Channels that connect individuals with government, including elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media
Large groups of citizens organizing for political change.
The right to vote
Socioeconomic status (SES)
A measure of an individual's wealth, income, occupation, and education attainment
A person's belief that he or she can make effective political change
Efforts by political parties to encourage their members to vote
Voting completed and submitted by a voter before the day of an election without going to the polls
Rational choice voting
Voting based on what a citizen believes is in his or her best interest
Voting based on an assessment of an incumbent's past performance
Casting a ballot for a candidate who promises to enact policies favored by the voter
Voting for candidates who belong only to one political party for all of the offices on the ballot
Political or social issue, often of a controversial or divisive nature, which splits apart a demographic or population group.
An issue where there is a broad amount of consensus among voters. An issue about which the public is united and rival candidates or political parties adopt similar positions in hopes that they each will be thought to best represent those widely shared beliefs).
A constitutionally required process for selecting the president through slates of electors chosen in each state, who are pledged to vote for a nominee in the presidential election.
A system of elections in which the candidate who wins the plurality of votes within a state receives all of that state's votes in the Electoral College
Get out the vote (GOTV)
Efforts to mobilizie supporters.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the independent regulatory agency charged with administering and enforcing the federal campaign finance law. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, Senate, Presidency and the Vice Presidency.
Federal Elections Campaign Act 1971 (FECA)
Regulated the financing of federal election campaigns (president, Senate, and House), including the money raised and spent by the candidates pursuing those offices and by the political parties.
Buckley v. Valeo (1976)
A case in which the Supreme Court struck down the portion of the Federal Election Campaign Act that set limits on the amount of money individuals could contribute to their own campaigns.
Citizens United v. FEC (2010)
The Court ruled, 5-4, that the First Amendment prohibits limits on corporate funding of independent broadcasts in candidate elections.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act 2002 (BCRA)
Banned the use of soft money contributions and raised the limit on donations to $2000.
Political Action Committee
An organization that raises money to elect and defeat candidates and may donate money directly to a candidate's campaign, subject to limits.
Political-action committee that is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions, individuals and associations.
An organization must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare.
A tax-exempt organization that promotes a political agenda, although they can't expressly advocate for or against a specific candidate.
Spending by political action committees, corporations, or labor unions that is done to help a party or candidate but is done independently of them.
Uses consumer data and demographics to identify individuals.
Identifying people in an area at a certain time
Groups of voters who support a political party over time.
When the groups of people who support a political party shift their allegiance to a different political party
A major national election that signals a change in the balance of power between the two parties
A person who acts as the voters'representative at a convention to select the party's nominee.
Usually a party leader or activist who is not pledged to a candidate based on the outcome of the state's primary or caucus.
A primary election in which all eligible voters may vote, regardless of their party affiliation.
A primary election in which only those who have registered as a member of a political party may vote.
A process through which a state's eligible voters meet to select delegates to represent their preferences in the nomination process.
A decision by a state to push its primary or caucus to a date as early in the election season as possible to gain more influence in the presidential nomination process.
A meeting where delegates officially select their party's nominee for the presidency.
A system in which two political parties dominate politics, winning almost all elections.
Ballot where names are listed alphabetically in their offices and not with a party.
List all parties candidate in a column under the same party name.
Proportional representation system
An election system for a legislature in which citizens vote for parties, rather than individuals, and parties are represented in the legislature according to the percentage of the vote they receive.
Single-member plurality system
An election system for choosing members of the legislature where the winner is the candidate who receives the most votes, even if the candidate does not receive a majority of the votes.
A minor political party in competition with the two major parties.
Voluntary associations of people who come together with the goal of getting the policies that they favor enacted.
Groups outside the government that advocate for policy.
The set of issues to which government officials, voters, and the public are paying attention
Individuals who enjoy collective goods and benefit from the actions of an interest group without joining