An institution that serves to connect citizens with government. Linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
An ongoing coalition of interests joined together to try to get their candidates for public office elected under a common label.
Election campaigns and other political processes in which political parties, not individual candidates, hold most of the initiative and influence.
Election campaigns and other political processes in which candidates, not political parties, have most of the initiative and influence.
A process in which conflict over society's goals is transformed by political parties into electoral competition in which the winner gains the power to govern.
A political party organized at the level of the voters and dependent on their support for its strength.
An election or set of elections in which the electorate responds strongly to an extraordinarily powerful issue that has disrupted on public policy, popular support for the parties, and the composition of the party coalitions.
A system in which only two political parties have a real chance of acquiring control of the government.
A system in which three or more political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition.
The form of representation in which only the candidate who gets the most votes in a district wins office.
A form of representation in which seats in the legislature are allocated proportionally according to each political party's share of the popular vote. This system enables smaller parties to compete successfully for seats.
median voter theorem
The theory that parties in a two-party system can maximize their vote by locating themselves at the position of the median voter-the voter whose preferences are exactly in the middle.
The tendency of women and men to differ in their political attitudes and voting preferences.
reform (minor) party
A minor party that bases its appeal on the claim that the major parties are having a corrupting influence on government and policy.
single-issue (minor) party
A minor party formed around a single issue of overriding interest to its followers.
ideological (minor) party
A minor party characterized by its ideological commitment to a broad and noncentrist philosophical position.
factional (minor) party
A minor party created when a faction within one of the major parties breaks away to form its own party.
The party organizational units at national, state, and local levels; their influence has decreased over time because of many factors.
The designation of a particular individual to run as a political party's candidate (its "nominee") in the general election.
primary election (direct primary)
A form of election in which voters choose a party's nominees for public office. In most primaries, eligibility to vote is limited to voters who are registered members of the party.
Campaign contributions that are not subject to legal limits and are given to parties rather than directly to candidates. ( These contributions are no longer legal.)
The situation in which party organizations assist candidates for office but have no power to require them to support the party's main policy positions.
The professionals who advise candidates on various aspects of their campaigns, such as media use, fundraising, and polling.
A term used to describe the fact that U.S. campaigns are very expensive and candidates must spend a great amount of time raising funds in order to compete successfully.
packaging ( of a candidate)
A term of modern campaigning that refers to the process of recasting a candidate's record into an appealing image.