Why Politics Matters
Politics is the action of influencing the behavior and decisions of other people through social power. It can be used peacefully through diplomacy or violently through war.
Social institutions and individual differences influence political interest. Education, material resources, and family background have an impact. But so does passion- whether it’s for a candidate, cause, or issue.
1. It’s important to know what is going on around you
Whether you’re a voter or not, politics and government impact your life on a daily basis. It is easy to forget that and to think that there’s not much that you can do about it, but it is important to remember that politicians make decisions on your behalf and that those decisions can have long-lasting consequences for your own well-being.
The current state of democratic politics is so complex and unpredictable that it’s fashionable to argue that how people feel matters more than ever before. The idea is that campaigns like Trump and Brexit were successful because they tapped into people’s feelings of anger, distrust, hatred, and disillusionment, and successfully redirected these emotions towards particular groups.
Using a foundational approach to learning, Dooley/Patten’s WHY POLITICS MATTERS gives students the “big picture” as it examines political theory, comparative politics, and the U.S. government, as well as international relations. Powered by MindTap, this full-color Introduction to Political Science provides current global examples that engage readers and encourage active participation.
2. It’s important to know who is in power
Politics matters because it affects everything around us, from taxes, laws, and social services to education, policing, property rights, and political parties. The people in power control the decisions that are made about these issues and many more.
Some argue that politics matters more than ever because feelings are driving our democracy. They point to Brexit and Trump’s victories as examples where emotions trumped reason. They suggest that Trump and Brexit supporters were “bewitched” by reactionary rhetoric that echoed their own rage, distrust, or hatred.
But what does this mean? How can we understand the role of feelings in democratic politics?
3. It’s important to know how the government works
The government makes the rules, and it makes sure those rules are followed. This is what adults do when they create a democracy, and it is why politics matters.
The founding fathers designed the United States government with three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. Congress is the legislative branch, and it has the power to pass laws. It also levies taxes and tariffs to raise money for the government. If Congress doesn’t have enough money to pay for something, it can also authorize borrowing to make up the difference.
Congress can also approve or reject presidential nominations to important positions, such as cabinet officers, federal judges, and ambassadors to foreign countries. Congress can override a presidential veto by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber. It also has the ability to declare laws and presidential actions unconstitutional. This is known as judicial review. In addition, the Supreme Court can review the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress.
4. It’s important to know what you can do
Politics is the process by which people try to get what they want from other people. This can be done through a variety of methods, including promoting ideas to other people, negotiation with other political subjects, and using internal and external force (including warfare against adversaries). Politics can be found at many levels of society, from the clans and tribes of traditional societies, to local governments, companies, and institutions, to nation states and international organizations.
One way to make the world a better place through politics is by increasing the number of women in leadership roles. This can help to break down stereotypes and show that women are just as capable as men of being leaders.
Whether you’re interested in making the world a better place through politics or just want to know what is going on around you, politics matters. It’s important to understand how the government works and what your options are for changing it.