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social blunder

527 organizations

Organizations that, under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, raise and spend money to advance political causes


the official who holds an office


the alleged tendency of candidates to win more votes in an election because of the presence at the top of the ticket of a better-known candidate, such as the president

political action committee

a committee set up by a corporation, labor union, or interest group that raises & spends campaign money from voluntary donations

position issues

an issue about which the public is divided and rival candidates or political parties adopt different policy positions

valence issues

an issue about which the public is united and rival candidates or political parties adopt similar positions in hopes that each will be thought to best represent those widely shared beliefs

primary election

a preliminary election where delegates or nominees are chosen

closed primary

a primary in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote

open primary

a primary election in which voters may choose in which party to vote as they enter the polling place

general election

an election held to choose which candidate will hold office

runoff primary

A second primary election held when no candidate wins a majority of the votes in the first primary

soft money

funds obtained by political parties that are spent on party activities, such as get-out-the-vote drives, but not on behalf of a specific candidate

independent expenditures

Spending by political action committees, corporations, or labor unions that is done to help a party or candidate but is done independently of them.

prospective voting

voting for a candidate because you favor his or her ideas for handling issues

retrospective voting

voting for a candidate because you like his or her past actions in office


A meeting of local party members to choose party officials or candidates for public office and to decide the platform.

stump speech

political oratory


Federal Election Commission, issues regulations & adviosry opinions that control PAC activities


somebody who takes donations, puts them together, and gives them to the candidate

super pac

A PAC to which corporations, unions, and other organizations can donate freely

Citizens united case

the First Amendment prohibits government from censoring political broadcasts in candidate elections when those broadcasts are funded by corporations or unions

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.

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