My name is Ariella Axelbank, and I’m a government nerd.

You know, the kind of government nerd who occasionally reads Senate transcripts, Supreme Court decisions, the tax code, and the odd city charter for fun. Or the kind of of government nerd who comes up with elaborate drinking games to play during presidential debates, party conventions, and State of the Union addresses. Or the kind of government nerd has dealt with the political goings-on since the 2016 election by trying to ingest as much information as possible about how our federal, state, and local governments function (or fail to function). Maybe, by trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of government that have gotten us here, it’ll be easier to see a way forward. Or at least, that’s the hope.

Above all else, I firmly believe that we will not be truly successful in changing our flawed government system until we understand the whats, hows, and whys behind that system. This blog is my attempt to put my money where my mouth is, taking the time to dive into the research and source documents in the hopes of demystifying it all for myself, and for anyone else who wants to come along for the ride.

It always helps me focus my research if I know what other people are wondering about, so to that end, do you have any questions about the crazy tangle of institutions we call a government? If so, let me know! I may not have the answers off the top of my head (although sometimes I do) but I will do my best to find you some well-sourced and -cited answers. 

Also, a disclaimer: My main credential for doing this (beyond having studied American government when I was at university, if that’s the kind of thing you came here looking for) is that I honestly find it fascinating enough to spend the time reading the source documents and doing any additional research needed to try and understand it all. But I’m still an amateur at this stuff. If you find anything on this site that’s factually incorrect, please tell me so I can fix it. Don’t mistake anything I write for political or legal advice. I am many things, but a lawyer is not one of them.