preliminary election that narrows the number of candidates by determining who will be the nominees in the general election. Primaries have contributed to the spread of the permanent campaign because candidates must start campaigning early to gain momentum in primaries so that they will picked as nominees for a party in upcoming election. Spread of primaries has grown mainly after WWII.
media coverage that focuses on who is winning in a political poll or who has raised more money for a given quarter of the campaign trail. The media focuses on who is winning instead of the issues that each candidate is talking about. This has increased over the last several years because many commentators focus on the reaction of the people or how much money has been raised during a certain quarter instead of focusing on the issues that the candidates are talking about.
compromise at Constitutional Convention between large states and small states. Number of electors per state is based on the total number of senators and representatives. No majority? Election goes to the House of Representatives (advantage for small states; each state has a single vote.) The winner of the state receives all the electoral votes of that state. Candidates often win by bigger electoral margins than their popular pluralities.
State of the Union Address
most prestigious and formalized address to the nation which he gives annually to outline his legislative and foreign-policy priorities for the coming year.
first several months of a presidency, when reporters are kinder than usual, Congress more inclined to be cooperative, and the public receptive to new approaches. Some say that this period has disappeard because of the negativity found in the media and the intense focus the media has on any move the president makes. Others argue that careful planning can create a honeymoon period by avoiding divisive issues.
directives that carry the weight of law even though they were not enacted by Congress. The Supreme Court ruled in 1936 that executive orders are constitutional, and since then have increased in frequency and importance. Examples include Harry S. Truman's order to desegregate the armed forces.
Pendleton Act (1883)
Bottom up civil service reform. Jobs awarded based on merit/qualifications. Created a Civil Service Commission. Requirements were first applied to lower level, less skilled jobs.
a specific designation of how money is to be spent, sometimes specifying a congressional district in which the activity must take place (it is on the rise). From 1980 to 2001 amount of earmarked money skyrocketed from a few million dollars to over a billion dollars. This is an example of pork barrel spending which allows representatives to spend money on their constituents to keep them happy. Blurs line between campaigning and actually governing.
loose, competitive relationships among policy experts, interest groups, congressional committees, and federal agencies. Many observers argue that issue networks have replaced iron triangles.
control of the presidency by one party and control of one or both houses of Congress by the other. No one party is in complete control of Congress and the presidency. This has become increasingly important as presidential nominees to the Supreme Court and Attorney General have to become more televised and receive more media coverage.
electoral advantage a candidate enjoys by virtue of being an incumbent, over and above his or her other personal and political characteristics.
average falloff in the vote percentage won by the candidate of the retiring incumbent's party.
personal staff of incumbents usually works on constituency service. This may include certain voters asking for assistance in getting social security check or something else. If voters are satisfied with service, they will usually be loyal to the incumbent and the party.
legislators are expected to represent the views of their constituents even when holding a divergent opinion. This view is usually held by new representatives because they don't go out on their own at this point.
districts in which a minority group is the numerical majority
said to occur when party leaders give more than one committee responsibility for considering a bill. Complex legislation and overlapping committee jurisdictions increase the likelihood of multiple referrals. Multiple referrals are perfect examples of why it is so difficult to get anything done in Congress and why Congressional approval ratings are so low.
media has gone from a "lapdog" to a "watchdog" to a "junkyard dog." Media focuses on scandals and when things go wrong with certain legislations. This makes the public think that Congress and other bodies are not doing anything positive with their time and just wasting it.
dissemination of information to a small audience with specific interests.
media affect the standards that people use to evaluate political figures or the severity of a problem. Example: First president Bush, Gulf war was on the news. People rated the president in high marks when the news was covering the war because it was doing well, but when the media started covering economics, the presidential ratings went down.
money contributed by interest groups, labor unions, and individual donors that is not subject to federal regulation. The reason why they are not regulated is that the money is not given to the candidates, but to party committees with more flexibility regarding the contributions they may accept and how they may spend them.
Power to persuade
the president shall "from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union. (1) No real congressional check. (2) State of the Union address. (3) This power is used much more publicly than it used to be. In early part of American history, most presidents didn't speak in public because they didn't want to divide the country. (4) Various outreach offices have been instituted: Office of political affairs and Office of Communication. (5) Presidency as a "bully pulpit"
stops bills passed at the end of a legislative session. President simply ignores the bill and doesn't consider it when it is given to him at the end of a legislative session. This has become less used because as the lines between governing and campaigning has disappeard, Congress is virtually always in session throughout the year.
"The president needs help" This commission showed that the president was more effective when he had a group of advisors and aides that helped with making decisions. This has lead to the enormous growth of the bureaucracy and its complexity. Committees and subcommittees are appointed by the president to solve certain problems,etc.
in early bureaucracies appointments were based on political connections rather than qualifications.
An informal rule that the Senate will not confirm nominees for positions within a state unless they have the approval of the senior senator of the state from the president's party.
iron triangle is a close and stable connection among agencies, interest groups, and congressional committees. (a) Interest groups- provide pressure and votes to (b) committees who provide appropriations and authority to (c) bureaucracies who provide benefits to the interest groups.
voters are willing to vote for the nominees of two different parties on the same ballot. Some have said that this has increased because many Americans have voted for Democratic Congresses and for Republican presidents.
seat open for election when a senator or representative has retired or died. These seats usually receive a lot of media coverage because many people are fighting for this open seat.
average gain in the percentage of the vote between the member's first and second election. Member's usually gain a nice amount of percentage points that proves the advantage of being an incumbent. Sophomore surge really became prominent in after the 1970's and 80's.
the ability of representatives and senators to freely use the U.S. mail for sending communications to constituents. Technological advances such as computerized mailing lists allow members to take greater advantage of the privilege. Congressional mailings are much higher during even numbered years because they are election years. This is one of the reasons that incumbents have such an advantage over candidates vying for the same position because they don't have this resource at their disposal.
constitutional or statutory limitations on the number of terms that a legislator can serve.
American citizens rate their own member of Congress far more favorably than they rate Congress as a whole.
role a representative plays when acting in accordance with his or her own best judgment. They use their own familiarity with the legal system that they feel would benefit their constituency even though some may be against a certain action.
delaying tactic by which one or more senators refuse to allow a bill or resolution to be considered, either by speaking indefinitely or by offering dilatory motions and amendments. This is a Senate tradition, not in the House. Has become more common.
group of representatives from both the House and the Senate who iron out the differences between the two chambers' versions of a bill or resolution.
persistent conditions and gradual developments do not lend themselves to media coverage. Dramatic and unexpected things make it on the news because news centers need to keep their viewers engaged and want people to constantly watch the network waiting for the next big event, not just when something sudden happens.
Minimal effects thesis
(1) media has little impact on public opinion. (2) People ignore information with which they disagree. (3) People absorb information with which they agree. (40 Initial finding of research on media shows that it has only subtle effects.