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political party

an organization that seeks political power by electing people to office in order to control the making of public policy


party faction that was opposed to heavy emphasis on patronage; disliked party machinery because it allowed only "bland" candidates to succeed; disliked party machines; wanted parties to take unpopular positions on issues; interested in principle

national convention

a meeting of party delegate selected in state primaries, caucuses, or conventions that's held every four years; primary purpose is to nominate Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates and to ratify a campaign platform

national committee

committee of delegates from each state and territory that runs party affairs between national conventions

congressional campaign committee

party committee in Congress that gives funds to members who are running for reelection or to candidates running for an open seat or challenging an opposition candidate

national chairman

a paid, full-time manager of a party's day-to-day work; selected by the national committee

political machine

a party organization that recruits its members by use of tangible incentives ($, patronage, favors, etc.) and that's characterized by a high degree of leadership control over member activity

ideological party

a party that values principles most; principles are more important than winning; profess a comprehensive view of American society that is radically different from that of established parties

solidary incentives

"social rewards" that lead people to join local or state political organizations; people think politics are fun are responding to these

sponsored party

local or state party that is largely staffed and funded by another organization with established networks on the community

personal following

political support provided to a candidate on the basis of personal popularity and networks

two-party system

electoral system with 2 dominant parties that compete in national or state elections; 3rd parties have little chance of winning

plurality system

electoral system in which the winner is the person with the most votes, not necessarily a majority of votes

runoff election

election after a general election in which the candidates with the most votes are voted for again to find a majority; not used in a plurality system

existing process of electing president; voters are divided differently depending on the issue at hand; up until recently: very hard to get a 3rd-party name on the ballot

3 reasons for existence of two-party system


a meeting of party followers in which party delegates are selected; usually only most-dedicated partisans attend

one-issue party

a party that seeks a single policy and avoid other issues

economic protest party

a party that is usually based in a particular region, especially involving farmer; protest against economic conditions; tend to disappear as conditions improve

factional party

a party created by a split in a major party, usually over identity and philosophy of the major party's Presidential candidate

primary elections

elections before the general election in which voters pick candidates who will run on each party's ticket in the general election


(v) to attempt to influence governmental decisions, especially legislation; (n) a group organized for influencing governmental legislation

interest group

an organization which seeks to influence public policy through influencing those in charge of making public policy

institutional interests

individuals or organizations representing other organizations

membership interests

organizations made up of individual members

solidary incentive

a social reward that leads people to join local or state political organizations

purposive incentive

the benefit that comes from serving a cause or principle from which you don't personally benefit

ideological interest group

an organization that attracts members by appealing to their interest in a coherent set of (usually) controversial principles

public-interest lobby

a political organization whose stated goals will principally benefit nonmembers

social movement

a widely-shared demand for change in some aspect of the social or political order

political cues

a signal telling an official what values are at stake in an issue (who for, who against a proposal) and how that issue fits into his own political beliefs


an assessment of a representative's voting record on issues important to an interest group; designed to generate public support for or opposition to a legislator; often biased

insider strategy

when lobbyists work closely with a few key members of Congress, meeting them privately to exchange information and (sometimes) favors; public opinion is not important on most issues

outsider strategy

when lobbyists gain public support by involving people all over the country

grassroots lobbying

when lobbyists get the public involved in pressuring officials; "the public" refers to the people who are directly affected by or deeply concerned with a government policy

provide political labels, organize competition, organize government

3 political party functions


an interest group's most valuable resource


a journalist who searches through the activities of public officials and organizations, especially business firms, seeking to expose conduct that is contrary to the public interest

equal time rule

a law that states that if a station sells time to one candidate for an office, it must be willing to sell equal time to opposing candidates

right-of-reply rule

a law that states that if a person is attacked on a broadcast (other than a regular news program), that person has the right to reply over that same station

political editorializing rule

a law that states that if a broadcaster endorses a candidate, the opposing candidate has a right to reply

fairness doctrine

a doctrine that required broadcasters to give time to two opposing views if they give time to one side of a controversial issue; the FCC abolished it in 1987; most broadcasters still voluntarily follow the rule

selective attention

refers to when a citizen hears and sees only what he wants; thus the media reinforces existing beliefs, but it's not clear that they change them

adversarial press

a press that (at least on the national level) is suspicious of officialdom and eager to break an embarrassing story that will win for its honor, prestige, and (in some cases) a lot of money

gatekeeper, scorekeeper, watchdog

3 cheesy roles of the media

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