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AP US Gov - Unit 3 V

Unit 3 vocab

Australian Ballot Secret ballot tabulated at expense of public. First introduced to US in 1888, it is now used everywhere.
Congressional Campaign Commitee Committee of members of the House and Senate that organize and help finance election campaigns.
critical election An election that establishes the dominance of a particular political party that lasts for a period of time.
Democrats (party) A major American political party that evolved from the Democratic-Republican group supporting Thomas Jefferson.
divided government In American government, a system in which presidential administrations of one party are opposed by Congressional majorities of the opposing party. The term is used to describe the persistence of such election results over time; either party combination.
fireside chat One of the informal talks by Franklin D. Roosevelt via the radio.
independent Voter or candidate not affiliated with a political party.
linkage institutions Institutions, such as political parties, that provide a link between citizens and the government.
multi-member electoral districts Electoral districts in which voters choose multiple officials to represent them, instead of just one.
national committee A national political party's standing committee that directs and coordinates the party's activities during the period between national party conventions.
national convention Meeting held every 4 years by major prties 2 select prez cnddts, write pltform, choose national committee, &2 conduct party business. In theory, the national convention is at the top of a hierarchy of conventions; the local and state conventions below it.
New Deal coalition A collection of groups who joined together to support Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, including Catholics, Jews, union members, Southerners, people of lower income, middle-class urban liberals, and African Americans.
party dealignment The term refers to a time characterized by the absence of a dominant political party.
party identification The practice of aligning oneself with one political party, including their beliefs, values, and agenda.
party organization A political party's structure and leadership. It includes election committees; executives at local, state, and national levels; and staff.
party platform A document prepared by a political party, outlining its policies and objectives and used to win voter support during a political campaign. Candidates do not feel obligated to fulfill the items laid out in a platform if elected to office.
party-in-electorate Citizens who identify with a specific political party or have a preference for one party over another.
party-in-government All the elected and appointed political officials who identify with a particular political party.
patronage Appointing government jobs and contracts to faithful party workers as a reward for their contributions. Unrestricted patronage came about with Andrew Jackson's spoils system and began to lose influence with the Civil Service Act of 1883.
platform A statement of principles and objectives held by a party or candidate. It's used during a campaign to win support from voters.
political party A group of people who hold similar political beliefs and goals and organize to attain them. The two main parties are the Democrats and Republicans. No formal membership requirement to participate in either.
political ward The division of a city for purposes of electing members to the city council.
precinct The basic unit in the USA in the election process and for party organization. Cities and counties are divided into precinct polling districts.
Reagan coalition Came together to elect Reagan in 1980 and 1984. Included people from middle class suburbs, social and religious conservatives, white Southerners, business people and professionals, and blue-collar workers who had once been Democrats. Fell apart by 1992.
realignment The shifting of public sentiment that puts one party ahead of a previously dominant other party.
Republican (party) One of two major American political parties at the moment. Emerged in the 1850s as a party opposed to slavery. It succeeded two former parties, the Federalists and the Whigs. Presently the Republican party is generally conservative in nature.
Republican Revolution Refers to the 1994 Congressional election in which Republicans turned around the 1992 Democratic gains, gaining 52 seats in the House and 8 seats in the Senate.
single-issue party Political parties that focus on one issue, such as today's Right to Life party.
single-member district An electoral district from which a single legislator is chose, usually by a plurality vote, in contrast to proportional representation or at-large systems.
spin-off party A new party created when a faction within an earlier party becomes dissatisfied with that party and forms their own. Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose party, which spun off from the Republican party, is an example.
splinter party A party composed largely of people who have broken away from one of the major parties. Also called a third, or secessionist, party.
sustaining election An election in which voters reaffirm their support for the party in power and its policies.
third party Political party other than two main parties. Third parties are usually made up of independent voters and dissatisfied members of one or both major parties. They are larger, have more influence, and have more effect on election results than minor parties.
ticket splitting Voting for a candidate from one party for one office and a candidate (or candidates) from another party for another office(s).
two-party system A political system with only two parties that have realistic chances of winning. While other parties exist, their political power is small.
Whig (party) Influential political party active form about 1836-1850, including most opposed to Jacksonian policies; fell apart because of ineffectual unity in face of slavery.
15th Amendment The amendment (1870) that forbids a state to deny a person the right to vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
19th Amendment The amendment (1920) that forbids a state to deny a person the right to vote because of their sex.
24th Amendment The amendment (1964) that forbids the levying of a poll tax in primary and general elections for national officials.
26th Amendment The amendment (1971) that lowers the legal voting age to 18 for all national, state, and local elections.
"beauty contest" A presidential primary in which candidates compete for popular votes, but the results have little or no effect on the selection of delegates to the national convention, which is made by the party elite.
bundling The practice of adding together maximum individual campaign contributions to increase their effect.
caucus A closed meeting of party leaders or members to select party candidates or to decide on policy.
closed primary The selection of party candidates in an election limited to party members.
coattail effect The influence of a popular or unpopular candidate or elected official on the electoral success or failure of candidates on the same party ticket.
credentials committee A committee used by political parties at their national conventions. The committee inspects the claim of each prospective delegate to determine whether he or she is a legitimate representative of his or her state and can participate in the convention.
crossover voting The ability to cast a vote in a primary for a candidate from any party. Voters can do this in open primary states.
elector Person on the partisan slate, selected according to state laws and the applicable political party apparatus, who casts ballots for president and vice president. The number of electors in each state = that state's # of reps in both houses of Congress.
electoral college The group of electors selected by the voters in each state and Washington, D.C. This group officially elects the president and vice president of the United States.
eligible voter A voter who meets the legal requirements for the right to vote.
expanding electorate A factor contributing to low-voter turnout. Since voter turnout rates are based on statistics counting all potential or eligible voters, rather than registered voters, an expanding electorate negatively impacts the overall voter turnout rate.
23rd Amendment Permits Washington, D.C., to have as many electors as a state of comparable population.
expansion of the franchise Granting of voting rights to more and more members of society.
Federal Election Campaign Act Act pssd in 72 tht cntrls the raising and spending of funds 4 campaigns. 2nd act passed in 74 imposed + reforms: Fed Election Com; pblc fnncng 4 prez primaries & gen elections; lim prez cmpgn spndng; lim contribs by cits & grps; rqrng dsclsr of contribs.
focus group A small group of people in a moderator-led discussion that gathers feelings, opinions, and responses to specific candidates and political or economic issues.
front runner The presidential candidate considered to have the lead at any given time in an election.
front-loading The practice of scheduling presidential primary elections during early parts of election campaign to increase the amount of influence that certain states or regions exert on the nomination.
gender gap A phrase frequently used to describe the different voting patterns of men and women. It was widely used to explain the different percentage of votes received by candidates in the 1980 presidential election.
gerrymandering Drawing legislative district boundaries to create a political advantage for a particular faction. The shape of a gerrymandered district has been manipulated by the state legislature's dominant party to increase their electoral strength.
Hatch Act Law passed in 1939 that limited contributions to political parties and spending by political parties. Made it illegal for individuals and companies under contract with the federal government to contribute to political candidates or to political parties.
indirect election An election in which voters do not vote to fill the office but vote for the people who will cast the votes to fill the office. For example, citizens vote for the electoral college, which then elects the president.
Iowa Caucus The first caucus of the presidential campaign season, which is closely watched and strongly contested.
issue voting Casting a vote for a candidate primarily due to his or her stand on a particular issue of importance to the voter.
legitimacy The acceptance of a government's right to rule by the people the government rules
low voter turnout A situation in which only a small percentage of eligible voters actually cast their votes in an election. This is seen as a problem in the American political system.
majority method Principle of democracy asserting that a simple majority, 50 percent plus one, should select public officials and determine the actions of their government. sometimes special majorities are needed.
majority rule Principle of democracy asserting that a simple majority, 50 percent plus one, should select public officials and determine the actions of their government. sometimes special majorities are needed.
Motor Voter Law (1993) A law that requires state to make voter registration procedures easier and more accessible to citizens. Two means of doing this are to offer voter registration at state driver's license offices and registration by mail.
New Hampshire Primary The first primary of the presidential election season. It is watched closely and contested strongly.
open primary A voting system that permits voters to choose the party primary of their choice without disclosing party affiliation.
platform plank One of the articles, or statements, in a party platform.plurality
plurality More votes than any other candidate but less than fifty percent. It's possible to win an election with a plurality (and not a majority) of votes in most national, state, and local elections.
plurality method In nearly all elections in the USA, the candidate who receives more votes (a plurality) than any other candidate wins. A candidate can win an election even if more than 50 percent of the voters vote against that candidate.
plurality run-off method A method used in some Southern states. If no candidate receives a majority vote, a second, runoff election is held between the two highest vote-getters.
political consultant A paid professional whom a political candidate, party, or campaign hires to develop a campaign strategy and manage the campaign's activities and efforts. The political consultant's primary concern is the image of the politician, party, or campaign.
presidential debate Series of televised debates generally held once the two major parties (or sometimes three, as has happened recently) select their candidates for president.
presidential primary A statewide election in which a party votes for delegates to their national convention as part of the process of determining a presidential nominee. The delegates may be pledged to a particular candidate or they may be unpledged.
primary election A preliminary election in which voters narrow the field of candidates for specific offices.
proportional representation An electoral system that allocates seats in the legislature to each party or group approximately equal to its popular voting strength.
rational ignorance effect When people decide that the influence their single vote will have on an outcome is too small to justify the amount of work necessary to gather information and reason through it in order to cast an intelligent, informed vote.
reapportionment see below
registered voter Eligible voters. Registration helps determine that people meet certain legal requirements before voting, such as age, citizenship, and residency.
registration Listing the names of eligible voters. Registration helps determine that people meet certain legal requirements before voting, such as age, citizenship, and residency.
registration requirements Legal barriers enforced on all potential voters. See registration.
socioeconomic status A group of people within a society who share similar income levels and similar types of employment.
soft money Contributions that get through laws setting maximum campaign contributions b/c given to parties and party committees for general party activities, instead of to a specific candidate. The party can then use this money for said candidate if wished.
Super Tuesday A Tuesday in March in which a large number of presidential primaries, including those of most southern states, are held. The number of primaries held on Super Tuesday can change with each election.
super-delegate A party leader or election official who's granted the right to vote at a party's national convention due to the leader's political position, not due to an election at state level.
swing voters The term refers to those voters who are uncommitted to a particular party or candidate up until election time. Political advertising is often used to try and capture the allegiances of these undecided voters.
telescoping effect ThIn a winner-take-all system, a presidential candidate wins a state by just a few popular votes yet receives all of that state's electoral votes. Opponent may have almost as many popular votes, yet will receive none of the state's electoral college votes
tracking poll A poll taken on a nearly daily basis for a candidate as election day nears.
voter turnout The percentage of citizens who participate in an election by casting votes.
Voting Rights Act (1965) The act that eliminated restrictions on voting that had been used to discriminate against African Americans and other minority groups.
winner-take-all A voting system in which the candidate who receives a plurality of the votes wins. Only one candidate can win each election.\
reapportionment 1 The re-allocation of seats in the House of Representatives. Reapportionment can only take place after a census, though it may not.
reapportionment 2 Population changes within states must be significant enough to justify the change. This is determined through a mathematical formula that considers the nation's total population and the 435 seats the Constitution allows the House.
reapportionment 3 After the seats are reapportioned between states, the affected states redraw their district boundaries to match their new allotment of representatives.
reapportionment 4 This is done by the majority party of the state legislature and often leads to gerrymandering, the drawing of districts intended to increase the party's political power.
amicus curiae brief A brief is a document filed with a court containing a legal argument supporting a desired outcome in a particular case. An amicus curiae brief is filed by a party not directly involved in the litigation but with an interest in the outcome of the case.
collective good Something enjoyed by all members of a society or community, such as clean air.
direct technique Direct interaction with government officials that is used by interest groups to further their goals.
economic interest group Interest groups that work to gain economic benefits for their members. Examples include the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
Federal Election Campaign Act An act passed in 1972 that controls the raising and spending of funds for political campaigns. A second act passed in 1974 imposed additional reforms. See above.
Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act (1946) An act that sought to regulate the lobbying activities of pressure groups.
free-rider problem The problem that interest groups face when people can benefit from their activities without actually joining or participating in the interest group.
gridlock see: legislative gridlock
incumbent A person who holds an office or an official position.
indirect technique The use by interest groups of third parties to influence government officials and their decisions.
interest group/lobby A group of organized individuals who try to influence government decision makers on issues that directly or indirectly affect the members. Though they differ in goals, they all lobby, and produce and disseminate propaganda.
iron triangle A three-way alliance between political organizations or agents. Generally, iron triangles hinder the political process by putting their own interests > national interests.
labor movement Concerns and expressions of the working class regarding politics. The organization of working-class groups to further their economic and political interests. Unions are the interest groups formed to address the concerns of these laborers.
legislative gridlock A complete lack of movement or progress in the passage of legislation, typically resulting from conflicts between political parties or between the Congress and president.
lobbying Efforts by individuals or organizations to pass, defeat, change, or influence the crafting of laws and the decisions, policies, and actions of the government.
material incentive An economic motivation for doing something.
PAC Grp tht gvs $ cllctd frm mmbrs 2 pltcl cnddts or prts. Cmmtte on Pltcl Edctn frm the 1940s begn mvmnt. FECA of 1974 athrzd PACs - could give as much as $5,000 to as many as 5 candidates in a fedelection, as long as the$ was donated by at least 50 donors.
pressure system A theory of American politics in which organized special interest groups dominate government. It tends to have a business or upper-class bias.
private interest group An interest group working in the interests of a small group of people, as opposed to a public interest group.
public employee interest group A type of private interest group that works to further the interests of government employees.
public interest To the benefit of the members of a community. Generally, something in the public interest is in contrast with something that's in the best interests of a private person, group, or organization.
public interest group A category of interest group that work on issues that affect broad segments of the populations. Public interest groups often form as social movements mature.
purposive incentive A motivation that's dependent on ethical beliefs, values, or ideological principles.
selective incentive Material benefits available to members of an interest group. These are given to avoid the "free-rider" problem.
social movement Activation of a segment of the public for political, economic, or social change.
solidary incentive Motivation based on shared associations, hobbies, or interests
subsidy Financial aid gov gives to indivs, business firms, groups, or other levels of government. Subsidies can be direct (money is given directly to the other party) or indirect, as is the case when tariffs are levied against a company's foreign competitors.
1st Amendment This opening passage of the Bill of Rights prohibits Congress from establishing a religion and ensures freedom of expression, religion, press, assembly, and petition.
attack ad Political advertising that denounces a candidate's opponent by name
Communications Decency Act (1996) An act that makes the spread of "indecent" materials on the Internet to anyone under the age of 18 a crime.
electronic media Radio and television broadcasting media. The term derives from their method of transmission, in contrast to print media.
Federal Communications Commission An independent regulatory commission that controls interstate and foreign electronic communications.
feeding frenzy Process through which the media attack politicians or candidates whose performance or character has been called into question. Through such activity, journalists b/c newsmakers as much as reporters, propelling some politicians to power and others to ruin.
freedom of the press The right to publish and disseminate information without prior restraint, subject to penalties for abuse of right through such actions as obscenity, libel, incitement to crime, contempt of court, and sedition. Guaranteed by the 1st and 14th Amendments.
gatekeeper function The power of national media to control the public agenda by deciding what the public will learn about. It gains this power by choosing which topics to report on.
William Randolph Hearst American newspaper and magazine publisher. He eventually had the world's largest publishing empire.
horse race coverage Media coverage of presidential primaries with an emphasis on who's leading, who's behind, and who's dropped out.
investigative journalism Journalism in which writers actively seek to uncover detailed descriptions of wrongdoings.
issue ad Political advertisement focusing on a specific issue rather than on a particular candidate.
Kennedy-Nixon debates The 1960 presidential election debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. TV went for Kennedy, radio for Nixon. These debates were a turning point in the identification of the power of television as a political medium.
libel Slander. Libel is usually dealt with in civil courts, though sometimes cases go to criminal courts. The truth of a statement is generally considered a suitable defense against charges of libel. The 1st gives press limited freedom from libel actions.
managed news News the government produces that's designed more to make the government and its interests, policies, and action look good (or less bad, as the case may be) than to deliver complete, truthful, and accurate information to the public.
marketplace of ideas Gov has no role in controlling the flow of ideas, arguments, or opinions that occur in society. If left unhindered this will eventually result in the best ideas rising to the top. Main justification of the freedom of the press. Developed by JSMill.
media consultant See Also: spin doctor
media event A time when government officials or politicians arrange for television and newspaper reporters to see some dramatic evidence of government achievements or decision making.
muckraker A journalist or writer who investigates and exposes wrongdoings and excesses of corporations and the government.
narrowcasting Broadcasting whose content and presentation is directed to a small sector of the population.
national newspaper chain Collection of papers owned by individual or company that are distributed to many cities nationally. In theory, allows wider distribution of political news and ideas. They have also given increased power to those publishers aiming to influence politics.
personal attack rule A Federal Communications Commission rule that allows individuals or groups airtime to reply to negative statements that were previously broadcast.
political advertising Advertising a political candidate via mass media. Political advertising is a very influential, controversial, sophisticated, and lucrative industry.
press secretary Represents the White House to the media. The press secretary writes news releases, sets up press conferences, and acts as an intermediary between the White House and the nation (through the press) in the dissemination of information from the White House.
prior restraint Preventing an action before it even happens. Prior restraint relies on censorship instead of subsequent punishment.
public agenda Issues members of a political community consider worthy of public attention and governmental action. The media has a great deal of influence on the public agenda.
sedition Actions that incite rebellion or discontent against a duly established government, including espionage, sabotage, or attempts to overthrow the government.
sound bite A short, catchy, memorable statement that news broadcasters can easily fit into their coverage of political events.
spin Public-relations campaign interpretation of events or election results that are intended to help a candidate or elected official.
spin doctor An adviser to a political campaign who tries to persuade journalists of a particular interpretation of events that puts a candidate, politician, or party in a favorable light, or the opposing candidates, politicians, or parties in a negative one.
spot ad A type of political advertising that generally promotes a candidate, in a positive fashion, by name.
watchdog function The duty to oversee the administration of the law.
White House press corps Reporters from various news organizations with the full-time assignment of covering and reporting on the presidency.
yellow journalism Sensationalistic and irresponsible journalism, often associated with William Randolph Hearst, but seen widely throughout the press.
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