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Political Party

A group that seeks to elect candidates to public office.


Republican party faction of the 1890's to the 1910's composed of reformers who opposed patronage.

Critical/realignment Period

Periods when a major, lasting shift occurs in the popular coalition supporting one or both parties.

Split Ticket

Voting for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election.

Straight Ticket

Voting for Candidates of the same party.

Office-bloc Ballot

A ballot listing all candidates of a given office under the name of that office; also called a "Massachusetts" ballot.

Party-Column Ballot

A ballot listing all candidates of a given party together under the name of that party; also called the "Indiana" ballot.

National Convention

A meeting of party Delegates held every four years.

National Committee

Delegates who run party affairs between national conventions.

Congressional Campaign Committee

A Party committee in Congress that provides funds to members and would-be members.

National Chairman

day-to-day party manager elected by the national committee


party leaders and elected officials who become delegates to the national convention without having to run in primaries or caucuses

Political machine

a party organization that recruits members by dispensing patronage

Ideological Party

a party that values principled stands on issues above all else

Solidary Incentives

the social rewards (sense of pleasure, status, or companionship) that lead people to join political organizations

Sponsored Party

a local or state political party that is largely supported by another organization in the community

two-party system

An Electoral system with two dominate parties that compete in national elections.

Plurality System

an electoral system in which the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he or she does not receive a majority; used in almost all American elections

Personal Following

the political support provided to a candidate on the basis of personal popularity and networks


A meeting of party members to select delegates backing one or another primary candidate.

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