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AP Government Vocabs Chapter 8


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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. See also primaries
blanket 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. See also primaries
closed primaries
A group of individuals with a common interest upon which every political party depends. See also New Deal Coalition
When two or more parties join together to form a majority in a national legislature. This form of government is quite common in the multiparty systems of Europe
coalition government
An electoral “earthquake” whereby 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 e
critical election
The channels or access points through which issues and people’s policy preferences get on the government’s policy agenda. In the United States, elections, political parties, and interest groups are the three main linkage institutions
linkage institutions
One of the institutions that keeps the party operating between conventions. The national chairperson is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the party and is usually hand-picked by the presidential nominee. See also national committee.
national chairperson
One of the institutions that keeps the party operating between conventions. The national committee is composed of representatives from the states and territories. See also national chairperson.
national committee
The meeting of party delegates every four years to choose a presidential ticket and write the party’s platform
national convention
A coalition forged by Franklin Roosevelt and the Democrats, who dominated American politics from the 1930s to the 1960s. Its basic elements were the urban working class, ethnic groups, Catholics and Jews, the poor, Southerners, African Americans, and Dem
New Deal Coalition
Elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on election day whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican contests. See also primaries
open primaries
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
party competition
The gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in part by shrinking party identification
party dealignment
Historical periods in which a majority of voters cling to the party in power, which tends to win a majority of the elections. See also critical election and party realignment.
party eras
A citizen’s self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other.
party identification
The voter’s perceptions of what the Republicans or Democrats stand for, such as conservatism or liberalism.
party image
A type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements, such as patronage, to win votes and to govern
party machines
A term used to describe the fact that many Americans are indifferent toward the two major political parties. See also party dealignment
party neutrality
The displacement of the majority party by the minority party, usually during a critical election period. See also party eras
party realignment
One of the key inducements used by machines. A patronage job, promotion, or contract is one that is given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence alone. Compare civil service and the merit principle
According to Anthony Downs, a “team of men [and women] seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election.”
political party
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. Compare with winner-take-all system
proportional representation
A 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
rational-choice theory
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 wo
responsible party model
Electoral contenders other than the two major parties. American third parties are not unusual, but they rarely win elections
third parties
Voting with one party for one office and with another party for other offices. It has become the norm in American voting behavior
An 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 vote in a state receives all the electoral vote
winner-take-all system

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