The official endorsement of a candidate for office by a political party. Generally, success in this game requires momentum, money, and media attention.
The master game plan candidates lay out to guide their electoral campaign
national party convention
The supreme power within each of the parties. It meets every four years to nominate the party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates and to write the party's platform.
A meeting of all state party leaders for selecting delegates to the national party convention. They are usually organized in a pyramid.
Elections in which voters in a state vote for a candidate (or delegates pledged to him or her). Most delegates to the national party conventions are chosen this way.
A commission formed at the 1968 Democratic convention in response to demands for reform by minority groups and others who sought better representation.
National party leaders who automatically get a delegate slot at the Democratic national party convention.
The recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention.
A proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries, which would replace these electoral methods with a nationwide primary held early in the election year.
A proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries to replace these electoral methods with a series of primaries held in each geographic region.
A political party's statement of its goals and policies for the next four years. This is drafted prior to the party convention by a committee whose members are chosen in rough proportion to each candidate's strength. It is the best formal statement of a party's beliefs.
A high-tech method of raising money for a political cause or candidates. It involves sending information and requests for money to people whose names appear on lists of those who have supported similar views or candidates in the past.
Federal Election Campaign Act
A law passed in 1974 for reforming campaign finances. The act created the Federal Election Commission (FEC), provided public financing for presidential primaries and general elections, limited presidential campaign spending, required disclosure, and attempted to limit contributions.
Federal Election Commission (FEC)
A six-member bipartisan agency created by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974. It enforces and administers campaign finance laws.
Presidential Election Campaign Fund
Money from the $3 federal income tax check-off goes into this fund, which is then distributed to qualified candidates to subsidize their presidential campaigns.
Contributions of up to $250 matched from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to candidates for the presidential nomination who qualify and agree to meet various conditions, such as limiting their overall spending.
Political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grassroots level or for generic party advertising. Unlike money that goes to the campaign of a particular candidate, such party donations are not subject to contribution limits. For a time, such contributions were unlimited, until they were banned by the McCain-Feingold Act.
Independent groups that seek to influence the political process but are not subject to contribution restrictions because they do not directly advocate the election of a particular candidate.
Political Action Committees (PACs)
Funding vehicles created by the 1974 campaign finance reforms. A corporation, union, or some other interest group can create this and register it with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which will meticulously monitor its expenditures.
The phenomenon that people often pay the most attention to things they already agree with and interpret them according to their own predispositions.