—or political ads aired near elections and paid for by firms. It discovered that political spending was akin to speech, and due to this fact protected by the First Modification. A associated lower-court choice, Speechnow v FEC, enabled firms and out of doors teams to spend limitless funds on elections, so long as they don’t seem to be co-ordinating with the marketing campaign.
Civil-rights motion
Non-violent social motion searching for equal therapy for black Individuals that achieved authorized and legislative successes within the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties. Folks akin to Martin Luther King junior, Rosa Parks and John Lewis led actions together with the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott in 1955; the March on Washington, the location of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963; and protest marches from Selma to Montgomery, the place some individuals had been overwhelmed and jailed.
Congress
Congress is the federal authorities’s legislature. It debates and enacts laws, declares battle, establishes a funds, appropriates funds and confirms or rejects most of the president’s cabinet-level appointees. It has two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. By repute the Senate is the “cooling saucer” for laws created by the extra rumbustious Home. In follow the higher chamber is incessantly no much less dysfunctional than the decrease. (Not too long ago, although, the Home has been markedly more chaotic, as we wrote in October 2023.)
Congressional committees
Teams of senators and representatives assigned to work on particular points (ie, Armed Companies, Overseas Affairs, Appropriations). They take into account and advocate laws (and a few draft it) earlier than bringing it to the bigger physique; oversee federal businesses; and examine allegations towards fellow lawmakers. There are 20 committees within the Senate and 22 within the Home, plus 4 joint committees; these are additional divided into subcommittees. A lawmaker from the bulk social gathering serves as chair and one from the minority serves as “rating member”, or vice-chair. The political make-up of every committee mirrors the ratio of the bigger physique (although the Ethics Committee is bipartisan). Some are “standing”—fastened within the chamber’s guidelines. Others are “choose”, or authorised by a congressional decision.
Persevering with decision
A stopgap measure that funds the federal government at pre-existing ranges when Congress fails to move a full appropriations invoice by a given deadline. It’s meant to be non permanent, however in current a long time it has nearly totally changed the statutory funds course of, which helps clarify the common risk of a “authorities shutdown”. In 2019 we explained why earlier than 1980 the federal authorities didn’t shut down.
DC statehood
The seat of America’s capital is a federal district, managed by a metropolis authorities however below the jurisdiction of Congress (the place its residents lack full illustration). In a referendum in 2016, residents of Washington, DC, overwhelmingly accredited the concept of changing into a full-fledged state, however makes an attempt to induct the District of Columbia into the union have repeatedly failed. Learn our explainer on the difficulty
Dean scream
A speech delivered by Howard Dean, the early front-runner of the 2004 Democratic primaries and a former governor of the state of Vermont, after he misplaced the Iowa caucus to John Kerry, who ultimately turned the presidential nominee. Within the speech, Mr Dean listed states he anticipated to win earlier than uttering a high-pitched “Yeah!” A clip of the speech was proven extensively on tv, however alas, it didn’t assist his probabilities; Mr Dean did not win a single major. In 2004 our Lexington columnist wrote about Mr Dean’s scream therapy.
Debt ceiling
Maybe the only worst thought within the American political system, the debt ceiling is the sum of money the federal government is legally allowed to borrow to fulfill its pre-existing commitments. In different phrases, Congress has to vote as soon as for a programme or spending dedication, and a second time to finance it. Failing to lift the debt ceiling—as some hardline Republicans most just lately threatened to do in Could 2023—would quantity to America defaulting on its debt.
Deep state
The alleged shadowy community of members of the armed forces, authorities departments and spy businesses working with non-elected elites. The time period was bandied about closely through the Trump administration, when the president accused bureaucrats in law-enforcement and national-security businesses of supporting his predecessor, Barack Obama, and undermining him. Learn our explainer on the deep state.
Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
A coverage launched by Barack Obama that lets immigrants introduced illegally to America as kids apply to remain and work within the nation, renewable each two years. There are at the moment about 580,000 beneficiaries, referred to as Dreamers, who by now have spent most of their lives in America. Donald Trump’s try to finish the programme was stymied by the Supreme Court on procedural grounds. In 2021 a federal choose held DACA illegal and blocked new functions, however allowed present Dreamers to resume their standing pending litigation. The case might be headed again to the Supreme Courtroom. Our Lexington columnist wrote about the need to protect Dreamers in 2022.
Delegates
What a presidential candidate has to win the vast majority of to change into a party’s nominee. Within the presidential primaries and caucuses, states and political events award delegates to the candidates primarily based on how individuals have voted or caucused; the race is particularly for delegates, not the full variety of votes. These delegates characterize their states on the social gathering’s nationwide conference to substantiate their selection. If no candidate will get a majority, conference delegates select by voting. Learn our explainer on how America’s presidential candidates are chosen.
Democratic Social gathering
One of many two main events, the opposite being the Republican Party. It’s synonymous with the color blue. Ideologically, the trendy social gathering is broadly social-liberal and to the left of the Republicans, polling properly with college graduates, younger individuals, and black and hispanic voters. It was not at all times this fashion: within the social gathering’s early historical past, it tolerated slavery and excluded black individuals. The social gathering’s present iteration was considerably formed by Franklin D. Roosevelt’sNew Deal”, which laid the inspiration for the American welfare state and recast the Democrats because the social gathering of progressive reform. Learn our review of a e book that covers the historical past of the social gathering, from 2022.
Director of Nationwide Intelligence (DNI)
America’s senior intelligence official, and the principal adviser to the president and National Security Council on national-security issues associated to intelligence. Her workplace (Avril Haines is Joe Biden’s DNI) was created following the September eleventh 2001 assaults. A bipartisan fee beneficial reorganising America’s large intelligence paperwork to spice up intelligence sharing and co-ordination.
Dissent channel
Formal protocol for members of the State Division to register disagreement with American coverage, created through the Vietnam battle in 1971. Learn our explainer on the dissent channel.
Dobbs v Jackson Girls’s Well being Organisation
A Supreme Court case from 2022 that allowed states to curb entry to abortion, overturning precedent set almost 50 years earlier by Roe v Wade. As of January 2024, 14 states have banned abortion outright following Dobbs, and sevenmore have imposed limits on abortion of between six and 20 weeks right into a being pregnant.
Earmarks
Legislative provisions that direct spending to a selected entity or place, permitting legislators to distribute federal largesse in a focused manner (presumably pleasing their constituents). Typically derisively referred to as “pork-barrel spending”, they had been banned within the decade to 2021 however have since been reintroduced, with some restrictions. Critics decry them as symbolic of presidency waste and corruption; proponents argue they’re a part of the legislative bargaining course of and finance essential infrastructure. Learn our explainer on earmarks.
Electoral Faculty
Contains 538 electors, one for each congressional district and Senate seat (and three from Washington, DC, which has no nationwide representatives). For essentially the most half, these electors solid their votes for whoever gained their state’s fashionable vote. (Maine and Nebraska function otherwise.) A candidate can due to this fact win the nationwide fashionable vote however lose the Electoral Faculty vote, and therefore the presidency (this occurred in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016). Although many grouse in regards to the faculty, it’s within the constitution.
Entitlements
Cheques that qualifying Individuals obtain from the federal government, as a matter of regulation. The 2 largest entitlement programmes are Social Safety, the federal government’s pension scheme, and Medicare, or medical insurance for individuals 65 and older. Their devoted belief funds are hurtling in the direction of insolvency however are notoriously laborious to reform, an enterprise lengthy thought-about to be a political “third rail”. Not like authorities programmes administered by block grants, funding for entitlements is often not capped—anybody eligible for the profit receives it. In 2023 we wrote about the struggle to reform entitlements.
Government order
A declaration by a president or governor, often associated to the administration of the chief department, that always has comparable power and performance to regulation. It isn’t laws, nevertheless: on the federal degree, Congress can move a regulation overriding it, and on the state degree, it’s topic to legislative evaluation (relying on the state).
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The FBI is the principal federal law-enforcement company in addition to America’s home intelligence and counter-intelligence service.
Federal authorities
The federal authorities governs the union of fifty states and varied territories from its seat in Washington, DC. It consists of Congress, which makes legal guidelines; the president, who executes and enforces them; and the federal courts, together with the Supreme Court, which interpret legal guidelines in response to the constitution. Congress contains the House of Representatives (the decrease home), and the Senate (the higher home).
Federal Reserve
America’s central financial institution. Its duties embody supervising banks, setting financial coverage and sustaining monetary stability. It contains 12 Federal Reserve banks, every answerable for their very own areas, and a seven-person board of governors, every appointed to a 14-year time period by the president. The Federal Reserve units financial coverage independently of the president’s preferences.
Filibuster
An artefact of the Senate’s guidelines permitting limitless debate, the filibuster is a technique of blocking laws. Payments can move the Senate with a easy majority of 51, however 60 senators should vote for a “cloture” movement to finish debate. Traditionally, it concerned a senator speaking for a very long time; at the moment the mere risk of filibuster by 41 or extra senators serves the identical objective.
First Modification
Ensures the correct to freedom of faith, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the correct to peaceable meeting and to petition the federal government. Thought-about a foundational American precept, questions on its applicability routinely come earlier than the Supreme Court. Does on-line stalking quantity to protected speech or threats? Can editorial choices by a public-access cable community quantity to censorship? The modification has been in place since 1791, however there may be nothing to point that the courtroom will run out of recent points to debate. Learn our explainer on whether or not the First Modification protects threatening language, and our article on whether or not it applies to public-access cable.
Foggy Backside
A neighbourhood in Washington, DC, and a shorthand for the State Division, which has its headquarters there.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR was a Democratic president whose tenure, from 1933 to 1945, spanned the Nice Melancholy to the second world battle. (The twenty second Modification subsequently restricted presidents to 2 phrases.) He handed the New Deal, a collection of public programmes and reforms geared toward serving to America recuperate economically. His extraordinarily productive first 100 days in workplace set an unofficial, and never essentially useful, bar for brand spanking new presidents. Learn our article from 2021 on the similarities between FDR and Joe Biden.
Full Grassley
An entire tour of Iowa’s 99 counties, generally carried out by presidential-primary challengers hoping to win the state. It’s named in honour of Iowa’s long-serving senator, Chuck Grassley, who undertakes such a mission yearly. Within the 2024 election cycle Ron DeSantis was the primary main candidate to finish a full Grassley, in December 2023.
Homosexual marriage
When The Economist revealed an editorial chief in favour of homosexual marriage in 1996 (which you’ll be able to learn here), and once more in 2004 (here), the difficulty was divisive. As late as 2011 Barack Obama, as Democratic president, opposed it. Simply ten years later, Congress—cut up on just about the whole lot else—handed the Respect for Marriage act. It formalised same-sex {couples}’ proper to marry, even when Obergefell v Hodges, the Supreme Courtroom case that legalised the follow, must be struck down by a conservative courtroom (as was the destiny of Roe v Wade). Public help for homosexual marriage has steadily elevated from 27% in polls by Gallup in 1996 to 71% in 2023.
George Washington
Founding father, first president and commander of the Continental military in America’s battle of independence. Washington, who was formally a member of no social gathering, warned the nation towards political “factions”.
Gerontocracy
How some individuals describe America’s democracy, dominated as it’s on the prime lately by aged politicians. Joe Biden, for instance, is an octogenarian, as is Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority chief. If Donald Trump had been to win the 2024 election, he can be sworn in aged 78. Learn our information story on America’s old lawmakers.
Gerrymandering
The manipulation of district boundaries for partisan benefit. It has been carried out by politicians of all stripes because the daybreak of the Republic; it will get its title from Elbridge Gerry, who, because the governor of Massachusetts in 1812, consolidated his opponents in just some districts whereas giving his social gathering a bonus in a lot of the others.
Governor
The chief government of a state. There are additionally territory governors, who lead American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Nice Society
President Lyndon Johnson’s coverage programme of 1965, which he bought to the American individuals as a brand new republic, free from the ills of the previous. It set out his imaginative and prescient for a “nice society” which included efforts to enhance training, battle poverty, protect the pure setting, management crime and set up government-funded health-insurance schemes: Medicare and Medicaid.
Guantánamo
A army detention centre arrange after the September eleventh 2001 assaults at an American naval base in Cuba. The Bush administration argued that folks held there have been “enemy combatants” and couldn’t be processed in America’s courtroom system. In complete it has held roughly 780 individuals since 2002; 30 stay, tied up in a authorized morass. Learn our article from 2021 in regards to the interminable trials.
Hanging chads
Round bits (“chads”) of paper ballots that aren’t totally punched by (and stay “hanging”) in punch-card voting techniques, with the end result that the voter’s choice is unclear. This occurred in Florida within the 2000 presidential election; hanging chads turned the image of the disputed recount. Additionally see Bush v Gore.
Homeland Safety, Division of
An government division created after the assaults of September eleventh 2001. Its portfolio consists of counter-terrorism, border safety and cybersecurity.
Home Freedom Caucus
A voting bloc of about 50 far-right Republicans in America’s House of Representatives fashioned in 2015 by members who thought-about the management of the Home (in Republican palms) too amenable to compromise with Home Democrats and the Obama administration. They wish to minimize spending and shrink the federal government, and can go to excessive lengths to attain their objectives, main one fellow Republican to liken them to “legislative terrorists”. Learn our explainer on the bloc.
Home of Representatives
The bigger of the 2 chambers of Congress, the Home has 435 members who serve two-year phrases. Districts are apportioned to states each ten years, primarily based on the census; states then draw their very own districts, which have to be roughly equal in inhabitants. Till 1929, the Home grew in tandem with the inhabitants, however that yr’s Apportionment Act capped its measurement. The variety of individuals every member represents has soared, from round 35,000 in 1800 to greater than 761,000 at the moment.
Immigration reform
Nobody thinks America’s immigration system is working properly, however “complete” immigration reform—exchanging tighter border-security measures for a path to regularised standing for these within the nation illegally—has eluded Congress for many years.
Impeachment
Punishment delegated to Congress for misconduct by federal officers, together with presidents. Any member of the Home of Representatives can introduce articles of impeachment; if the vast majority of the Home approves them, the official is then tried by the Senate, with the chief justice presiding if the president is on trial. If two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict, that official is faraway from workplace. Solely eight individuals, all federal judges, have been convicted and faraway from workplace. No president has been eliminated, and simply three have been impeached: Andrew Johnson, Invoice Clinton and Donald Trump (twice). Learn our review of a e book on presidential impeachment, from 2018.
Impartial counsel
See special counsel.
Inflation Discount Act
Joe Biden’s flagship laws, the title of which Mr Biden regrets. It’s most frequently related to decarbonisation, however has three broad parts: it incentivises green-energy tasks; it expands government-subsidised well being care and lowers the prices of prescribed drugs; and it tinkers with tax codes to lift extra money from firms. Learn our explainer on the act’s achievements in its first yr.
Iowa caucuses
The primary race within the Republican major contest, and traditionally the primary within the Democratic one, too. Whereas the Republican caucuses work by easy secret poll, within the Democratic “caucuses”, voters’ decisions are public: individuals collect in church buildings or gymnasiums, then organise themselves in teams across the room, generally persuading others to hitch them, to point their most popular candidate. This goes on till every group is “viable”, garnering (often) 15% of individuals. After a closing rely, viable candidates are awarded a proportionate variety of “state delegate equivalents”. The end result of the Iowa contest has set the tone for major elections up to now: going first offers the winner of Iowa wind of their sails. In 2023, nevertheless, the Democratic Social gathering voted to place South Carolina first, in a transfer geared toward giving extra affect to black and minority voters who make up the social gathering’s base. Learn our explainer on why Iowa issues a lot within the election.
Iowa state truthful
An annual occasion that receives outsize consideration in presidential-election years, when major challengers descend on Des Moines forward of what historically was the nation’s first contest. Truthful highlights embody crop competitions, pork chops on sticks and, in fact, a cow sculpted out of butter.
January sixth riot
When supporters of Donald Trump, then the departing president, stormed the Capitol to attempt to forestall Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in 2021. The surprising try to intervene with the peaceable switch of energy led to Mr Trump’s second impeachment, greater than 700 legal convictions and (immediately or not directly) to at the very least seven deaths. Learn our article on the riot from 2021.
Japanese internment camps
Detention centres into which the American military forcibly moved Japanese-Individuals dwelling on the west coast, starting in March 1942 after the assault on Pearl Harbor by Japan just a few months earlier than. A month earlier, President Franklin Roosevelt had signed an government order authorising the military to designate army areas and exclude civilians because it noticed match. Though no ethnic group was talked about within the order, it sanctioned the internment of 125,000 Japanese Individuals on the orders of John DeWitt, a military basic. The coverage was upheld by the Supreme Court in Korematsu vs america in 1944.
John Adams
A founding father and America’s second president. His social gathering, the Federalists, favoured a powerful central authorities, a nationwide financial institution and shut ties with Britain.
Joint chiefs of employees
The senior officers of every department of America’s armed forces: the Military, the Navy, the Air Power, the Marines, the Nationwide Guard and the Area Power. It’s headed by the chairman of the joint chiefs, who’s by appointment America’s senior army official. The chairman is the principal adviser to the president on army affairs; the joint chiefs have advisory roles solely, and no operational command.
Jungle major
A major election that features all candidates no matter social gathering affiliation, that means that Democrats and Republicans run towards one another. If nobody wins greater than 50% of the votes, the highest two candidates, no matter social gathering, progress to a run-off. Louisiana has used the setup for Congressional, state and native elections kind of since 1975; just a few different states, together with California and Washington, use nonpartisan elections with barely completely different voting guidelines.
Okay Avenue
A avenue in Washington, DC, that’s dwelling to foyer teams and regulation corporations. Regardless of many foyer corporations truly residing elsewhere, it’s nonetheless used as a short-hand for lobbying, much like how Fleet Avenue is a byword for the British press regardless that the final reporters left in 2016.
Labour unions
Organised labour in America dates again to the nineteenth century. However it was within the Thirties, below the New Deal, that unions had been legally protected and companies required to cut price with them. Unions suffered an extended decline from their heyday within the Fifties. They’re now having fun with considerably of a bump, though their membership stays under the height. In 2022 we wrote about how America’s unions are gentrifying.
Lame duck
Describes a lawmaker within the closing yr of their time period, usually when their successor has already been chosen. A lame-duck president could really feel much less constrained by social gathering politics. It might additionally consult with a session of Congress after its subsequent cohort has been elected. In 2022 we wrote a wish-list for the lame-duck Congress.
Loving v Virginia
A fittingly named Supreme Court case that, in 1967, struck down state bans on interracial marriage.
Mail-in ballots
See absentee voting.
Massachusetts v Environmental Safety Company (EPA)
A Supreme Court choice from 2007 which dominated that America’s federal environmental company has the authority to manage greenhouse-gas emissions.
Mayor
An American mayor is both a ceremonial position often held by a member of the town council, or an elected government who operates independently from the council, much like how the presidency is separate from Congress. In greater cities, they usually lean Democratic (as metropolitan areas often do) and change into a thorn within the facet of Republican-led state legislatures.
Medicaid
A joint federal and state programme that covers medical prices for poor individuals. Eligibility varies by state. In 2018 we wrote about how the Trump administration was reshaping Medicaid.
Medicare
Medical insurance supplied by the federal authorities for Individuals 65 and older.
Mr President
How Individuals tackle their chief. John Adams pushed for “His Highness”, horrifying Thomas Jefferson.
NAFTA (North American Free Commerce Settlement)
A deal signed in 1993 by America, Canada and Mexico to get rid of tariffs between the three nations by making a free-trade area. It was lengthy a populist punching bag, and Donald Trump (who referred to as NAFTA the “the only worst commerce deal ever accredited on this nation”) renegotiated it throughout his time period of workplace, renaming it the US-Mexico-Canada Settlement (USMCA). The principle, underwhelming change was {that a} better proportion of a automobile’s or truck’s parts needed to be manufactured in America to qualify for tariff exemption. Learn our analysis of the USMCA from 2018.
Bare poll
Pennsylvania sends absentee ballots to voters who request them together with an exterior “secrecy” envelope. In 2020 Pennsylvania’s supreme courtroom dominated that votes solid in “bare ballots”—mailed again with out the additional envelope—can be voided, a consequential choice in a swing state.
Nationwide Safety Company (NSA)
America’s signals-intelligence department.
Nationwide Safety Council (NSC)
Chaired by the president and together with a number of cupboard secretaries in addition to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of national intelligence, that is the primary discussion board for national-security officers to debate coverage choices and make suggestions to the president. The NSC additionally has lots of of employees members, and sits atop a pyramid of committees composed of specialists from throughout cupboard departments. The NSC and the place of nationwide safety adviser—the president’s chief adviser on national-security affairs—had been each created after the second world battle, by the Nationwide Safety Act of 1947.
Damaging partisanship
Figuring out strongly towards a selected social gathering relatively than in help of 1. It’s carefully associated to the idea of affective polarisation, the relative hostility felt in the direction of members of the opposite social gathering, which has risen two-fold since 1970, in response to American Nationwide Election Research, a long-running voter survey. At its excessive lies deadly partisanship—endorsing violence towards the opposite group—which a miserable 5-15% of Individuals undergo from. In 2021 we wrote about political scientists’ worries about deadly partisanship.
New Deal
A collection of programmes and reforms that reshaped American society, handed by Franklin Roosevelt through the Nice Melancholy. They sought to alleviate poverty, develop the financial system and reform the monetary system to forestall one other disaster. The primary New Deal included emergency-relief programmes. The second created the Works Progress Administration, which constructed infrastructure and employed thousands and thousands of Individuals, and the Social Security Act, establishing a pension scheme and a federal unemployment-insurance programme.
NIMBYism
Stands for “not in my yard”; the tendency of locals to withstand new growth.
Obamacare
See Affordable Care Act.
Obergefell v Hodges
A Supreme Court choice, from June 2015, that recognised the constitutional proper to same-sex marriage. Particular person cities and states had granted marriage licences to homosexual {couples} beforehand: San Francisco was the primary metropolis, in February 2004, and Massachusetts the primary state, in Could of that yr. However different states may ban the follow and decline to honour licences, till Obergefell.
Workplace of Administration and Price range (OMB)
A strong workplace inside the government department whose job it’s to know the mechanics of the federal authorities, oversee the rules that different government businesses create, and produce the president’s annual funds. They clarify to the president easy methods to get issues carried out: if the deep state had a core, it might be right here.
Omnibus invoice
A invoice that covers a number of unrelated matters. It’s usually created to move many pressing payments without delay, particularly when a authorities shutdown looms and Congress has did not move the required spending payments.
Opioid epidemic
Opioid overdoses killed greater than 600,000 Individuals since 1999, and modelling means that 1.2m extra may die between 2020 and 2029. The supply has mutated over time: from opioid drugs like OxyContin, prescribed to deal with ache, to cheaper heroin, then ultimately to fentanyl, a a lot stronger artificial opioid. The disaster cuts throughout lessons and states. Listed here are five books The Economist recommends on the disaster.
Oval Workplace
The place the president works within the White House. William Taft, the twenty seventh president, prolonged the West Wing and began the custom in 1909. Presidents have given notable speeches from it: George W. Bush, after the assaults of September eleventh 2001; Richard Nixon, upon resigning; and John F. Kennedy, delivering information of the Cuban missile disaster.
Pentagon
Typically refers back to the Division of Defence and its management. It is usually the pentagonal bodily headquarters of the division, situated simply outdoors Washington, DC, in Arlington, Virginia.
Pentagon Papers
Report commissioned by the Division of Defence that exposed that America’s battle in South-East Asia was extra expansive than it had admitted. It was leaked to the press by Daniel Ellsberg, then an worker on the RAND Company, a think-tank. The paperwork started showing within the New York Occasions in 1971. A authorized battle that reached the Supreme Courtroom led to a well-known victory for press freedom. Learn our obituary of Daniel Ellsberg. Learn our obituary of Ellsberg from 2023.
Plurality-winner election
An election through which the candidate with essentially the most votes wins, often in a single-member district akin to these used for the House of Representatives. This method is also called “first-past-the-post” or “winner-take-all”. It implies that the result of the election won’t be the one actually favoured by the biggest variety of individuals—an issue so well-known that Lewis Carroll denounced its “extraordinary injustice” in 1873. In 2021 we revealed a Christmas particular on quadratic voting, which may provide a fairer solution to vote.
Political motion committee (PAC)
A fundraising machine that donates to political campaigns. PACs are topic to fundraising limits; “tremendous PACs” will not be. In trade these much less regulated teams should stay notionally unbiased of any marketing campaign, although co-ordination is rampant.
Political dynasties
America could love an underdog, but it surely additionally rewards well-connected households. The second and sixth presidents (John and John Quincy Adams) had been father and son; two centuries later, the forty first and forty third (George H.W. and George W. Bush) had been, too. The Harrisons skipped a technology: in 1841 William Henry served simply 32 days in workplace, dying of pneumonia; his grandson Benjamin was elected in 1888. The presidential Roosevelts (Theodore and Franklin Delano) had been cousins. Just one Kennedy (John F.) has held the highest position, however that still-active political household is perhaps essentially the most well-known of all. Learn our Lexington columnist’s article on the Kennedys from 2023.
Pork-barrel spending
See earmarks.
Presidency
The president, elected each 4 years, is the top of state and of the chief department of presidency, in addition to commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Presidents can veto laws, conduct overseas coverage and concern executive orders. They oversee all cupboard departments, in addition to different executive-branch businesses, which embody a lot of America’s regulatory and national-security equipment.
Main election
An election previous a basic one, through which voters choose the social gathering’s candidate. “Main” refers back to the general course of through which events select their candidates, in addition to to particular elections, which—not like the Iowa caucuses—function like typical polls. The presidential primaries start in January of the election yr and conclude by summer time.
Progressive Social gathering
A brief-lived third social gathering in American politics fashioned in 1912 by Theodore Roosevelt, a former Republican president. Also called the Bull Moose Social gathering. Roosevelt broke with the Republican Social gathering after dropping its presidential nomination to William Howard Taft. The Progressive Social gathering championed his radical concepts, together with a social-insurance system, an eight-hour working day and girls’s suffrage. Each Taft and Roosevelt misplaced to a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, and the Progressive Social gathering fizzled out, although new iterations briefly appeared in 1924 and 1948.
Public opinion polls
Questions requested of a pattern of the inhabitants to gauge its opinion on political issues. Survey corporations, like Pew Analysis Centre and YouGov (with which The Economist usually collaborates), use sampling methods in an effort to make sure that the subset of individuals chosen for the ballot characterize the bigger inhabitants. Though not all polls are created equal, there are methods to identify a wonky one. We explained how in 2022.
QAnon
A far-right cult and conspiracy principle headed by “Q”, an nameless on-line determine, whose cryptic posts allege that Donald Trump is waging a covert battle to avoid wasting America from an elite cabal of Devil-worshipping paedophiles. The FBI has labelled it a “home terror risk”; a few of its adherents had been among the many January 6th rioters.
Ranked-choice voting
In a ranked-choice election, voters rank candidates so as of desire. If none wins a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest is eradicated, and the remaining decisions on these ballots redistributed so as. This course of continues till one candidate has a majority of remaining first-choice votes. Additionally referred to as instant-runoff voting, this technique is distinct from first-past-the-post voting, through which voters solid a single vote for whichever candidate they dislike least. It has been used thus far in two states (Maine and Alaska), in addition to a variety of smaller jurisdictions, together with New York Metropolis.
Reaganite
Refers to a model of conservatism created by Ronald Reagan, the Republican president who served from 1981 to 1989. It’s often invoked in distinction with the extra populist conservatism of Donald Trump. Briefly, it indicators help for free-market capitalism, native (relatively than “massive”) authorities, and army power; antipathy for welfare programmes; and a muscular method towards crime.
Redistricting
Each decade, after census figures come out, congressional districts are reapportioned among the many states, relying on which have gained and misplaced inhabitants, and redrawn inside them. This course of is named redistricting. Per the constitution, districts inside every state have to be comparatively equal, however they’ll range markedly throughout states: Delaware’s lone district, for example, has greater than 1m individuals, whereas Rhode Island’s second has simply over 550,000. Districts will not be presupposed to pack or crack or stack—that means neither cram nor divide communities—and they need to be comparatively compact and contiguous. These dictates are sometimes extra honoured within the breach than the observance.
Reparations
Compensation for systematic oppression or abuse by the state, as a method to redress injustice. It’s primarily raised in reference to Native Individuals or black individuals descending from African slaves, as each communities proceed to be affected by previous (and current) maltreatment. Types of reparation have been in use in America because the 1700s, together with for the interned Japanese, but the concept stays perpetually divisive.
Republican Social gathering (GOP)
One in all America’s two main political events (together with the Democratic Party), also called the GOP, or Grand Outdated Social gathering. It’s related to the color crimson. Based in 1854 on an anti-slavery platform (Abraham Lincoln was the primary Republican president), the social gathering embraced social reform: its platform in 1916 favoured ladies’s suffrage, strict child-labour legal guidelines and respectable staff’ situations. Richard Nixon’s “southern technique”, through which he appealed to white southerners’ opposition to the civil-rights motion, shifted these voters from the Democratic to the Republican column—turning American politics the other way up. At present Republicans make up the American proper.
RINO (Republican In Title Solely)
A derisive cost—standing for “Republican In Title Solely”—levelled towards social gathering members perceived to be ideologically misaligned (often insufficiently conservative) or personally disloyal. A favorite of Donald Trump, the time period has an extended historical past: it was used to disparage Theodore Roosevelt, the Republican president from 1901 to 1909.
Roe v Wade
A Supreme Court case from 1973 that recognised the constitutional proper to abortion earlier than the purpose of foetal viability, in impact stopping states from banning the process. Abortion remained controversial, and people opposed succeeded in bringing the difficulty earlier than the courtroom once more in 2021. Roe was overturned in 2022. Learn our article from then explaining the choice’s significance.
Rust belt
Refers to a area made up of principally city components of the north-east and Midwest, which have seen industrial decline, particularly by way of manufacturing jobs, because the center of the twentieth century. In 2016 Donald Trump’s grievance politics performed properly within the area. Earlier than the decline, it was referred to as the manufacturing facility belt.
Secession
In 1860 South Carolina seceded from america, sparking the American civil battle. Ever because the South was returned to the union 4 years later, no state has tried once more. However for some it stays a dream. Texas, for instance, has nurtured secessionist actions since at the very least the Nineties; a constitutional modification to secede was launched within the New Hampshire legislature in 2022 (it was rejected). These efforts are geographically numerous however they share one factor: all have proved quixotic.
Second Modification
When invoked at the moment, the time period invariably refers to particular person gun-ownership rights. In full, the second modification of the constitution reads: “A properly regulated Militia, being essential to the safety of a free State, the correct of the individuals to maintain and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The odd grammar has been on the heart of a debate over whose rights the modification protects. In 1939 the Supreme Courtroom interpreted it to guard a state’s proper to manage weapons—an method referred to as the collective-rights principle. However the courtroom switched sides in 2008, recognising a person’s proper to personal a gun for self-defence in DC v Heller.
Senate
Congress’s higher chamber has 100 members, two from every state, who serve six-year phrases, with one-third of the chamber up for re-election each two years. The Senate’s construction overwhelmingly advantages voters from small states, giving Wyoming (with fewer than 600,000 individuals) equal illustration with California (which has greater than 40m). The Senate confirms ambassadors, cupboard officers, federal judges, Supreme Court justices and lots of different political and army appointees.
Senate affirmation
Ambassadors, federal judges, heads of executive-branch businesses and the armed providers, most cupboard officers and quite a few different presidential appointees—round 1,200 in all—have to be confirmed “with the Recommendation and Consent of the Senate”, as dictated in Article II of the constitution. Few are voted down outright, however more and more, appointees can sit for months in limbo. And the specter of rejection has led presidents to withdraw controversial nominees.
Senate majority chief
Probably the most highly effective member of the Senate, elected internally by the bulk energy. (Their counterpart is the minority chief.) The bulk chief serves because the spokesperson for the social gathering’s positions and schedules enterprise on the Senate flooring. For instance, in 2016 Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Mitch McConnell, then the Republican Senate majority chief, blocked Mr Garland’s bid by refusing to take any motion on the nomination earlier than Mr Obama’s time period ended. Majority leaders are additionally the primary to be recognised to talk when a invoice is being debated—permitting them to place ahead amendments earlier than anybody else within the chamber.
Shadow docket
The Supreme Court’s emergency docket, through which choices are made with out oral argument and, sometimes, with scant rationalization and few justices disclosing how they voted. It consists of emergency appeals from events who consider they might be irreparably harmed with out fast intervention from the justices. Shadow-docket circumstances spiked below Donald Trump’s administration, when controversial requests—akin to to divert funds to his border wall, ban travellers from Muslim nations and execute federal prisoners—had been granted.
Single-member districts
A system through which every district is represented by one individual, chosen by a majority or plurality of the voters. It’s utilized by the Home of Representatives and state legislatures.
Social Safety
America’s federal pension scheme, instituted by Franklin Roosevelt as a part of the New Deal.
Speaker of the Home
Chief of America’s House of Representatives, which—not like Senate majority leader—is a task prescribed by the structure. Its duties, nevertheless, will not be, and have expanded and contracted with the individual on the dais. Below present Home guidelines, the speaker refers payments to committee, recognises members in flooring debates and appoints committee chairs. In different phrases, the Home can not perform with no speaker, as underscored by the three-week paralysis that gripped the chamber in October 2023 when it lacked one.
Particular counsel
Previously, “unbiased counsel”. A semi-independent federal prosecutor appointed by the attorney-general, who heads the Justice Division. The designation insulates the particular counsel from the conventional chain-of-command within the DOJ, which is vital for politically delicate inquiries. An unbiased counsel, Ken Starr, investigated Invoice Clinton, authoring the report that might set out the case for the president’s impeachment. Jack Smith, the particular counsel appointed to research Donald Trump, has introduced two legal indictments towards the previous president.
State Division
America’s foreign-affairs ministry. The constitution offers the president energy to conduct overseas relations, and in 1789 Congress handed laws creating an government division to facilitate that. It’s headed by the secretary of state, a strong cupboard place.
State authorities
Every of the 50 states has a state authorities that mimics the federal one: a state legislature, divided right into a decrease and higher home (sole exception being Nebraska’s unicameral legislature); a state governor; and system of state courts. States get pleasure from a good quantity of sovereignty however are finally topic to the federal structure and the Supreme Court.
Tremendous Tuesday
A Tuesday in February or March when as much as two dozen states maintain presidential-primary elections—the very best quantity in a single day throughout an election yr. Within the primaries candidates win the backing of state delegates who help them at their social gathering’s presidential-nominating conference. On Tremendous Tuesday about one-third of these delegates are often up for grabs (although as many as half had been in 2008)—that means the outcomes are an excellent indication of who will change into the nominee.
Superdelegates
Most used to explain delegates within the Democratic nomination course of who will not be pledged to help a particular candidate. Primarily social gathering grandees who can help whomever they need; they is perhaps Democratic senators, representatives, governors, former presidents or different components of the social gathering institution. After supporters of Bernie Sanders complained of undue influence within the nomination of Hillary Clinton, nevertheless, they don’t seem to be allowed to vote within the first spherical on the nationwide conference except the selection is a foregone conclusion. The Republican Party additionally has unpledged delegates, generally referred to as superdelegates, in some states and territories.
Supreme Courtroom
The one courtroom talked about within the structure, the Supreme Courtroom consists of eight affiliate justices and one chief justice (although this quantity shouldn’t be constitutionally prescribed), all nominated by the president to serve life phrases. It adjudicates disputes between states, and in addition hears, on attraction, circumstances involving questions of constitutional or federal regulation. It hears round 100 of the 7,000 circumstances offered for evaluation annually. The courtroom considers itself above politics—a self-flattering assumption that has grown more and more laborious to countenance. Learn our Lexington columnist’s article from 2022 on the politicisation of the courtroom.
Swing state
See battleground state.
Televised debates
A fixture of the presidential-election season. Events stage their very own debates within the lead-up to primaries, after which Democratic and Republican candidates face off, often a number of occasions earlier than the election. The primary televised debate between candidates, in 1960, pitted a youthful John F. Kennedy towards a sweaty Richard Nixon; 60-70m Individuals tuned in. Those that listened on the radio favoured Nixon, however viewers thought Kennedy (who ended up profitable the election) did higher—underscoring the facility of the brand new visible medium.
The squad
A time period initially used to explain 4 ladies elected to the House of Representatives for the Democratic Party in 2018: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, generally referred to as AOC; Ilhan Omar; Ayanna Pressley; and Rashida Tlaib. After their election Ms Ocasio-Cortez shared an image of them on Instagram, a social-media platform, with the caption “Squad”. The title caught. Since then a number of different representatives have joined “the squad”. All are on the left of the social gathering and proudly so—even when the social gathering as a complete has fallen out of affection with their most radical concepts, akin to “defunding the police” and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Learn our Briefing from 2022 on the Democrats’ battle to average.
Third events
An umbrella time period for events or candidates that aren’t Republican or Democratic. They’ve had restricted success in elections; the final time a third-party presidential candidate gained any states in a presidential election was in 1968, when George Wallace, a candidate for the American Impartial Social gathering which supported segregation, gained 5 states within the South. However they’ll have an effect on the outcomes of basic elections, often by drawing votes that might in any other case go to one of many two primary events. As of 2023 simply three federal lawmakers don’t belong to both of the 2 primary political events; all are senators, registered as independents, and caucus with Democrats (for now). Learn our article from 2019 on third-party candidates’ failures.
Thomas Jefferson (Jeffersonian)
Founding father, third president and first creator of the Declaration of Independence. The modifier “Jeffersonian” can apply to democratic beliefs (civic responsibility, self-governance) in addition to structure (principally: neoclassical). Jeffersonian Republicans (additionally referred to as Democratic-Republicans) favoured sturdy native governments and a weak federal one.
Ticket
The president and vice-president run on the “identical ticket”, that means they’re elected collectively. In state elections, many governors and lieutenant-governors do, too. Initially the runner-up within the presidential election turned vice-president, however that made for chaotic authorities and solely lasted till 1804. The twelfth Modification set out the brand new protocol, in order that electors needed to solid separate votes for every workplace.
Tribal nations
The federal authorities recognises almost 600 Native American tribal nations, in a relationship that the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a federal company, describes as “one between sovereigns, ie, between a authorities and a authorities”. Greater than a 3rd are in Alaska. Tribal governments are answerable for training, regulation enforcement, well being care and primary infrastructure, amongst different providers, for members of their nations. Additionally see American Indian law
Uncle Sam
Personification of america. In an iconic army-recruitment poster from 1917, through the first world battle, Uncle Sam factors on the reader; the textual content says, “I need you for U.S. Military”.
Vice-presidency
Vice-presidents at the moment are (generally) valued advisers to their presidents; the 2 run on a “single ticket”. However traditionally their position was purely legislative: their solely constitutional duties are to succeed a president who dies, resigns or is incapacitated; and to preside over and break ties within the Senate. Although 15 vice-presidents have gone on to change into president, the workplace has lengthy been seen as a backwater: John Nance Garner, who spent eight years as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vice-president, stated the workplace “isn’t value a pitcher of heat piss”.
Voting Rights Act
Prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Handed in 1965, it outlawed practices adopted after the American civil battle, akin to literacy checks, and bars states from drawing electoral-district boundaries which have the impact of diluting black residents’ votes. The Supreme Court has weakened the act within the 60 years since its passage, together with by, in impact, placing down in 2013 a provision that required states with histories of discrimination to get federal approval earlier than they may change election guidelines.
Watergate
The foremost American political scandal of the twentieth century and a triumph of investigative journalism. In 1972 two reporters from the Washington Submit—who met with their shadowy supply, “Deep Throat”, in an underground automobile park—revealed that the Nixon administration had been concerned in a break-in on the Democratic Nationwide Committee’s headquarters on the Watergate constructing in Washington, DC. President Nixon later tried to hinder investigations by the Division of Justice and Congress. Because the Home of Representatives ready to question him, Nixon resigned. Because of Watergate, many Individuals stay distrustful of presidency. Political scandals at the moment are sometimes styled as “—gate” (Russiagate, Bridge-gate and, in Britain, Partygate). Learn our review of the memoir of Carl Bernstein, one of many reporters who revealed Watergate.
West Wing
Refers back to the west wing of the White House. It homes the Oval Office in addition to the workplaces of the vice-president and presidential employees. It is usually the title of an iconic American TV collection a couple of fictitious presidential administration.
Writ of certiorari
An order by which an appellate courtroom decides to evaluation a case. A writ of certiorari directs a decrease courtroom to provide its choice so a better courtroom can evaluation it.
XYZ affair
A significant scandal of the late 18th century. The revolutionary authorities of France demanded bribes (fee for the overseas minister, and a low-interest mortgage for France) to recognise American ambassadors, which they refused. When the French calls for had been made public, Individuals had been outraged. Congress handed legal guidelines increasing the navy and authorising assaults on French transport, establishing the precept that it may authorise army motion with out declaring battle.
YIMBYism
Whereas NIMBYs need nothing constructed of their backyards, YIMBYs say “sure” to growth. Preferring high-density growth to car-driven sprawl, they’ve been round for years, however have had restricted success in altering planning guidelines. Take heed to our podcast episode about America’s housing scarcity.
Zero-tolerance immigration coverage
In 2018 Donald Trump’s administration adopted a “zero-tolerance” coverage to individuals caught getting into America illegally. Adults had been prosecuted, and nearly 3,000 kids had been taken into federal custody earlier than Mr Trump signed an government order stopping household separation. This coverage was nixed below President Joe Biden, and the Division of Justice as soon as once more allowed prosecutors to determine on particular person immigration circumstances. Unlawful crossings of the southern border stay a contentious concern. Learn our article from 2024 on how the border could price Mr Biden the election.
Zuckerberg hearings
Congressional hearings in April 2018, through which Mark Zuckerberg, Fb’s boss, testified earlier than the Senate and Home of Representatives following a user-privacy scandal. Over two days lawmakers requested Mr Zuckerberg almost 600 questions, although he dodged loads of them with a variation on “My staff will get again to you”. Ultimately, the exchanges left many Individuals apprehensive that lawmakers had little grasp of how Fb, and digital communications extra broadly, truly labored.



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