the battle of the parties for control of public offices. Ups and downs of the two major parties are one of the most important elements in American politics.
the means by which individuals can express preferences regarding the development of public policy
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.
The voter's perception of what the Republicans or Democrats stand for, such as conservatism or liberalism
An informal and subjective affiliation with a political party that most people acquire in childhood.
A type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements, such as patronage, to win votes and to govern.
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
elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on Election Day whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican contests.
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.
the meeting of party delegates every four years to choose a presidential ticket and write the party's platform.
person responsible for the day-to-day activities of the party and is usually hand-picked by the presidential nominee.
historical periods in which a majority of voters cling to the party in power, which tends to win a majority of the elections.
Sharp changes in the existing patterns of party loyalty due to changing social and economic conditions
the displacement of the majority party by the minority party, usually during a critical election period
New Deal coalition
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.
the gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in part by shrinking party identification.
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 promises.