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political party

an organized effort office holders, candidates, activists, & voters to pursue their commonj interests by gaining & exercising power through the electoral process

governmental party

the office holders who organize themselves and pursue policy objectives under a party label.

organizational party

the workers & activists who make up the party's formal organization structure

political machine

a party organization that recruits voter loyalty with tangible incentives & is characterized by a high degree of control over member activity

party in the electorate

voters who consider themselves allied or associated with the party

direct primary

the selection of party candidates through the ballots of qualified voters rather than at party nominating conventions

civil service laws

these acts removed the staffing of the bureaucracy from political parties & created a professional bureaucracy filled through competition

issue oriented politics

politics that focuses on specific issues rather than on party, candidate or other loyalties

candidate centered politics

politics that focuses directly on the candidates their particular issues, and character, rather than on party affiliation.

party realignment

a shifting of party coalition grouping in the electorate that remains in place for several elections

critical election

an election that signals a party realignment through votre polarization around new issues

secular reallignment

the gradual rearrangement of party coalitions, based more on demographic shifts than on shocks to the political system


a group made up of interests or organizations that join forces for the purpose of electing public officials

national party platform

a statement of the general & specific philosophy & policy goals of a political party, usually promulgated at the national convention

national convention

a party meeting held in the presidential election year for the purposes of nominating a presidential and vice presidential ticket and adopting a platform.

think tank

institutional collection of policy-oriented researchers & academics who are sources of policy ideas

soft money

virtuallt unregulated money funneled through political parties for party building purposes, such as get out the vote efforts ot issue ads BANNED after 2002

hard money

funds that can be used for direct electioneering but are limited & regulared by the Federal Elections Commision

party identification

a citizens personal affinity for a political party, usually expressed by a tenedency to vote for the candidates of that party


a general decline in party identification & loyalty in the electorate

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