Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and food. Hope you have a nice stay!

The US Congress – a white man’s paradise?

My A Level Politics students have amazed me again. Over to them...

Do elections make Congress more representative?
By Taylor Munroe and Eini Afrah

There have been 11 elections since 1992. These frequent elections are fixed so politicians cannot choose to fight an election when it suits them. It can be argued that elections make Congress more representative, as voters choose candidates in primaries, which mean candidates must consider the views of the folks back home who vote in large numbers, making them not only accountable but representative as well. However, incumbency advantage means few elections are truly competitive. A striking 96% of incumbents won re-election in 2014. In addition, only 9 Senate seats switched sides.

Do people in Congress resemble the people they serve?

By Dervisa Draganović and Samah Saad

It is fair to argue that people in Congress do not (emphasis on the do not) resemble the folks back home. Evidence to support this claim includes the fact that only 20% of Senators are female. It should be taken into consideration that the total female population in America is 161 million. Granted, the locality rule means that Congressmen must come from the district they represent. There are 43 African-Americans in the House of Representatives, due to the creation of majority-minority districts, an area that is gerrymandered to ensure that the majority of constituents are from minority backgrounds. Yet Only two African-American are in Senate. Only two out of 50 states have ever elected a black Senator.

In addition, there are only 2 independent members of the Senate and none in the House of Representatives. The Democrats and Republicans therefore control 533 out of 535 seats in Congress. Is it fair to say that people in Congress resemble the people they serve when two parties control over 99% of the seats in Congress? We think not.

Are members of Congress effective in serving their constituents?

By Hana Khader-M, Soumaya Hersi and Fowsi Ali

Members of Congress are expected to “bring back the bacon” (federal funds) to the “folks back home”. Marcy Kaptur secured pork to expand the Toledo Farmers’ Market. Moreover, Members of Congress have on average 30 members of staff answering constituents’ letters and drafting legislation. They have offices in their district / state and in Washington.

However, some $700m was spent by super PACS representing corporate groups in 2014. They want something in return...

Are small political parties fairly represented in Congress?

By M’hamed Aouicha and Humza Aslam

Third parties are not fairly represented, because there are only 2 independent members of the Senate and none in the House of Representatives. Furthermore, the Democrats and Republicans control 533 out of the 535 seats in Congress. This emphasises that third parties are not fairly represented. Moreover, due to the increase in partisanship between the two major parties, third parties do not get as much recognition in comparison to the two major parties. Third parties that do form and flourish tend to get taken over by the major parties. For example, the Tea Party was subsumed by the Republicans. And that’s not good for anyone, is it?

Did your MP attend the arms dealer dinner?

Is this the funniest app of the year?