84 terms

AP GOPO Unit 3~Ch. 7,8,11


Terms in this set (...)

Al Gore's Thesis
Regarding television there is an inherent bias toward individuals over institutions (President vs
Congress). Over time, this phenomenon will bring more attention (good or bad) to the president
at the expense of the other branches of government.
High-tech Politics
A nickname for a type of politics in which the behavior of citizens and policymakers and the
political agenda itself are increasingly shaped by technology.
Mass Media
Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the Internet (Social Media), and other means of popular
Media Events
Events purposely staged for the media that nonetheless look spontaneous (a "photo op"). In
keeping with politics as theater, media events can be staged by individuals, groups, and
government officials, especially presidents
Old Definition: "Get out the vote".
New Definition: "Get on TV".
Newer Definition: "Get out the vote" - See 2012 Election Results
Reagan Media Strategy
1.) Plan ahead, 2.) Stay on the offensive, 3.) Control the flow of information, 4.) Limit
reporters' access to the president, 5.) Talk about the issues you want to talk about, 6.) Speak in
one voice, and 7.) Repeat the same message many times.
Clinton Media Strategy
1.) Parse the statement, 2.) Go on the attack, 3.) Dispute the veracity of the charges/claims, 4.)
Attack the source, 5.) Speed kills!, 6.) Spin, spin, spin, and 7.) Stay on message: It's the economy
Press Conference
Meetings of public officials with reporters. Since the Watergate/Vietnam era, the media has
become more aggressive in its scrutiny of the Whitehouse (watchdog function); therefore, recent
Presidents have preferred the "electronic throne" over the press conference
Investigative Journalism
This is the use of detective-like reporting to unearth scandals, scams, and schemes, putting
reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders
Print Media
Newspapers and magazines, as compared with broadcast media.
"Yellow Journalism"
Flamboyant irresponsible approach to news reporting focusing on violence, corruption, wars and
gossip often with a less-than-scrupulous regard for the truth. Print whatever will sell.
Broadcast Media
Television and radio, as compared with print media. Appeal to a "broad" diverse audience.
The Fairness Doctrine
The FCC rule that is a station sells air time to one candidate or party for advertising to express
their opinions, it must be willing to sell equal air time to other candidates or parties as well. This
was abolished in the 1980s as a result of the proliferation of TV channels via cable.
Media programming on cable TV or the Internet that is focused on one topic and aimed at a
particular audience. Examples include MTV, ESPN, and C-SPAN.
By 1994, more than 80 percent of America's daily newspapers were controlled by national and
regional chains.
Specific locations from which news frequently emanates, such as Congress or the White House.
Most top reporters work a particular "beat", thereby becoming specialists in what goes on at that
Trial Balloons
An intentional news leak for the purpose of assessing the public reaction
Sound Bites
Short video clips of approximately 15 seconds (and ever-shrinking), typically all that is shown
from a politician's speech or activities on the nightly television news.
Talking Head
A shot of a person's face talking directly to the camera. Because this is visually unappealing, the
major commercial networks rarely show a politician talking one-on-one for very long.
"The Minimal Effects Hypothesis"
The theory that the media has little effect more than a marginal effect on public opinion.
However, the media does tell us what to think about thus having a least some influence.
Policy Agenda:
The issues (subject or problems) that attract the serious attention of public officials and other
people actively involved in politics at the time.
Policy Entrepreneurs
People who invest their political "capital" in an issue seeking to have it resolved in their favor -
resulting in public policy. They could be in or out of government
"Electronic Throne"
The presidential skill or advantage of using the television as a platform for public persuasion;
developed as an alternative to press conferences.
A term used to characterize the recent trend in network television news production that blends
analysis with entertainment. Many experts believe this trend can be linked to many other trends
in politics and voter behavior.
Midterm Elections
Also known as "off year elections". These are elections held every four years in the "middle" of a
President's four-year term. They are sometimes useful indicators of how the next election will go.
Party Competition
The battle of parties for control of public offices. The ups and downs of the two major political
parties are one of the most important elements in American politics.
Divided Government
This occurs when the legislative branch is controlled by one party, and the executive branch is
controlled by the other
Political Party
According to Anthony Downs, a "team of men [and women] seeking to control the governing
apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election." They seek to win elections. The
Party Endorsement is known as the "Nomination"
The Electorate
The voters; AKA "the people" also known as constituents.
"Party in Power"
The political party that controls the White House; AKA the president's party
"Loyal Opposition"
The party that does not control the White House; they seek to become the "Party in Power" in
the next election cycle. They act as a foil or counter to the president
Linkage Institution
The channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the government's
policy agenda. In the United States, linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest
groups, and the media.
The party's nomination to run for a certain endorsement. Without a party's support, winning an
election is a very difficult proposition in this country.
Rational-choice Theory
A popular theory in political science to explain the actions of voters as well as politicians. It
assumes that individuals act in their own best interest, carefully weighing the costs and benefits of
possible alternatives. People want things + Parties want to win elections = Centrist or
moderate parties/candidates win because they do what most people want.
Party Identification
A citizen's self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other
Voting with one party for one office and with another party for other offices. It has become the
norm in American voting behavior. AKA - "split-ticket voting".
Party Machines
A type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements, such as
patronage, to win votes and to govern.
One of the key inducements used by party machines. A patronage job, promotion, or contract is
one that is given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence alone. "Who you
know rather than what you know".
Closed Primaries
Elections to select party nominees in which only people who have registered in advance with
the party can vote for that party's candidates, thus encouraging greater party loyalty.
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 Primaries
Elections to select party nominees in which voters are presented with a list of candidates
from all the parties. Voters can then select some Democrats and some Republicans if they like.
Also known as "Free Love" Primaries. These are the most anti-party primaries.
National Convention
The meeting of party delegates every four years to choose a presidential ticket (presidential
candidate and his/her vice presidential running mate) and write the party's platform.
National Committee
One of the institutions that keeps the party operating between conventions. The national
committee is composed of representatives from the states and territories
Independent Expenditure
These are payments for political advertising expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly
identified federal candidate for office. They cannot be made with the cooperation, consultation
or direct support of any candidate or his/her agents. There are no FECA limits to this kind of
A group of individuals with a common interest upon which every political party depends.
Party Eras
Historical periods in which a majority of voters cling to the party in power, which tends to win a
majority of the elections.
An intense commitment to a candidate, a culture, or an ideology that sets people in one group
definitively apart from people in another, rival group.
Critical Election
An electoral "earthquake" or "tidal wave" where new issues emerge, new coalitions replace old
ones, and the majority party is often displaced by the minority party and/or the "party in power"
is replaced by the "loyal opposition". Critical election periods are sometimes marked by a
national crisis and may require more than one election to bring about a new party era.
Wave Election
An election in which one party makes substantial gains in the House and the Senate. A large
number of incumbents lose their seats, but usually come from one party
Party Realignment
The displacement of the majority party by the minority party, usually during a critical election
New Deal Coalition
A coalition forged by the Democrats, who dominated American politics from the 1930's to the
1960's. Its basic elements were the urban working class, ethnic groups, Catholics and Jews, the
poor, Southerners, African Americans, and intellectuals.
Party Dealignment
The gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in part by shrinking
party identification
Third Parties
Electoral contenders other than the two major parties. American third parties are not unusual,
but they rarely win elections. However, they do often affect the outcome of elections.
Winner-take-all System
An electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded only to the candidates who come in first
in their constituencies. In American presidential elections, this is the system in which the winner
of the popular vote (via majority or plurality) in a state receives all the electoral votes of that
Proportional Representation
An electoral system used throughout most of Europe that awards legislative seats to political
parties in proportion to the number of votes won in an election.
Responsible Party Model
A view favored by some political scientists about how parties should work. According to the
model, parties should offer clear choices to the voters, who can then use those choices as cues to
their own preferences of candidates. Once in office, parties would carry out their campaign
Federalist #10
One of the persuasive essays writing during the ratification debate by James Madison. In it he argued among other things that the proliferation of factions (AKA interest groups & political parties) is not necessarily a bad thing and that the expansion of the sphere of influence to numerous groups must be extended to prevent any one group from having too much power.
Interest Group
An organization of people with shared policy goals (interests) entering the policy process at several points to try to achieve those goals (public policy). Interest groups pursue their goals in many arenas.
Pluralist Theory
A theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies. Summary: Lobbying is open to all and is therefore not to be regarded as a problem
Group Theory of Politics
Groups provide a key link between people and government (linkage institution). Groups compete with one another. No one group is likely to become too dominant. Groups usually play by the "rules of the game." Groups weak in one resource can use another.
Elite Theory
A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.
Hyperpluralist Theory
A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened. Hyperpluralist is an extreme, exaggerated, or perverted form of pluralism.
Interest Group Liberalism
The idea/theory that virtually all group demands are legitimate and that the job of government is to advance them all. In an effort to be all things and do all things for all people, nothing will get done
(Iron Triangles)
A term used to describe the relationship between interest group leaders interested in a particular policy, the government agency in charge of administrating that policy, and the members of congressional committees and subcommittees handling that policy.
Potential Group
All the people who might be interest group members because they share some common interest. A potential group is almost always larger than an actual group
Actual Group
That part of the potential group consisting of members who actually join the interest group
Collective Good
Something of value (money, a tax write-off, prestige, clean air, etc.) that cannot be withheld from a group member (potential or actual)
Free-rider Problem
The problem faced by unions and other groups when people do not join because they can benefit from the group's activities without officially joining.
Olson's Law of Large Groups
Advanced by Mancur Olson, a principle stating that "the larger the group, the further it will fall short of providing an optimal amount of a collective good." This explains why interest groups with relatively few members are often so effective.
Selective Benefits
Goods (such as information publications, travel discounts, and group insurance rates) that a group can restrict to those who pay their annual dues and become actual group members
Single-issue Groups
Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics. These features distinguish them from traditional interest groups
The Litmus Test
a question asked of a potential candidate for high office, the answer to which would determine whether the nominating official would choose to proceed with the appointment or nomination. (The expression is a metaphor based on the litmus test in chemistry.) Usually the question is in regards to their stance on Abortion.
Interest Group Strategy #1. According to Lester Milbrath, a "communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on his own behalf, directed to a governmental decision-maker with the hope of influencing his decision." Lobbyists are usually former legislators who have insight and knowledge on how to get things done; usually work in D.C. They are an important source of information for Members of Congress - they are specialists; Congress is full of generalists. They can help with legislative strategy and campaign strategy. They are a source of ideas and innovation.
Interest Group Strategy #2. Direct group involvement in the electoral process. Groups can help fund campaigns, provide testimony, and get members to work for candidates, and some form political action committees (PACs).
Political Action Committees (PACs)
Political funding vehicles created by 1974 campaign finance reforms. A corporation, union, or some other interest group can create a PAC and register it with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which will meticulously monitor the PAC's expenditures
Super PAC
A PAC to which corporations, unions, and other organizations can donate freely. These did not exist prior to the Citizens United vs The FEC (2010) decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations must be treated as individuals in terms of having "protected speech", including the right to spend money on political causes. Contributions limits do not apply and unlike regular PACs, they cannot coordinate with individual candidates or parties.
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Interest Group Strategy #3 (Litigation). Legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" for the purpose of raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties. These briefs attempt to influence a court's decision.
Class Action Suits
Lawsuits permitting a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly situated.
Going Public
Interest Group Strategy #4. Appealing directly to the people bypassing the normal chain of linkage institutions and government agencies/institutions.
A unified sense of purpose among all of the members; the single most important goal for any interest group.
Union Shop
A provision found in some collective bargaining agreements requiring all employees of a business to join the union within a short period, usually 30 days, and to remain members as a condition of employment.
Right-to-Work Law
A state law forbidding requirements that workers must join a union to hold their jobs. State right-to-work laws were specifically permitted by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.
Public Interest Lobbies
Organizations that seek "a collective good, the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the membership or activities of the organization."
The action of groups of like-minded people who lobby for change on a particular issue, usually through door-to-door canvassing, letter writing, local meetings and so on; local - from the ground (AKA "the people"), up.