Most experts agree that the relative complexity of the U.S. political system makes it hard for Americans to keep up. In many European countries, parliaments have proportional representation, and the majority party rules without having to "share power with a lot of subnational governments," notes Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker, coauthor of Winner-Take-All Politics. In contrast, we're saddled with a nonproportional Senate; a tangle of state, local, and federal bureaucracies; and near-constant elections for every imaginable office (judge, sheriff, school-board member, and so on). "Nobody is competent to understand it all, which you realize every time you vote," says Michael Schudson, author of The Good Citizen. "You know you're going to come up short, and that discourages you from learning more."Why we can hardly blame people for not knowing what was at issue in the Cold War (73% don't) or what was debated at the Constitutional Convention. Our system of government is just so complicated and confusing that we despair bothering to try to understand it. American Civics is tough, man. Thanks a lot, Jimmy Madison! Of course, Madison isn't the only culprit here. Newsweek also asserts that the superior performance of Europeans on these tests can be traced to their smaller immigrant populations (perhaps, true . . . but an interesting observation for Newsweek to make) and because the governments over there fund and support more of the media. Government funded media makes "smarter" citizens, you see. Just ask NPR.