Chapter 1-5

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119 terms · Politics in States and Communities

Political Entrepreneurship

The tendency of candidates in electoral campaigns to propose policy innovations in order to publicize themselves and win votes

Commonwealth

Although four states call themselves "commonwealth", the term refers to any self-governing community and currently describes the government of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States

Limited Government

The principle that government power over the individual is limited that there are some personal liberties that even a majority cannot regulate, and that government itself is restrained by law

Constitutionalism

A government of laws, not people, operating on the principle that governmental power must be limited, that government officials should be restrained in their exercise of power over individuals

Colonial Charters

Documents granted to American Colonies by English kings establishing governments; fostered American tradition of written constitutions

Constitution

The legal structure establishing governmental bodies, granting their powers, determining how their members are selected and prescribing the rules by which they make their decisions. Considered basic or fundamental a constitution cannot be changed by ordinary acts of governmental bodies

Limited Government

The principle that government power over the individual is limited, that there are some personal liberties that even a majority cannot regulate and that government itself is restrained by law

Constitutionalism

A government of laws, not people, operating on the principle that governmental power must be limited, that government officials should be restrained in their exercise of power over individuals

Bill of Rights

In state constitutions written protections for basic freedoms; most resemble the Bill of Rights in the U.S Constitution but some extend these rights

Separation of Powers

The constitutional allocation of powers among the three branches of government; legislative, executive, & judicial

Bicameral

A legislative body that consists of two separate chambers or houses

Homestead

An owner-occupied home; many states grant tax breaks to this type of property

Types of Constitutional Change

Legislative proposal, popular initiative, constitutional convention, constitutional commission

Legislative Proposal

The state legislative places a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voter approval

Popular Initiative

Registered voters sign a petition to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voter approval

Democracy

Popular participation in government (The greek root of the word means "rule by the many"

Representative Democracy

Popular participation in government through the selection of public officials by a vote of the people in periodic competitive elections in which candidates and voters can freely express themselves

Direct Democracy

Popular participation in government through direct voter initiation of policy (usually by petition) and voter approval or rejection of policy decisions by popular vote

Initiative

A device by which a specific number or percentage of the voters may petition to have constitutional amendment or law placed on the ballot for adoption or rejection by the electorate found in some state constitutions but not in the U.S constitution

Referenda

Proposed laws or constitutional amendments submitted to the voters for their direct approval or rejections; found in some state constitutions but not in the U.S constitution

Recall

An election to allow voters to decide whether to remove an elected official before his or her term expires

Checks & Balances

Constitutional provisions giving each branch of the national government certain checks over the actions of other branches

Proposition 13

A constitutional amendment to reduce property taxes passed by California voters; has come to symbolize tax revolts

Special Interests

Specific groups bound together by their common preferences on key policy issues

Term Limits

Constitutional limits on the number of terms or the number of years that public official may serve in the same office

Federalism

A constitutional arrangement whereby power is divided between national and subnational governments, each of which enforces its own laws directly on to citizens and neither of which can alter the arrangements without the consent of the other

Unitary system

Constitutional arrangement whereby authority rests with the national government; subnational governments have only those powers given to them by the national government

Confederation

Constitutional arrangement whereby the national government is created by and relies on subnational governments for its authority

Separation of Powers

The dispersal of power among the separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government

Delegated, or enumerated powers

Powers specifically mentioned in the Constitution as belonging to the national government

Necessary and Proper Clause

Clause in Article I Section 8, of the U.S Constitution granting Congress the power to enact all laws that are "necessary and proper" for carrying out those responsibilities specifically delegated to it. Also referred to as the Implied Powers Clause

Implied Power

Power not mentioned in the Constitution as belonging to Congress but inferred as necessary and proper for carrying out the enumerated powers

National Supremacy Clause

Clause in Article VI of the U.S Constitution declaring the constitution and laws of the national government "supreme law of the land" superior to the constitution and laws of the states

Reserved Powers

Power not granted to the national government or specifically denied to the states in the Constitution that are recognized by the 10th amendment as belonging to the state governments. This guarantee, known as the Reserved Powers Clause, embodies the principle of American Federalism

Equal Rights Amendment

A constitutional amendment proposed by Congress by never rectified by the necessary ¾ of the states. It would have guaranteed "equality of rights under law" for women and men

Grants-in-aid

Payments of funds from the national government to state or local governments or from a state government to local governments for specific purposes

Categorical Grants

Federal grants-in-aid to state or local governments for specific purposes or projects

Block Grants

Federal grants-in-aids for general governmental functions, allowing state and local governments to exercise some flexibility in use

Dual Federalism

Early concept of federalism in which national and state powers were clearly distinguished and functionally separate

Cooperative Federalism

Model of federalism in which national, state, and local governments work together exercising common policy responsibilities

Centralized Federalism

Model of federalism in which the national government assumes primary responsibility for determining national goals in all major policy areas and directs state and local government activity through conditions attached to money grants

New Federalism

A reference to efforts first in the Nixon administration to return some federal tax funds to the states (general revenue sharing) and later efforts in the Reagan administration to consolidate federal grant-in-aid programs into block grants

General Revenue Sharing

Federal sharing of tax revenues with state and local governments with few strings attached; program ended in 1986

Representational Federalism

The notion that federalism is defined by the role of the states in electing members of Congress and the president rather than any constitutional division of powers.

Coercive Federalism

The federal government's assumption of powers traditionally reserved to the states through preemptions and direct mandates to the states

Mandates

In federal-state relations, the federal government's orders to state (or local) governments to provide particular services or perform specific services.

Preemptions

In federal-state relations, the federal government's assumption of regulatory powers in a particular field to the partial or full exclusion of state powers

Unfunded mandates

Mandates that impose costs on state and local governments (and private industry) without reimbursements from the federal government

Devolution

Passing down of responsibilities from national government to the states

Horizontal Federalism

Relationships among the states

Full Faith and Credit

Constitution's requirement that each state accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state

Privileges and Immunities

States are prohibited from unreasonably discriminating against residents of other states

Extradition

A legal process whereby an alleged criminal offender is surrendered by the officials of one state to officials of the state in which the crime is alleged to have been committed.

Post-Registration Laws

Methods to enhance voter turnout after a person registers. Most effective with young voters.

White Primary

The discriminatory practice of keeping blacks from voting in the southern states' primaries through arbitrary use of registration requirements and intimidation. Democrats in the South declared their party a private club and prohibited blacks from membership

Intent Test

For an electoral law or practice to be proven discriminatory, minority plaintiffs had to prove it was designed to discriminate against them, now outlawed.

Effects Test

For an electoal law or practice to be proven discriminatory, all that minority plantiffs have to prove is that it adversely affects them.

Totality of Circumstances Test

A list of factors that courts must use to determine whether newly drawn districts effectively weaken minority voting power, including past discrimination, the extent of racially polarized voting, and whether a minority has ever been elected to office in a jurisdiction

Affirmative Racial Gerrymandering

Drawing election district boundaries to provide maximum opportunities for the election of minorities.

Gerrymandering

Drawing the boundaries of legislative districts in bizarre or unusual shapes to favor one party.

Majority-minority districts

Districts in which minority racial or ethnic group members constitute a majority of voters

Gender Gap

In politics, a terence to differences between men and women in political views, party affiliations, and voting choices

Generation Gap

In politics, a reference to differences between young and old in political views and policy preferences

Interest Groups

People who come together to exercise influences over government policy

Political Party

An organization of people with similar political views whose primary purpose is to elect its members to public office

Lobbyist

Individuals, groups, or organizations that actively seek to influence government policy

Lobbying

Communications directed at government decision makers with purpose of influencing policy

Conflicts of interest

Legislators voting on an issue in which they have a personal financial interest.

Bribery

Offering anything of value to government officials with the purpose of influencing them in the performance of their duties

Grassroots lobbying

Influencing legislators by contacting their constituents and asking them to contact their legislators

PACs

Political Action Committees, raise money for candidates &/or parties

Interest groups influence

The extent to which interest groups as a whole influence public policy as compared with other components of the political system

Professionalism

In legislatures, the extent to which members have the services of full-time, well-paid staff, as well as their access to research and sources of information

Protest

In politics, public activities designed to call attention to issues and influence decision makers

Civil Disobedience

A form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences.

Blogosphere

An "area" on the Internet dominated by Web-logs. "Blogger" often protest various societal ills via their space on the Internet

Party

An organization that seeks to achieve power by winning public office in elections

Responsible parties

A party system in which each party offers clear policy alternatives and holds their elected officials responsible for enacting these policies in office

Party Identification

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

Candidate Centered Politics

Individual candidates rather than parties raise funds, create personal organizations, and rely on professional consultants to direct their campaigns

"Shoe Leather Campaigning"

Door to door campaigning by candidates or party workers

Party Professionals

Those who participate in campaigns and party politics year-round, often to get jobs for themselves or their friends and to strengthen their party

Political Amateurs

Part-timers who participate in campaigns and party politics primarily during elections usually to support a specific candidate or cause

Dealignment

A decline in party loyalty among voters and a rise in independent and split-ticket voting

Party Activist

PEople who serve in city, county, or state party organizations or who regularly work in campaigns

Primary Elections

An election held to decide a political party's nominee for public office

Closed Primaries

Primary elections in which voters must declare (of have previously declared) their party affiliation and can cast a ballot only in their own party's primary election

Semi-closed primaries

Primary elections in which voters must declare their party affiliation and can cast a ballot only in their own party's primary election; voters can change party registration on primary Election day

Open primaries

Elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on election day whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican contests

Blanket Primary

A primary election in which each voter may vote for candidates from both parties

Voter-Nominated "top two" primary

The top 2 votegetters in primary races for congressional, state legislative and statewide offices regardless of their party affiliation run against each other in the general election

Crossover voting

Voting by a member of one party for a candidate of another party

Raiding

an organized attempt by voters of one party to influence the primary results of the other party

Plurality Winner

The candidate receiving the most votes, whether a majority or not.

Majority Winner

the choice with the over half the first place votes

Runoff primary

A second primary election held when no candidate wins a majority of the votes in the first primary

Party Convention

A meeting of party delegates to vote on matters of policy and in some cases to select party candidates for public office.

Presidential Primary Election

election held in some states in which voters select the presidential candidates they want their party's national convention delegates to nominate as the national party's candidate for president

Party caucus

A meeting of voters at some officially designated location for the purpose of choosing who they prefer to be their party's standard bearer in the race for president

Party Organization

National, state, county, and precinct party officials and workers, committee members, convention delegates, and others in party office.

Ideologue

A person who consistently takes liberal or conservative stance on issues

State Committees

Governing bodies of state party organization

County Committees

Governing bodies of county party organizations

Divided party government

One party controls the presidency while the other party controls one or both houses of Congress

Unified Party government

in state politics, where the governorship and both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the same party

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.

Bimodal distribution

This occurs when most voters are clearly divided in their ideologies and policy preferences, thereby causing the parties to take divergent policy positions

Unimodal Distribution of opinion

This occurs when most voters are less ideologically divided and prefer moderate or centrist policies, thereby causing the parties to move closer together in their policy positions

Polling

Systematically surveying the views on individuals within a selected group or groups in order to determine a public opinion on an issue

Media Event

An activity designed to attract news coverage of a candidate

Name recognition

The likelihood that people recognize a candidates name when questioned in opinion polls

Grassroots campaigning

Directly soliciting voter support through telephone calls or face-to-face meetings

Media Campaign

Contacting potential voters and soliciting their support primarily through television, online, radio, and newspaper advertising

Microtargeting

Aiming an ad at a specific subgroup of potential voters

Negative Campaigning

Soliciting voter support by attacking one's opponent

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act 2002

A law passed in 2002 that banned soft money, put limits on issue advertising, and increased the amount people can donate to candidates; also called the McCain-Feingold bill.

Soft Money

Campaign contributions unregulated by federal or state law, usually given to parties and party committees to help fund general party activities.

Express Advocacy

endorsement of or attack on candidate ad

Issue Ads

Ads paid for by an individual or interest group that have an opinion on key policies by do not urge voters to vote for a specific candidate or party

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