45 million 18-29 year olds will be eligible to vote in the 2012 elections, representing the largest potential voting bloc in the country. Learn more about the issues, register to vote and get involved with MTV's Power of 12. Today, we've got another "Jargon Buster" for you.
think tank (noun): a group of experts and/or advocates who research particular political issues and make policy recommendations on those issues
"Think tank." What a perfectly evocative term, conjuring images of smart people sealed within four walls, cranking out ideas — captive and captivating. Though certainly not as fun as dunk tanks or as pretty as fish tanks, think tanks are quite useful nonetheless.
Think tanks can be domestic or international, partisan or bipartisan, issue-specific or wide-reaching. They are often run as nonprofits, but they might also be government-funded or privately backed by well-to-do activists. They likely to have the words "Center for" or "Institute" in their names.
There are oh, so many, but breaking off a couple of the most famous and respected can be a nice-sized intro. Take, for example, the Brookings Institution. This bad boy has been around for nearly 100 years, making liberal observations and recommendations, offering a well-studied set of goals for US policy. On the one side, American people can read its work and get a holistic understanding of what's shakin' in DC — as seen through the Brookings lens; on the other side, politicians feel the pressure of a powerful group demanding accountability and change. In the end, all those thinkers aren't just thinkin'. They're offering information and influence, making sure Washington knows its being watched.
Another biggie? The Council on Foreign Relations. Based in the US, these guys have a global impact, discussing foreign policy and offering clarity on our relationship with the world at large. It publishes a magazine, "Foreign Affairs." It has Brian Williams and Angie Jo on board. It has won Emmys for its advocacy documentaries. Fancy.
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