the official endorsement of a candidate for office by a political party. Generally, success in the nomination game requires momentum, money, and media attention.
National party convention
supreme power within each of the parties. The convention meets every four years to nominate the presidential and vice-presidential candidates and to write the party's platform
Caucus (State Party)
meeting of all state party leaders for selecting delegates to the national party convention. Caucuses are usually organized as a pyramid.
elections in which voters in a state vote for a candidate (or delegates pledged to him or her). Most delegates to the national party conventions are chosen this way.
commission formed at the 1968 Democratic convention in response to demands for reform by minority groups and others who sought better representation.
national party leaders who automatically get a delegate slot at the democratic national party convention.
recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention.
proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries, which would replace these electoral methods with a nationwide primary held early in election year.
proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries to replace these electoral methods with a series of primaries held in each geographic region.
political party's statement of its goals and policies for the next four years. The platform is drafted prior to the party convention by a committee whose members are chosen in rough proportion to each candidate's strength. It is the best formal statement of a party's beliefs.
high-tech method of raising money for a political cause or candidates. 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.
Federal Election Campaign Act
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 Committee (FEC)
six-member bipartisan agency created by the FECA of 1974. The FEC administers and enforces campaign finance laws.
political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grassroots level or for generic party advertising. Unlike money that goes to the campaign of a particular candidate, such party donations are not subject to contribution limits.
Political Action Committees (PACs)
funding vehicles created by the 1974 campaign finance reforms. A corporation, union, or some other interest group can create a PAC and register it with the FEC, which will meticulously monitor the PAC's expenditures.