122 terms

AP Gov Units 1-PRESENT--2015-16

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Attentive public
those who follow politics and public affairs carefully.
Australian ballot
secret ballot printed at the expense of the state.
Balancing the ticket
occurs when a presidential nominee chooses a vice presidential running mate who has different qualities in order to attract more votes for the ticket.
Blanket primary
election to choose candidates that is open to independents, and that allows voters to choose candidates from all the parties.
Caucus
local party meeting
Closed primary
party election to choose candidates that is closed to independents. Voters may not cross party lines.
Coattail effect
the influence of a popular presidential candidate on the election of congressional candidates of the same party.
Demographics
characteristics of populations, e.g., race, sex, income.
Direct election
election of an official directly by the people rather than by an intermediary group such as the Electoral College.
Direct primary
election in which the people choose candidates for office.
Fixed terms
terms of office that have a definite length of time, e.g., two years for a member of the House.
Front loading
scheduling presidential primary elections early (e.g., February or March) in an election year.
Gender gap
difference in voting patterns for men and women, particularly in the greater tendency of the latter to vote for Democratic presidential candidates.
General election
election in which the officeholders are chosen. Contrast with a primary election, in which only the candidates are chosen.
Hard money
campaign contributions donated directly to candidates.
Ideology
set of beliefs about political values and the role of government.
Incumbent
an officeholder who is seeking reelection.
Independent
one is not registered with a political party. Independent leaners tend to vote for candidates of one particular party, whereas pure independents have no consistent pattern of party voting.
Issue advocacy ads
ads that focus on issues and do not explicitly encourage citizens to vote for a certain candidate.
Open primary
election to choose candidates that is open to independents, and in which voters may choose candidates from any one party.
Party identification
a sense of affiliation that a person has with a particular political party.
Party platform
a list of positions and programs that the party adopts at the national convention. Each position is called a plank.
Political culture
the widely shared beliefs, values, and norms that citizens share about their government.
Plurality
more votes than anyone else, but less than half
Political efficacy
capacity to understand and influence political events
Political socialization
process in which one acquires his/her political beliefs.
Realigning ("critical") election
an election in which there is a long term change in party alignment
Safe seat
an office that is extremely likely to be won by a particular candidate or political party.
Single member district system
system in which the people elect one representative per district. With a winner-take-all rule, this system strengthens the two major parties and weakens minor parties.
Soft money
campaign contributions that are not donated directly to candidates, but are instead donated to parties.
Solid South
historically, the South voted solidly Democratic. However, the South is now strongly Republican
Split ticket voting
casting votes for candidates of one's own party and for candidates of opposing parties
Straight ticket voting
casting votes only for candidates of one's party.
Suffrage
the right to vote.
Superdelegate
a delegate to the Democratic national convention who is there by virtue of holding an office.
Super Tuesday
a Tuesday in early March in which many presidential primaries, particularly in the South, are held.
Swing state
a state that does not consistently vote either Democratic or Republican in presidential elections.
Bicameral legislature
two-house legislature.
Block grant
money granted by the federal government to the states for a broad purpose ( e.g., transportation) rather than for a narrow purpose (e.g., school lunch program).
Categorical grant
money granted by the federal government to the states for a narrow purpose ( e.g., school lunch program) rather than for a broad purpose (e.g., transportation).
Centralists
those who favor greater national authority rather than state authority.
Checks and balances
system in which each branch of government can limit the power of the other two branches, e.g., presidential veto of a congressional law.
Commerce clause
gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states, with foreign nations, and among Indian tribes. Granted through Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution.
Concurrent powers
those held by both Congress and the states, e.g., establishing law enforcement agencies.
Confederation
system in which sovereign states are only loosely tied to a central government, e.g., the US under the Articles of Confederation.
Decentralists
those who favor greater state authority rather than national authority.
Direct democracy
system in which the people rule themselves.
Elastic clause
states that Congress can exercise those powers that are "necessary and proper" for carrying out the enumerated powers, e.g., establishment of the first Bank of the United States.
Enumerated powers
those that are specifically granted to Congress in Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, e.g., the power to tax. Also known as expressed powers.
Federalism
constitutional sharing of power between a central government and state governments. Different varieties:
Dual federalism
system in which the national government and state governments are coequal, with each being dominant within its respective sphere.
Cooperative federalism
system in which both federal government and state governments cooperate in solving problems.
New Federalism
system in which the national government restores greater authority back to the states.
Federalist Papers
group of 85 essays written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay for the purpose of persuading the people of New York to adopt the Constitution.
Formal amendment
a change in the actual wording of the Constitution. Proposed by Congress or national convention, and ratified by the states.
Implied powers
those that are "necessary and proper" to carry out Congress' enumerated powers, and are granted to Congress through the elastic clause.
Indirect democracy
system in which the people are rule by their representatives. Also known as representative democracy, or republic.
Inherent powers
foreign policy powers (e.g., acquiring territory) held by the national government by virtue of its being a national government.
Informal amendment
a change in the meaning, but not the wording, of the Constitution, e.g., through a court decisions such as Brown v. Board.
Judicial review
power of the courts to rule on the constitutionality of laws and government actions. Established by Marbury v. Madison, 1803.
Mandates
requirements imposed by the national government upon the states.
Marbury v. Madison, 1803
established the power of judicial review.
McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819
established principle of national supremacy and validity of implied powers.
Police powers
powers of the states to protect the public health, safety, morals, and welfare of the public.
Popular sovereignty
principle in which ultimate political authority rests with the people.
Reserved powers
powers held by the states through the 10th Amendment. Any power not granted to the US government is "reserved" for the states.
Separation of powers
principle in which the powers of government are separated among three branches: legislative, executive, judicial.
Shays' Rebellion
1786 revolt by Massachusetts farmers seeking relief from debt and foreclosure that was a factor in the calling of the Constitutional Convention.
Supermajority
a majority greater than a simple majority of one over half, e.g., 3/5, 2/3.
Unicameral legislature
one-house legislature.
Appropriation
money that Congress has allocated to be spent.
Appropriations Committee
congressional committee that deals with federal spending.
Casework
personal work done by a member of Congress for his constituents.
Closed rule
Rules Committee rule that bans amendments to a bill.
Cloture
Senate motion to end a filibuster that requires a 3/5 vote.
Conference committee
works out a compromise between differing House-Senate versions of a bill.
Constituents
the people who are represented by elected officials.
Discharge petition
a motion to force a bill to the House floor that has been bottled up in committee.
Filibuster
nonstop Senate debate that prevents a bill from coming to a vote.
Finance Committee
Senate committee that handles tax bills.
Franking privilege
allows members of Congress to send mail postage free.
Gerrymandering
redrawing district lines to favor one party at the expense of the other.
Hold
Senate maneuver that allows a Senator to stop or delay consideration of a bill or presidential appointment.
Impeachment
House action that formally charges an official with wrongdoing. Conviction requires 2/3 vote from the Senate.
Legislative oversight
ongoing process of congressional monitoring of the executive branch to ensure that the latter complies with the law.
Legislative veto
process in which Congress overturned rules and regulations proposed by executive branch agencies. Struck down in 1983.
Logrolling
when two members of Congress agree to vote for each other's bill.
Mark up
committee action to amend a proposed bill.
Open rule
House Rules Committee rule that allows amendments to a bill.
Pocket veto
presidential killing of a bill by inaction after Congress adjourns.
Pork barrel
wasteful congressional spending
Quorum
minimum number of members needed for the House or Senate to meet.
Reapportionment
reallocation of House seats to the states on the basis of changes in state populations, as determined by the census.
Redistricting
redrawing of congressional district boundaries by the party in power of the state legislature.
Rider
amendment to a bill that has little to do with that bill.
Rules Committee
the "traffic cop" of the House that sets the legislative calendar and issues rules for debate on a bill.
Seniority system
tradition in which the Senator from the majority party with the most years of service on a committee becomes the chairman of that committee.
Standing committees
the permanent congressional committees that handle legislation.
Sunset laws
laws that automatically expire after a given time.
Ways and Means Committee
House committee that handles tax bills.
Bipartisanship
support from both parties for policy, e.g., a bipartisan foreign policy.
Budget deficit
results when federal expenditures exceed federal revenues for a one year period.
Deficit spending
the federal government's practice of spending more money than it takes in as revenues.
Deregulation
elimination of federal regulations on private companies.
Entitlements
federal benefit payments to which recipients have a legal right, e.g., Social Security. Also known as uncontrollables.
Fiscal policy
taxing and spending policies.
Means testing
requiring that those who receive federal benefits show a need for them.
Monetary policy
Federal Reserve Board's regulation of the supply of money in circulation.
National debt
total debt owed by the federal government due to past borrowing. Also known as the public debt.
Subsidy
federal financial aid to individuals
Hard Money
campaign contributions regulated and limited by the federal government that are given directly to a candidate
Soft Money
unlimited and unregulated campaign contributions to federal candidates and the national parties
Political Action Committee (PAC)
officially registered fund-raising organization that represents interest groups in the political process.
527 Groups
Tax-exempt organizations created to raise money for political activities such as voter mobilization efforts and issue ads
501c Groups
Nonprofit, tax-exempt interest groups that can engage in varying levels of political activity
Super PACs
PACs may raise and spend unlimited sums of money in order to advocate for or against political candidates.
Tillman Act (1907)
the first legislation in the United States prohibiting monetary contribution to national political campaigns by corporations.
Federal Election Campaign Act (1971, 1974)
increased disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns and 1974 amendments placed legal limits on the campaign contributions.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (a.k.a. McCain-Feingold Act)
banned national parties and officeholders from raising and spending "soft money," and prohibited corporations and unions from funding "electioneering communications" within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election.
Buckley v. Valeo (1976)
candidates spending money to finance their own campaigns is a form of constitutionally protected free speech through the 1st Amendment
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003)
upheld most of BCRA ruling that restrictions on free speech justified by government's interest to prevent corruption in campaigns
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
ruled spending is protected speech under the 1st Amendment and the government cannot prohibit spending by corporations and labor unions to support or denounce individual candidates in elections