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the process by which a party selects a single candidate to run for each elected office

Closed Primary

a primary election in which voters can participate in the nomination of only those candidates of the party in which they have been enrolled for a period of time before the primary

Open Primary

a primary election in which voters can choose on the day of the primary which party to enroll in to select cadidates for the general election

Majority Party

the party that holds the majority of legislative seats in either the House or the Senate

Party Identification

an individual voter's psychological ties with one party of another (usually because the party reflects their own views and interests)

Party Activists

partisans who contribute time, energy, and effort to support their party and its candidates

Gender Gap

a distinctive pattern of voting behavior reflecting the difference in views between men and women


an inclination to favor one group or view or opinion over alternatives

Party Machines

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the local party organizations that controlled local politics through patronage and the nominations process. The leaders were called bosses. These "machines" depended on the spoils system

Third Party

parties that organize to compete against the two major American political parties

Single-member district

an electorate that is allowed to elect only one representative from each district. This is the typical method of representation in the United States (plurality election system)

Multiple-member district

an electorate that selects several candidates at large from an entire district, with each voter given the number of votes equivalent to the number of seats to be filled

Direct Mail

vehical for communication with voters and as a mechanism for raising funds

Phone Banks

campaign workers make personal contact with hundreds of thousands of voters

Political Caucus

a normally closed meeting of a political or legislative group to select candidates, plan strategy or make decisions regarding legislative matters

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