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346 terms

AP Government Vocabulary

Accelerated Placement Vocabulary for Government clas
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Aristocracy
a government ruled by a ruling class
Authoritarian
favoring, denoting, or relating to government by a small elite with wide powers
Capitalism/Free Market Economy
means of production and distribution are privately owned and development is proportionate to the profits gained.
Confederate
a government deriving its power/authority from the states
Democracy
government by the people or their elected officials
Dictatorship/Totalitarianism
A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
Direct Democracy
people decide on all issues instead of having representatives
Elite Class Theory
theory that our society is divided by class lines and upper classes have special privileges
Federal
form of government with unified states that have central authority, but can make some individual decisions
Government
(government) the system or form by which a community or other political unit is governed
Gridlock (policy)
lack of movement or progress resulting in stagnation
Gross Domestic Product
total value of everything made in a certain Country
Hyperpluralism
groups become so strong the government losses power; gov. cant make policies
Individualism
people can get ahead on their own
Linkage Institutions
transmit America's preferences to policy makers in the government
Majority Rule
the will of the majority of the people should be used
Minority Rights
rights that the majority can't infringe on
Monarchy
an absolute ruler
Oligarchy
a small group of people have rule over a society
Parliamentary Democracy
Form of government in which people vote for the legislative body, which in turn selects the prime minister.
Party Platform
list of actions that a political party plans to acomplish
Pluralism
theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a completion among groups, each one going for their own goals
Policy Agenda
issue attracting serious attention of public officials and other policy makers
Policy making Institution
branches of governments taking action on political issues
Policy making System
Processes that policies come into being and evolve over time. People's interests, and worries create political issues
Political Culture
overall set of values widely shared within a society
Political Issue
issue that comes about when people disagree on a problem and how to fix it
Political Participation
all activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or their policies
Politics
Process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies they pursue
Presidential Democracy
A form of government in which the executive branch is elected separately from the legislative branch, and both branches are separate, independent, and co-equal.
Public Goods
goods such as clean air and clean water, that everyone must share
Public Policy
choice governments make in response to issues
Representation
basic principle of traditional democratic theory that describes the relationship between the few leaders and the many followers
Representative democracy
democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people
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.
Unitary
state governed by single unit; central government is supreme and any sub-units derive power from central government
Advice and Consent
it occurs when the legislative branch approves something and then it is enacted by the executive branch
Anti-Federalists
opponents of the American constitution at a time when the states were contemplating its adoption
Articles of Confederation
1st constition of the US; adopted by congress in 1777 and enacted in 1781; established a national legislature, the continental congress, but most authority rested in state legislatures
Bicameral Legislature
use of both the Virginia and New Jersey Plan (Conn. compromise) in which we have representation from a senate (2 reps. per state) and House(reps. based on pop)
Bills of Attainder
Act of Legistature saying a person or group of people are (is) guilty of crime(s) and punishing them without trial
Bill of Rights
1st ten amendments in the US Constitution; drafted in response to some Anti-Federalists concerns; they define basic liberties
Checks and Balances
Features of the Constitution that limit governments power by requiring that power be balanced among different governmental institutions, these institutions continually constrain each others activities
Connecticut Compromise
compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention that established 2 houses in Congress: House of Representatives and the Senate
Consent of the Governed
idea that government derives its authority by sanction of the people
Constitution
Nation's Basic laws; it creates political institutions, assigns or devides power in gov., and often provides certain guarantees to citizens; can be written or unwritten
Declaration of Independence
document approved by representatives of the American colonies in 1776 that stated their grievances against the British Monarch and declared their independence
Elastic Clause
Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and popper for caring into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution...
Electoral College
A unique American institution created by the constitution that provides for the selection of the president by electors chosen by the state parties; votes usually represent a popular majority, the winner take all rule usually used in big states
Enumerated Powers
Powers of the federal gov. that are specifically addressed in the constitution; for congress these powers are in article 1 section 8
Ex-Post Facto Laws
a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status)of actions that were committed or relationships that existed before the enactment of a law
Faction
Intrest groups arising from the unequqal
Federalists
Supporters of the US Constitution at the time the states were contemplating its adoption
Federalist Papers
Newspapers filled with letters and Articles praising or condemning the constitution. Three men prising it were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Hay. It is one of the few ways we see the thought going into the constitution
Implied Power
Powers of the federal gov. that go beyond those enumerations in the Constitution. The Constitution states that Congress has the power to "make all laws necessary and proper for caring into execution"
Interstate Commerce
enumerated power listed in the US Constitution (1:8:3) .The clause states that the US Congress shall have power to "regulate commerce with foreign Nations, & among several states, & with the Indian Tribes
Judicial Review
power of the courts to determine weather acts of congress, & by implications the executive, are in accord with the US Constitution
Limited Government
Idea that certain things are out of bounds for gov. because of natural rights of citizens
Madisonian Model
fundamenal philosophy of Presidential conduct that adheres primarily to the denoted powers of the executive branch in the US Constitution
Natural Rights
Rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on gov. (life, liberty, & property), Concept was central to John Locke
Necessary and Proper Clause
Congress shall have power - to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the forgoing powers, and all other power voted by this Constitution.
New Jersey Plan
proposal at Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress
Popular Sovereignty
principle that the authority of the government is created and sustained by the consent of its people (rule by the people) who are the source of all political power
Ratification
a principle's approval of an act of its agent where the agent lacked authority to legally bind the principle
Republic
form of government in which the people select reps. to govern the people and make laws
Separation of powers
feature of the Constitution that requires each of the threee branches of gov. to be relatively independent of the others so that on cannot control the others, Power shared equally
Shay's Rebellion
series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers led by Revolutionary War captain Daniel Shays to block foreclosure proceedings
Social Contract Theory
theory that addresses the questions of the origins of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual
Supremacy clause
establishes the US Constitution, federal statuses, and US treaties as the supreme law of the land
3/5ths compromise
compromise between sothern and northern states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in which 3/5 of enumerated pop. of slaves would be counted for rep. purposes regarding both distribution of taxes and a proportionate rep of the house
Unicameral Legislature
practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber
US Constitution
document written in 1787 and Ratified in 1788 that sets fourth the institutional structure of the US gov. and tasks these institutions; replaces the Articles of confederation
Virginia Plan
Proposal at the constitutional convention that called for representation of the each state in congress in proportion to the population
Writ of Habeas Corpus
court order requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custody
Block Grants
Federal Grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development
Categorical grants
Federal Grants that can be used only for specific purposes of state and local spending; strings are attached
Commerce Clause
Clause from Constitution giving congress power to regulate interstate and intrastate commerce
Concurrent Powers
Powers in federal system of gov. shared by state and federal gov.
Cooperative federalism
Powers and Policies assignment are shared between state and national government
Devolution/ New Federalism
transferring responsibility for policy from the federal gov. to state and local gov.
Dual Federalism
Both the States and National gov. remain supreme within in their own policy spheres, each responsible for some policies
Expressed or Enumerated or Delegated Powers
Powers explicitly given to Congress through the Constitution
Extradition
legal process whereby an alleged criminal offender is surrendered by the official of one state in which the crime is alleged to have been committed
Federalism
way of organizing a nation so that state levels of gov. have formal authority over the same land and people; it is a system of shared power between units of government
Fiscal Federalism
pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the Federal system; cornerstone of the national gov.'s relations with state and local gov.
Fiscal Policy
Describes the impact of the federal budget - taxes, spending, and borrowing, on the economy; almost always determined by Congress and the President
Formula Grants
Federal Categorical Grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administration regulations
Full Faith and Credit Clause
(4:1) requires each state to recognize the official documents and civil judgement rendered by the courts of another state
Funded Mandates
A higher level of Government tells a lower branch to make a law and it is paid for by the higher level
Horizontal Federalism
obligateions of states to each other; FULL FAITH AND CREDIT CLAUSE, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNIZES, EXTRADITION
Implied Powers
Powers given to congress not explicitly stated in the constitution
Intergovernmental Relations
workings of the Federal system - the entire set of interactions among national, state and local government
Intrastate Commerce
Commerce conducted within a state
Mandate
a law
Nationalists
person who advocates Political independence
Necessary and Proper Clause/Elastic Clause
(1:8) authorizes Congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry our enumerated powers
privileges and immunities
(4:2)Accords citizens of each state most of the privileges of other states
Project Grants
Federal Grants given for specific purposes and awarded on the basis of the merits of applications
Reserved Powers
powers given to states in dual federalism
States rightists
people who support more power to the states
10th Amendment
"powers not delegated to the US by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectfully or to the people"
Unfunded Mandate
A higher level of Government tells a lower branch to make a law and it is NOT paid for by the higher level
Vertical Federalism
Relationship in Federal Gov. where central gov. is at the top, then state, and local
Civil Liberties
legal constitutional protections against gov.; our civil liberties are set down in the bill of rights, the courts, poliece, and legislature defining their meanings
14th Amendment
Constitutional Amendment adopted after or civil war that states "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or communities of citizens of the US; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"
Incorporation Doctrine
legal concept under which the Supreme Court has nationalized the Bill of Rights by making most of its provisions applicable to the stats through the 14th Amendment
Establishment Clause
part of the 1st Amendment stating that "Congress shall make no law respection an establishment of Religion."
Free exercise clause
1st amendment provision that prohibits gov. from interfering with the practice of religion
Prior Restraint
preventing material from being published; common method of limiting the press in some nations, usually unconstitutional in the US; acording to the 1st Amendment as confirmed in the SCOTUS case Near v. Minnesota
Libel
Publication of false malicious statements that dammage somebody's reputation
Slander
to make false and or damaging statement
Symbolic Speach
Non-Verbal communication such as burning a flag or wearing an armband; SCOTUS has accorded some symbolic speach protection under the 1st Amendment
Commercial Speach
Communication in the form of advertising; can be restricted more than many other types of speech, but has been recieving increased protection from SCOTUS
Due Process
part of the 14th Amendment guaranteeing that persons cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property by the US or state gov. without the due process of law
Probable Cause
situation occurring when the police have reason to believe a person should be arrested; making the arrest, police are allowed to legally search and seize incriminating evidence
Reasonable suspision
legal standard of proof in US law that is less than probable cause; the legal stand for arrests and warrants, it is mostly based on "specific and articulatable facts"
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Obtaining evidence in a haphazard or random manner, a practice prohibited by the 4th Amendment
Search Warrent
written authorization from a court specifying the area to be searched and what the police are searching for
Good Faith Exception
providing an exemption to the exclusionary rule
Exclusionary Rule
rule that evidence, no matter how incriminating, cannot be introduced into trail if it was not constitutionally obtained; prohibits use of evidence obtained through Unreasonable search and seizure
Plain View Rule
rule that a laws enforcement officer may take a search and seizure without a search warrant if evidence of criminal activity or the product of a crime can be seen without entry or a search
5th Amendment
Constitutional amendment designed to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes, including protection, double jeopardy, self incrimination, & punishment without due process of law
Self Incrimination
when an individual accused of a crime is compelled to be a whitness against themselves in Court. 5th Amendment forbids this
6th Amendment
Constitutional Amendment designed to protect individuals accused of crimes. It includes the right to council, the right to confront a witness, and the right to a speedy and public trial
Plea Bargaining
Bargain struck between the defendant's lawyer and the prosecutor to the effect that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser crime in exchange for the states promise not to prosecute the defendant for a more serious crime, or additional, crime
8th Amendment
Constitutional Amendment that forbids cruel and unusual punishment although it does not define this phrase; the 14th amendment applies this to the states
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Court sentences prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that mandatory death sentences for certain offenses are unconstitutional, it has not held that the death penalty itself constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Right to Privacy
Right to a private personal life free from the intrusion of gov.
Affirmative Action
policy designed to give special attention to or compensatory treatment for members of some previously disadvantaged group
American Association of Retired People (AARP)
United States based non-gov. organization and interest group for people age 50 and over
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
law passed that requires employers and public facilities to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against these individuals in emplyment
Civil Rights
Policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminative treatment by gov. officials or individuals
Civil Rights Act (1964)
law that made racial discrimination against any group in hotels, motels, and restaurants illegal and forbade many forms of job discrimination
Comparable Worth
issue raised when women are paid less than men for working at jobs requiring comparable skill
De Facto Segregation
segregation that happens in fact although not required by law
De Jure Segregation
segregation that is imposed by law
Equal Pay Act (1963)
US federal law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex
Equal Protection of the Laws
Part of the 14th Amendment emphasizing that laws must provide equivalent "protection" to all people; it should provide "equal protection of Life, Liberty, & Property" to all states citizens
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
constitutional amendment originally introduced in 1923, passed in 1972; "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the US or any other state on account of sex"; failed to acquire necessary support from 3/4 state legislatures
15th Amendment
Constitutional Amendment adopted in 1870 to extend suffrage to Blacks
Gender Gap
temp that refers to the regular pattern by which women are more likely to support Democratic candidates (support spending on social services and oppose more military spending)
Glass Ceiling
term used to describe "the unseen, yet unbroken/unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements."
Grandfather Clause
one method used by Southern States to deny Blacks from voting; it exempted whites from taking tests if there grandfathers could vote
Jim Crow Laws
State and Local laws in the US that mandated de jure segrigation in all Southern States Public facilities
Literacy Tests
gov. practice of testing the literacy of voters and discriminate against Blacks
National Association for the advancement of Colored People (NAACP
Organization with the mission to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination
19th Amendment
Constitutional amendment adopted in 1920 that guarantees women the right to vote
Poll Taxes
Small taxes, levied on the right to vote, that often fell due at a time of the year when poor black sharecroppers had the least cash on hand; used in most Southern States
Reverse Discrimination
discrimination against members of a dominant or majority group or in favor of members of a minority or historically disadvantaged group
Separate but Equal
Principle upheld in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) in which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public facilities was legal.
Suffrage
synonym for voting
13th Amendment
Constitutional amendment passed that forbade slavery
Title 9 of the Civil Rights Act (1964)
made it easier to move civil rights cases with segregationalist judges and all white juries in federal court
Title 9 of the Higher Education Act (1972)
prohibits discrimination of any activity receiving federal aid or schools
Public opinion
Distribution of the populations beliefs about politics and policy issues
Demography
The science of population changes
Census
A valuable tool for understanding demographic changes. US government requires one every ten years
Melting pot
The mixing of cultures, ideas, and people that had changed the American nation; our immigration has often been called a this
Minority majority
Emergence of a non-caucasian majority, as compared with a white, Anglo-Saxon, majority
Political culture
An overall set of values widely sharred within a society
Reapportionment
Process of reallocating seats in the House of Representatives every ten years on basis of the results of the census
Political socialization
The process through which a young person acquires political orientations as they grow up, based on inputs from parents, teachers, the media, and friends
Sample
A relatively small portion of people who are chosen in a survey so as to be representative of a whole
Random Sampling
Key technique employed by sophisticated survey researchers, which operates on the principle that everyone should have equal probability of being selected as part of the sample
Sampling error
The level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll; the more people sampled the more confidence one can be of the results
Random-digit dialing
Technique used by pollsters to place telephone calls randomly to both listed and unlisted numbers when conducting a survey
Exit poll
Public opinion surveys used by major media pollsters to predict electoral winners with speed and precision
Political ideology
Coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose; it helps give meaning to political events, personalities, and policies
Gender Gap
Term used to refer to a regular pattern by which women are more likely to support democratic candidates; women tend to be less conservative than men and are more likely to support spending on social services and oppose higher levels of military spending
Political participation
all activities used by citizens to influence the selection of leaders or the polices they pursue
Protest
Form of political participation designed to achieve policy change through dramatic and unconventional tactics
Civil disobedience
Form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences
Bandwagon Effect
psychological phenomenon whereby people do something because others are doing it
Consensus Opinion
opinion distributed in which a large majority see eye to eye
Conservative
one who advocates conservatism
Conventional Participation
political participation that attempts to influence the political process though well accepted, often moderate forms of persuasion
Demographics
quantifiable statistics of a given population
Demography
study of people
General Public
ordinary people in society
Gerrymandering
process of setting electoral districts; attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts
Group Benefit Voters
42% of the voters; based on how candidates serve the need of the social group (upper, middle, lower class) they belong to
Ideologues
people who very strongly support and they are guided by the ideology of a particular group
Intensity
extreme force, degree, or amount
Issue Public
a problem that is in the public
Liberal
believing that gov. should be active in supporting social and political change
Moderate
individual who is not extreme, partisan, nor radical
Nature of the Times Voters
era at the time of the voting; influences voters
No Issue Content Voters
voter who has no issue with a group and votes for them
Party Identification
Political party with which one identifies with
Political Spectrum
system of classifying different pol. positions up on one or more geometric axes that symbolize independent pol. dimensions
Public Opinion Poll
survey of public opinion from a particular sample
Redistricting
process of drawing US electoral district boundaries; response to census
Salad Bowl
analogy used instead of Melting Pot because it assumes that Americans are all different peoples that are no assimilated, but still together
Saliency
a pronounced feature or part
Simpson Mazzoli Act of 1986
act of Congress which reformed US immigration law
Stability
state of peace experienced by a country
Unconventional Participation
that which is not bound to any accordance that is generally believed or done
Attack Ad
an advertisement whose message is meant as a personal attack against another candidate or political party
Broadcast Media
TV and radio as compared with print media
Card Stacking
propaganda technique that seeks to manipulate audiences perception of an issue by emphasizing one side and uppressing another
Campaign Finance Reform
political effort in US to exchange the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns
Freedom of Information Act
allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the US government
Gate Keeper Function
to filter out certain people who wish to communicate with the Gate Keepers boss; filter information before public release to protect the audience from receiving damaging or disturbing information
Glittering Generalities
vague word of or phrase use to evolve positive feelings rather than to convey information
High-Tech Politics
politics in which behavior of citizens and policymakers and thee agenda itself are shaped by technology
Horse Race Coverage
media tendency to report on an election campaign as if it were a horse race
Investigative Journalism
use of in-depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams, and schemes, which at times, puts reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders
Issue Ad
communications intended to bring a problem to light
Labeling
describing someone or something in a word or short phrase
Managed News
information intended to influence the presentation of information
Marketplace of Ideas
rational for freedom of expression based on an analogy to the economic concept of a free market
Mass Media
television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and other means of popular communication; key part of high tech politics
Media Consultant
someone who advises about the use of communication media
Media Event
events purposely staged for the media that nonetheless looks spontaneous; can be staged by individuals, groups, and government officials
Muckracker
one who spreads real or alleged scandals about another; usually for political advantage
Narrowcasting
transmit a television program to a comparatively small audience defined by special interest or geographical location
Policy Agenda
issues that attract the serious attention of the public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given time
Policy Entrepreneurs
people who invest their political "capital" in an issue; could be in or out of government, in elected or appointed politicians, in interest groups or research organizations
Press Confrence
meetings of public officials with reporters
Press Secratary
person on the White House staff who most often deals directly with the press, serving as a conduit of information; conducts daily press conferences
Sound Bite
short video clips (15 sec) which are typically all that is shown from a politician's speech or activities on television news
Spin
form of propaganda; providing an interpretation of an event or political campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure
Spot Ad
television advertising occupying a short break in between programs
Testemonial
formal statement testifying to someones character and qualifications
Watchdog Function
function of Congress designed to watch on the executive agencies
Yellow Journalism
journalism that is based on sensationalism and crude exageration
Blanket Primary
A primary election in which each voter may vote for candidates from both parties
Closed Primary
A primary in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote; encourages greater party loyalty
Coalition
A group of individuals with a common interest upon which every political party depends.
Congressional Campaign Committee
party of committee in Congress that provides funds to members and would be members
Critical Election
An electoral "earthquake" where new issues emerge, new coalitions replace old ones, and the majority party is often displaced by the minority party. These periods are sometimes marked by a national crisis and may require more than one election to bring about a new party era.
National Chairperson
The national chairperson is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the party and is usually handpicked by the presidential nominee.
National Committee
Delegates who run party affairs between national conventions
National Convention
A national meeting of delegates elected in primaries, caucuses, or state conventions who assemble once every four years to nominate candidates for president and vice president, ratify the party platform, elect officers, and adopt rules.
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.
Open Primary
A primary election in which voters may choose in which party to vote as they enter the polling place
Party Competition
the battle of the parties for control of public offices
Party Dealignment
the gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in part by shrinking party identification.
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.
Party Identification
A citizen's self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other
Party Image
The voter's perception of what the Republicans or Democrats stand for, such as conservatism or liberalism
Party Machines
A type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements, such as patronage, to win votes and to govern.
Party Neutrality
a term used to describe the fact that many americans are indifferent toward the two major political parties
Party Organization
The formal structure and leadership of a political party, including election committees; local, state, and national executives; and paid professional staff.
Party in Electorate
Ordinary citizens who identify with the party. The people who elect the party into office. The citizens support the party's basic ideology and policy principles.
Party in Government
Elected officials who call themselves members of the party.
Patronage
(politics) granting favors or giving contracts or making appointments to office in return for political support; key inducements used in Political Machines
Political Party
A group of persons who seek to control government through the winning of elections and the holding of public office.
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.
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.
Realignment
A shift of voting patterns to form new coaltions of party support
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.
Spin off Party
A new party formed by a dissident faction within a major political party; similar to "splinter party"
Splinter Party
A new party formed by a dissident faction within a major political party; similar to "spin off party"
Third Parties
electoral contenders other than the two major parties. American third parties are not unusual, but they rarely win elections.
Ticket Splitting
Voting with one party for one office and with another party for other offices. It has become the norm in American voting behavior.
Two Party System
An electoral system with two dominant parties that compete in national 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 US presidential elections, the system in which the winner of the popular vote in a state receives all the electoral votes of that state
527 Groups
Independent groups that seek to influence the political process but are not subject to contribution restrictions because they do not directly advocate the election of a particular candidate.
Buckley v. Valeo
a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld federal limits on campaign contributions and ruled that spending money to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. The court also stated candidates can give unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns.
Campaign Strategy
strategy to communicate a candidate's's platform and raise funds in order to win an elected position
Caucus
A meeting of local party members to choose party officials or candidates for public office and to decide the platform.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that the First Amendment prohibits government from censoring political broadcasts in candidate elections when those broadcasts are funded by corporations or unions
Coattail Effect
The boost that candidates may get in an election because of the popularity of candidates above them on the ballot, especially the president.
Direct Mail
A high-tech method of raising money for a political cause or candidate. It involves sending information and requests for money to people whose names appear on lists of those who have supported similar views or candidates in the past.
Direct Primary
A primary where voters directly select the candidates who will run for office
Dual Primary
where presidential candidates are selected and a separate slate of delegates is also voted on. New Hampshire uses this type of primary.
Federal Election Campaign Act
A law passed in 1974 for reforming campaign finances. The act created the Federal Election Commission (FEC), provided public financing for presidential primaries and general elections, limited presidential campaign spending, required disclosure, and attempted to limit contributions.
Federal Election Commission
A six-member bipartisan agency created by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974. The federal Election Commission administers and enforces campaign finance laws.(FEC)
Frontloading
The recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention
General Election
An election held to choose which candidate will hold office
Iowa Caucus
First state to hold a caucus or primary, therefore giving Iowa much attention during the campaign season.
Matching Funds
Contributions of up to $250 matched from the presidential Election Campaign Fund to candidates for the presidential nomination who qualify and agree to meet various conditions, such as limiting their overall spending.
McGovern-Fraser Commission
A commission formed at the 1968 Democratic convention in response to demands for reform by minority groups and others who sought better representation.
National Primary
A proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries, which would replace these electoral methods with a nationwide primary held early in the election year.
New Hampshire Primary
First Presidential primary and its winner becomes the media's major attention
Nomination
the act of officially naming a candidate
Plurality
A number of votes cast for a candidate that is greater than the number of votes for any other candidate but not necessarily a majority.
Presidential Election Campaign Fund
money from the $3 federal income tax check off to this fund; distributed to qualified candidates to subsidize their presidential campaign
Presidential Primary
An election in which a party's voters (1) choose State party organization's delegates to their party's national convention, and/or (2) express a preference for their party's presidential nomination
Regional Primaries
A proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries to replace these electoral methods with a series of primaries held in each geographic region.
Selective Perception
The phenomenon that people often pay the most attention to things they already agree with and interpret them according to their own predispositions.
Soft Money
Money raised in unlimited amounts by political parties for party-building purposes. Now largely illegal except for limited contributions to state or local parties for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Super Tuesday
A Tuesday in early March in which many presidential primaries, particularly in the South, are held.
Super Delegate
Party leaders and elected officials who become delegates to the national convention without having to run in primaries or caucuses.
Swing Voters
Voters who frequently swing their support from one party to another.
Barron v. Baltimore
Bill of Rights does not apply to states.
Gitlow v. New York
14th Amendment extends 1st Amendment to states
Lemon v. Kurtzman
Government funding must pass Lemon Test:
1. Must have a secular legislative purpose
...
2. Must not primarily advance or inhibit religion
...
3. Must not result in excessive entanglement
...
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris
Vouchers for schools, even religious ones, are constitutional
Engel v. Vitale
Unconstitutional for school to have non denominational prayer students recite
Abington v. Schempp
No school bible readings
Near v. Minnesota
No prior restraint on press
Schenck v United States
(Man passing out draft-resist literature) Clear and present danger
Zurcher v. Stanford Daily
Schools can practice prior restrain & violate 4th amendment of students
Roth v. United States
Community decides what is obscene
Miller v. California
Obscenity to be that which is
- overly sexual
...
- particularly offensive
...
- lacks literary, artistic, political, or scientific merit
...
New York Times v. Sullivan
Actual malice is necessary for public figures to sue for libel
Tinker v. Des Moines
(Black Arm Bands) Schools can only limit student 1st Amendment free speech if it can be shown it causes a disturbance
Texas v. Johnson
(Flag burning) Symbolic speech is protected by 1st Amendment
Miami Herald Publishing Co. v Tornillo
Newspapers can be biased and unfairly represent one candidate more than another
Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. F.C.C.
Radios must give unbiased coverage, presenting both sides of issues
N.A.A.C.P. v. Alabama
(NAACP doesn't give up membership records) Right to assemble freely applied to state
Mapp v. Ohio
Exclusionary rule applied to states
New Jersey v. T.L.O
Schools only need "reasonable suspicion" to conduct search
Miranda v. Arizona
Confessions only valid if arrested told their Miranda Rights
Gideon v. Wainwright
Courts must give defendants a lawyer if they are unable to afford one
Gregg v. Georgia
Affirmed death penalty as not "cruel and unusual" punishment
McClesky v. Kemp
Racially disproportionate impact of death penalty doesn't overturn death penalty
Griswold v. Connecticut
(Contraceptives distributed) People have right to privacy "penumbras"
Roe v. Wade
Woman have right to privacy + abortion in 1st trimester
Planned Parenthood v Casey
Spousal knowledge not requirement for abortion, but
- parental consent
...
- informed consent
...
- 24h waiting period
...
are
...
Scott v. Sandford
- Slaves aren't citizens, can't sue
- Slaves aren't free once in free territories
...
- Slavery can be made illegal in new territories
...
Plessy v. Ferguson
Upheld "separate but equal" doctrine
Brown v. Board
Segregation in public schools unconstitutional
Hernandez v. Texas
Mexican Americans and other racial minorities have equal protection. First case argued by Hispanic lawyers
Korematsu v. United States
Upheld internment camps for Japanese Americans. Rights can be restricted during wartime
Reed v. Reed
Estates can't be split up discriminatorily by gender. First gender discrimination case
Craig v. Boren
(Different ages to buy beer) Sex-descrimination must be related to achievement of important governmental objectives
Regents of University of California v. Bakke
Upheld affirmative action, race can be factor in college admissions, no quotas though
Adarand Constructors v. Pena
Racial classifications must be held to "strict standard" and be tailored to government interest.
Buckley v. Valeo
Restrictions on contributions to one's own campaign unconstitutional
Legitimacy
A characterization of elections by political scientists meaning that they are almost universally accepted as a fair and free method of selecting political leaders.
Referendum
A state-level method of direct legislation that gives voters a chance to approve or disapprove proposed legislation or a proposed constitutional amendment.
Initiative Petition
A process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state constitution to a vote if sufficient signatures are obtained on petitions calling for such a referendum.
Suffrage
The legal right to vote, extended to African Americans by the Fifteenth Amendment, to women by the Nineteenth Amendment, and to people over the age of 18 by the Twenty-sixth Amendment.
Political Efficacy
The belief that one's political participation really matters-that one's vote can actually make a difference.
Civic Duty
The belief that in order to support democratic government, a citizen should always vote.
Voter Registration
A system adopted by the states that requires voters to register well in advance of election. A few states permit election day registration.
Motor Voter Act
Passed in 1993, this act went into effect for the 1996 election. It requires states to permit people to register to vote at the same time they apply for their driver's license.
Mandate Theory of Election
The idea that the winning candidate has a mandate from the people to carry out his or her platforms and politics. Politicians like the theory better than political scientists do.
Policy Voting
Electoral choices that are made on basis of the voters' policy preferences and on the basis of where the candidates stand on policy issues.
Electoral College
A unique American institution, created by the Constitution, providing for the selection of the president by electors chosen by the state parties. Although its vote usually reflects a popular majority, the winner-take-all rules give clout to big states.
Retrospective Voting
A theory of voting in which voters essentially ask this simple question: "What have you done for me lately?"