Chapter 9: The Political Process & Chapter 12: Understanding Elections

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Media

Organizations that provide news and information to the public

Propaganda

Information which is false or which emphasizes just one part of a situation, used by a government or political group to make people agree with them

Bias

An opinion about whether a person, group, or idea is good or bad which influences how you deal with it; to unfairly influence attitudes, choices, or decisions

Liberal

One who favors governmental involvement in the economy, the provision of social services, and who takes an activist role in protecting the rights of individuals

Conservative

One who believes that a government is best that governs least and that big government can only infringe on individual rights

Endorse

To express formal support or approval for someone or something

Lobby

To try to persuade the government or someone with political power that a law or situation should be changed

Platform

The main ideas and aims of a political party, especially, the ones that they state just before an election

Ideology

An organized set of beliefs that strongly influence the way an individual or society behaves

Demographics

Information about a group such as the people who live in a particular area

Public Opinion

Sum of views shared by a segment of society

Political Socialization

Process by which people acquire political beliefs (from family and peers)

Exit Poll

Randomly select fraction of voters after they have voted (before official count); helps predict who winners will be

First Political Parties

Federalists & Democratic-Republicans

Third Party

Any political party in a two-party system besides the two major ones

Independent Candidate

Candidate who is not associated with any party

Political Party

An organization that tries to elect its members to public office so that its views can become pubic policy

One-party System

The party is the government; other parties may or may not be allowed to operate, but they usually have no power

Two-party System

Two major parties compete to control government; other parties may exist and affect elections, but rarely have enough support to elect a national leader or control the legislature (example: US)

Multiparty System

Several parties compete for control

Primary Elections

Held if there is more than one member of same political party that is seeking office

Closed Primary

Only voters registered as party members can vote

Open Primary

Any registered voter may vote in either party's primary

Presidential Primary Season

Usually runs from January to June during year of presidential election

Hard Money

Money donated to an individual campaign; regulated by state and federal laws

Soft Money

Money given to party rather than specific candidate (can give as much as you want)

Voting Requirements

Must be US citizen, at least 18 years old, and resident of state in which you'd like to vote in

Federal Elections

Held the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November

Absentee Ballot

May be cast when voters are not able to be at polling place on election day; early voting rules vary by state

Negative Campaigning

Attacks on opposing candidate's weaknesses

Individual Donations

Largest source of funds; individuals contribute directly or by hosting fundraisers

Contributions by PACs

Second most important source of funds

Political Party Contributions

Limited amounts funded by committees within a political party

Public Funding

Comes from federal government through income tax; only available to presidential candidates

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