27 terms

AP Government Ch. 8 Vocabulary


Terms in this set (...)

Party competition
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.
Political party
according to Anthony Downs, a "team of men and women seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election."
Linkage institutions
the channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the government's policy agenda. In the United States, linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
Party image
the voter's perception of what the Republicans or Democrats stand for, such as conservatism or liberalism.
Rational-choice theory
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.
Party identification
a citizen's self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other.
voting with one party for one office and with another party for other offices. It has become the norm in American voting behavior.
Party machines
type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements, such as patronage, to win votes and to govern.
one of the key inducements used by party machines. A patronage job, promotion, or contract is one that is given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence alone.
Closed primaries
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.
Open primaries
elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on Election Day whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican contests.
Blanket primaries
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.
National convention
the meeting of party delegates every four years to choose a presidential ticket and write the party's platform.
National committee
one of the institutions that keep the party operating between conventions. The national committee is composed of representatives from the states and territories.
National chairperson
person responsible for the day-to-day activities of the party and is usually hand-picked by the presidential nominee.
group of individuals with a common interest upon which every political party depends.
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.
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. Critical election periods are sometimes marked by a national crisis and may require more than one election to bring about a new party era.
Party realignment
displacement of the majority party by the minority party.
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.
Party dealignment
the gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in part by shrinking party identification.
Party neutrality
term used to describe the fact that many Americans are indifferent toward to two major political parties.
Third parties
electoral contenders other than the two major parties. American third parties are not unusual, but they rarely win elections.
Winner-take-all system
electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded only to the candidates who come in first in their constituencies. In American presidential elections, the system in which the winner of the popular votes in a state receives all the electoral votes of that state.
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.
Coalition government
when two or more parties join together to form a majority in a national legislature. This form of government is quite common in multiparty systems of Europe.
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.