- Sal Khan & John Dickerson: introduction
- Why study US history, government, and civics?
- Why do midterm congressional elections matter?
- Why does your vote matter?
- How does voter turnout in midterms compare to presidential elections?
- Does the president's party usually gain or lose seats at the midterm elections?
- Who is the Speaker of the House?
- Why is the Speaker of the House second in succession to the President?
- What was the Articles of Confederation?
- What was the Gilded Age?
Midterm congressional elections matter as they reflect public opinion on the president's performance. They determine who controls Congress, influencing legislative decisions. If the president's party controls Congress, his plans often pass smoothly. If not, expect more investigations into the executive branch and potential legislative gridlock.
- [Narrator] Why do midterm congressional elections matter? - Congressional elections matter because they are often and have increasingly been a referendum on the president. So it is a kind of real test from real voters doing real voting about whether people approve of what the president's doing or disapprove of what he's doing. But then there's also an important question of who has control of Congress? If the president's party has control of Congress the way it's been working in recent history is, that means he's basically gonna get a rubber stamp for what he wants to do. If the president's party is not in control of Congress that means there are gonna be more investigations into the executive branch. And that's of course what the legislature is supposed to do but it means more investigations, it means that Congress might try and pass its own legislation and then work to some kind of accommodation with the president. Given the partisanship in America right now though, when you have the executive in the control of one party and the legislature in the control of another party, it also very well could mean complete gridlock and a situation in which many of the nations most important questions don't get answered.