The Political Landscape

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Gerrymandering

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42 Terms

1

Gerrymandering

The manipulation of electoral district boundaries to favor one political party or group, often resulting in unfair representation.

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2

Reapportionment

The process of redistributing congressional seats among states based on changes in population.

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3

Malapportionment

The uneven distribution of representation in a legislative body, where some districts have more influence than others due to population disparities.

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4

Party Polarization

The increasing ideological distance and division between the two major political parties.

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5

Reasons why parties are weakening.

Factors such as declining party loyalty, increased independent voters, and dissatisfaction with political elites that contribute to the weakening of political parties.

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6

Political socialization

The lifelong process through which individuals acquire their political beliefs and values, influenced by family, education, media, and social interactions.

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7

Media influences (horserace, scorekeeper, gatekeeper)

The roles media play in shaping political discourse by emphasizing the competition, reporting on political events, and influencing what information reaches the public.

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8

Political ideology (liberal, conservative, Libertarian)

Different sets of beliefs and values that guide individuals' views on government and society, with liberals favoring social welfare and government intervention, conservatives advocating for limited government, and Libertarians emphasizing personal freedom and minimal government.

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9

Divisions (Cleavages) of public opinion

Generalizations that describe how social class, religion, region, and race/ethnicity often influence individuals' political views and affiliations.

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10

Moderate

Individuals who hold a mix of liberal and conservative views and are often seen as politically centrist.

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11

Political elite

A small, influential group of individuals who have a disproportionate impact on political decision-making.

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12

Elite opinion v. public opinion

The contrast between the views and preferences of the political elite, who may be more informed and engaged, and the broader public.

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13

Ideological consistency

The extent to which an individual's political beliefs align consistently with a particular ideology, like liberalism or conservatism.

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14

Delegates (demographic characteristics)

Individuals chosen to represent a political party's members at a national convention, selected based on their demographic characteristics and party loyalty.

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15

RNC and DNC duties

The Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) are responsible for managing their respective party's activities, including organizing conventions and fundraising.

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16

Superdelegate

Prominent party members who have automatic delegate status at national conventions, often serving to balance the influence of grassroots delegates.

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17

Super Tuesday

A day during the presidential primary season when a significant number of states hold their primary elections or caucuses, making it a crucial date in the nominating process.

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18

Plurality and majority (the difference)

Plurality is the largest share of votes in an election, while a majority is more than half of the votes.

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19

National Convention

An event where political parties officially nominate their candidates for the presidency and vice presidency and discuss their party platform, serving as a critical moment in the election cycle.

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20

Primaries and caucuses (how they work)

Methods used by states to select delegates for the national conventions, with primaries involving secret ballot voting and caucuses involving open discussions and voting.

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21

Open primary versus a closed primary

An open primary allows any registered voter to participate, while a closed primary restricts participation to registered members of the party.

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22

Reasons why the 2-party system survives

Factors like winner-takes-all elections and historical development that perpetuate the dominance of two major political parties in the U.S.

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23

The Functions of political parties

nominating candidates, structuring the electoral choice, mobilizing voters, and providing a platform for policymaking.

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24

Electoral College (how it operates)

A system in which electors from each state cast votes for the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in their state, with a majority of 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency.

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25

Proposed criticisms of the Electoral College

Criticisms include the possibility of the winner of the popular vote losing the electoral vote, unequal weight given to small states, and the focus on swing states.

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26

Proposed reforms and their impact on elections

Reforms may include direct popular vote elections or proportional allocation of electoral votes, potentially altering the dynamics of presidential elections.

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27

Minor parties (types)

Types of minor parties include ideological parties with specific beliefs, one-issue parties focused on a single problem, economic protest parties, and factional parties representing a splinter group within a major party.

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28

Why minor parties are at a disadvantage

Minor parties face challenges such as limited funding, media attention, and difficulty winning electoral support due to the two-party system.

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29

Partisan, Bi-Partisan, Non-Partisan

Partisan is the alignment with a particular political party, bipartisan involves cooperation between two major parties, and non-partisan indicates a lack of party affiliation.

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30

"Establishment"

Refers to the political, economic, and social elite who exert significant influence within a political party or the broader political system.

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31

Party dealignment (weakening of political parties)

The decline in voter loyalty to political parties and their platforms, often leading to greater independence among voters.

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32

Party realignment (shift in support)

A shift in the demographics and issues that define a political party's support base, which can result in changes in party platforms and policies.

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33

Single-member districts

Electoral districts in which only one candidate is elected to represent the area, contributing to the two-party system.

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34

Big Tent

An inclusive approach by a political party to attract a wide range of voters by embracing diverse views and positions.

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35

Theories of democracy (pluralist, elite, participatory)

Pluralist democracy emphasizes competition and interest group influence, elite theory emphasizes the power of a small elite, and participatory democracy emphasizes citizen involvement.

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36

Ranked Choice Voting

An election method in which voters rank candidates by preference, allowing for the elimination of candidates and redistribution of votes until one candidate receives a majority.

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37

Run-Off election

  1. A second election held if no candidate in the initial election receives a majority of the votes, usually between the top two vote-getters.

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38

Baker v Carr

"…landmark Supreme Court case in 1962 that established the principle of 'one person, one vote,' requiring state legislative districts to be roughly equal in population, thereby ensuring more equal representation."

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39

Shaw v Reno

"Sa pivotal Supreme Court case in 1993 that addressed racial gerrymandering and established that race could not be the predominant factor in drawing legislative districts, challenging racially-based redistricting practices."

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40
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41

Federalist Paper #10

James Madison explores the dangers of factions and advocates for a large republic as a means of controlling their influence, emphasizing the importance of representation and diversity of interests.

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42

Federalist Paper #51

Madison discusses the separation of powers and checks and balances within the government, asserting that these mechanisms are crucial for preventing the abuse of authority and preserving individual liberties.

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