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party polarization

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106 Terms
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party polarization

growing gap between stands of parties on policy issues

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political party

group trying to control governing apparatus by gaining office

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linkage institutions

channels through which people’s concerns become political issues of government’s political agenda

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rational-choice theory

explain actions of voters & politicians; assumes that individuals act in their own best interest, carefully weighing the costs and benefits of possible

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party image

voter’s image of what Republican/Democrats stand for

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party identification

citizen’s self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other

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ticket splitting

voting with one party for one office and with another party for other offices

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party machines

a type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements to win votes and to govern (patronage)

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patronage

key inducement used by party machines; given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence

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closed primaries

elections to select party nominees to which only people who have registered in advance with the party can vote for that party’s candidates; encouraging party loyalty

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open primaries

elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on Election Day whether they want to participate in Democratic or Republican contests

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national convention

meeting of party delegates every 4 years to choose presidential ticket and write party’s platform

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national committee

institution that keeps party operating between conventions; composed of representatives from states & territories

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national chairperson

responsible for running ongoing activities of national party organization

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coalition

group of individuals with common interest on which every political party depends

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party eras

historical periods in which a majority of voters cling to party in power, which tends to win majority of elections

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critical election

electoral “earthquake” where new issues emerge, new coalitions replace old ones, and majority party is often displace by minority party

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party realignment

displacement of the majority party by minority party

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New Deal coalition

coalition formed by Democrats (dominated 1930-60s) targetting urban working class, ethnic groups, Catholics & Jewish people, poor, Southerners, African Americans, and intellectuals

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party dealignment

gradual disengagement of people from the parties

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third parties

electoral contenders other than 2 major parties

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winner-take all system

electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded only to the candidates who come in first in their constituencies

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proportional representation

electoral system used throughout most of Europe that awards legislative seats to political parties in proportion to the number of votes won in an election

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coalition government

when 2 or more parties join together to form a majority in the national legislative; common in multiparty systems of Europe

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responsible party model

view that parties should offer clear choices to the voters and once in office, should carry out their campaign promises

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nomination

official endorsement of a candidate for office by political party

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campaign strategy

master game plan candidates lay out to guide electoral campaigns

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national party convention

supreme power within each of the parties; meets every 4 years to nominate party’s presidential & vice presidential candidates and to write party’s platform

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McGovern-Fraser Commission

formed in 1968 Democratic convention in response to demands for reform by minority groups and others who sought better representation

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superdelegates

national party leaders who automatically get a delegate slot at the Democratic Party’s national convention

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invisible primary

period before any votes are cast when candidates compete to win early support from the elites of the party & to create positive first impression of their leadership skills

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caucus

system for selecting convention delegates used in about a dozen states in which voters must attend an open meeting to express their presidential preference

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presidential primaries

elections in which a state’s voters go to the polls to express their preference for a party’s nominee for president; most delegates to national party convention are chosen this way

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frontloading

recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention

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party platform

political party’s statement of its goals & policies for the next 4 years; drafted prior to the party convention by a committee whose members are chosen in rough proportion to each candidate’s strength

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direct mail

method of raising money for political cause/candidate in which information and requests for money are sent to people whose names appear on lists of those who have supported similar views or candidates in the past

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campaign contributions

donations that are made directly to a candidate or a party and that most be reported to the FEC

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independent expenditures

expenses on behalf of a political message that are made by groups that are uncoordinated with any candidate’s campaigns

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Federal Election Campaign Act

law passed in 1974 to reform campaign finances, create Federal Election Commission, provide limits on and disclosure of campaign contributions

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political action committees

groups that raise money from individuals and then distribute it in the form of contributions to the candidates that the groups support; need to register with FEC and report their donations & contributions to it

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Federal Election Commission

6 member bipartisan agency created by Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974; administers & enforced campaign finance laws

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soft money

political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grassroots level or for generic party advertising

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527 groups

independent political groups that are not subject to contribution restrictions because they do not directly seek election of particular candidates; tax code specifies that contributions to such groups must be reported to IRS

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Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

2010 Supreme Court case that ruled that individuals, corporations, and unions could donate unlimited amounts of money to groups that make independent political expenditures

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501(c) groups

groups that are exempted from reporting their contributions and can receive unlimited contributions; tax code specifies that such groups cannot spend more than half their funds on political activities

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super PACs

independent expenditure-only PACs that may accept donations of any size and can endorse candidates; periodically reported to FEC

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selective perception

phenomenon that people’s beliefs often guide what they pay the most attention to and how they interpret events

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suffrage

legal right to vote in the United States

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political efficacy

belief that one’s political participation really matters

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civic duty

belief that in order to support democratic government, a citizen should vote

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voter registration

system adopted by states that requires voters to register prior to voting

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Motor Voter Act

1993 act that requires states to permit people to register to vote when they apply for a driver’s license

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mandate theory of elections

idea that winning candidate has a mandate from the people to carry out their platforms and politics

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policy voting

electoral choices that are made on the basis of the voter's policy preferences and where the candidates stand on policy issues

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Electoral College

unique American institution created by Constitution providing for the selection of the president by electors chosen by the state parties; usually reflect popular majority, but less populated states are overrepresented and winner-take-all rule concentrates campaigns on close states

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battleground states

key states that the presidential campaigns focus on because they are most likely to decide the outcome of the Electoral College vote

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interest group

organization of people w/ shared policy goal(s) who enter policy process at one or more points, in one or more policy arenas, to try and achieve their goals

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pluralism

theory of American democracy emphasizing that the policymaking process is very open to the participation of all groups with shared interests, with no single group usually dominating; public interest prevails

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elitism

theory of American democracy contending that a few groups (primarily wealthy) have most of the power to make gov. policy, regardless of formal governmental organization

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hyperpluralism

theory of American democracy arguing that a wide variety of interest groups have become empowered with the ability to veto policy changes, thereby leading to regular gridlock in Washington

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iron triangles (subgovernments)

consist of interest groups, government agencies, and congressional communities/subcommunities that have a mutually dependent, mutually advantageous dependent, mutually advantageous relationship; dominate some areas of policymaking

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potential group

people who might be interest group members because they share common interest

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actual group

people in potential group who actually join

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collective good

something of value that cannot be withheld from a potential group member

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free-rider problem

for an interest group, the fact that some or many potential group members will not join because they can benefit from the group’s activities without joining

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selective benefits

goods that a group can restrict to those who actually join

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single-issue groups

groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics

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lobbying

“communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on their own behalf, directed to a governmental decision maker with the hope of influencing their decisions”

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electioneering

direct group involvement in the electoral process (ex. helping to fund campaigns, getting members to work for candidates, forming pacs)

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union shop

provision found in some collective bargaining agreements requiring that all employees of an unionized business join the union within a short period of time being hired and remain members as a condition of employment

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right-to-work laws

state laws that forbid the creation of union shops

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public interest lobbies

organizations that seek a collective good, which benefits the society as a whole

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public opinion

distribution of population’s beliefs about politics and policy issues

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demography

science of population changes

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census

numeration of the population, which Constitution requires that the government conduct every 10 years; valuable tool for understanding demographics changes

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melting pot

term often used to characterize US with its history of immigration and mixing of cultures, ideas, and people

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minority majority

where non-Hispanic whites will represent a minority of the US population and minority groups together will represent a majority

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political culture

overall set of values widely shared within a society

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reapportionment

process of reallocating seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years based on the results of the census

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political socialization

process through which individuals in a society acquire political attitudes, views, and knowledge based on input from family, schools, media, and others

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sample

relatively small proportion of people who are chosen in a survey so as to be representative of the whole

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random sampling

key technique employed by survey researchers which operates on the principle that everyone should have an equal probability of being selected for the sample

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sampling error

level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll; more people interviewed = more confident one can be of the results

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random-digit dialing

technique used by pollsters to place telephone calls randomly to both listed and unlisted numbers when conducting a survey

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exit poll

public opinion surveys used by major media pollsters to predict electoral winners

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political ideology

coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose, which helps give meaning to political events

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gender gap

regular pattern in which women are more likely to support Democratic candidates in part because they tend to be less conservative than men and more likely to support spending on social services and opposed to higher levels of military spending

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political participation

all activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue

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protest

form of political participation designed to achieve policy change through dramatic and unconventional tactics

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civil disobedience

form of political participation based on a conscious decision to break a law believed to be unjust and suffer the consequence

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high-tech politics

politics in which the behavior of citizens, policymakers, and the political agenda are increasingly shaped by technology

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mass media

television, radio, newspapers, magazines, internet, and other means of popular communication

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media events

events are purposely staged for media and that are significant just because the media are there

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press conference

meetings of public officials with reporters

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investigative journalism

use of in-depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams, and schemes, at times putting reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders

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print media

newspapers and magazines

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electronic media

tv, radio, internet

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narrowcasting

media programming on cable tv or internet that is focused on a particular interest aimed at a particular audience (ESPN)

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selective exposure

process through which people consciously choose to get the news from information that has viewpoints compatible with their own

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chains

groups of newspapers published by media conglomerates; acounts for over 4/5ths of nation’s daily newspaper circulation

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