Our system of government seems to be broken, and there is a reason, basically the people who put in the base inputs, the voters who elect governing officials, don't understand how their government works.
We live in a nation that has an increasingly dysfunctional government. We have seen it in the way that the Senate in the 111th Congress was completely broken by the unprecedented use of the filibuster and holds on legislation. More than 400 bills which passed the House never saw a vote in the Senate for this very reason.
It is even worse than that when you have a House of Representatives that votes on a bill that insists that if the Senate does not act on a bill it has already voted down, then the House bill will become and I quote "the law of the land". The fact that this bill completely flew in the face of the tripartite system of government we have did not prevent it from being brought to a vote and garnering a majority of the House, all those voting for it being Republicans.
It is the kind of thing that activists and political junkies know but don't really think about, that most Americans don't have a working grasp of how things actually work in government but a new report out today show just how bad things really are.
There is a set of tests that are given in the 4th, 8th and 12th grades. As part of these tests there are questions about civics, the basic functions of the Federal government. Only one in 5 12th graders answered well enough to be considered to have a proficient or advanced understanding of the subject.