Politics & Government

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How Activists and NGOs Influence Policies in Washington, D.C.

Activists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are important in the working of Washington, D.C. NGOs are essentially all entities outside of government, although most definitions usually exclude organizations [more…]

How Foreign Governments Influence Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., may be the capital of the United States, but you’re more likely than not to see the flag of a foreign government before you see the Stars and Stripes wafting in the breeze. Embassies [more…]

How Washington, D.C., Interacts with International Organizations

International organizations are institutions that exist among or above national governments, and they have a presence in Washington, D.C. They are established to address transnational problems and facilitate [more…]

How National, Local, and Foreign Media Outlets Work in Washington, D.C.

Press in Washington, D.C., is unavoidable. National media and many foreign media outlets have requisite Washington bureaus. The former includes The New York Times [more…]

How Specialist Media and 24-Hour News Outlets Work in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is host to a diverse array of specialist media outlets and 24-hour news oulets. Several of these specialist media outlets, including the [more…]

How Media Outlets Work in Cutthroat Washington, D.C.

How do the media actually operate in Washington, D.C.? What are their motivations and limitations? For starters, most (though certainly not all) media companies are for-profit enterprises, and as classifieds [more…]

How Media Outlets Influence Policy in Washington, D.C.

The media — here meaning both actual journalists and the general medium of communication — are an integral part of Washington, D.C., politics and the policymaking process. Politicians can rise or fall [more…]

How Congress Controls the Budget in Washington, D.C.

Congress exists to prevent the executive branch in Washington, D.C., from exercising total control over U.S. legislation. The primary job of Congress is money and the budget — a subject that, one way or [more…]

How Congress Oversees Executive Branch Functions in Washington, D.C.

A major Constitutional check on the executive branch in Washington, D.C. is congressional oversight: the power to investigate and oversee the executive branch, usually carried out by congressional committees [more…]

The Structure of the Senate in Washington, D.C.

The Senate in Washington, D.C., is composed of two elected officials from each state in the Union, so the Senate has 100 members. In the Senate, each state gets an equal vote: Wyoming and California each [more…]

How the Vice Presidency Works in Washington, D.C.

Fourteen men who gained the vice presidency in Washington, D.C., subsequently became president: nine due to the death or resignation of the president, and five by direct election. [more…]

How Policymaking Works in Washington, D.C.

Policy is not made in a vacuum. It isn’t generated fully formed in the secret laboratories of policy wonks plugging away in Washington, D.C., think tanks — at least not always. Nor is it restricted to [more…]

How the Policy Triangle in Washington, D.C., Works

Making policy in Washington, D.C., is a complicated process that’s often riddled by compromises, half-baked ideas, and haphazardness. While the sausage-making analogy is often used, a slightly more elegant [more…]

How Advocacy Influences Policy in Washington, D.C.

Lobbyists, think tanks, activists, diplomats, international organizations, and the media all have an influence on policy in Washington, D.C. A lone citizen picking up the telephone can impact policy, as [more…]

How to Distinguish Direct and Indirect Advocacy in Washington, D.C.

In the Washington, D.C., advocacy from interested parties has become part and parcel of how the government makes informed decisions. In fact, our government views input from outside sources and stakeholders [more…]

How to Effectively Advocate in Washington, D.C.

The aim of advocacy is to influence policy in Washington, D.C. There are several keys to building an effective advocacy message for your organization or cause: [more…]

How Policies Can Have Unintended Consequences in Washington, D.C.

Excerpted from How Washington Actually Works For Dummies

Even well-intended and well-analyzed policies from Washington, D.C., can bring about unintended consequences. An action meant to bring about one [more…]

How Bills Become Laws in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., politicians, lobbyists, and other participants understand that the policymaking process is fluid. Political gamesmanship and bargaining may hold up one bill for the sake of another [more…]

How Washington, D.C., Agencies Write Regulations to Support Laws

In Washington, D.C., Congress sets the framework of a broad policy mandate through legislation. Federal agencies then flesh out the policy supporting this mandate through the creation of more detailed [more…]

How PACs and Special Interests Work in Washington, D.C.

The campaign finance game in Washington, D.C., changed dramatically in 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, [more…]

How Citizens United Makes Representatives Beholden in Washington, D.C.

Prior to Citizens United, campaign finance reform in Washington, D.C., had built steadily and aggressively from 1971 to 2002. In 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act required the disclosure of donors’ [more…]

Washington, D.C.: Constitutional Duties of the President of the United States

The President of the United States has specific responsibilities laid out by the U.S. Constitution. In the age of television monitoring, however, the media tends to overemphasize the self-imposed presidential [more…]

The Limitations of the President in Washington, D.C.

Excerpted from How Washington Actually Works For Dummies

Many presidents have come to Washington, D.C., promising to shake up the city and fundamentally change the way it does business. They’re not part [more…]

How the President Uses the Bully Pulpit in Washington, D.C.

Presidents have often tried to find ways to circumvent their policymaking competitors in Washington, D.C., and no method is more conspicuous (and audible) than the presidential bully pulpit [more…]

How the President Uses His Support Team in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the Cabinet and the thousands of political appointments throughout the government in Washington, D.C., the president relies heavily on the White House staff: his inside team of personal [more…]


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