Study your flashcards anywhere!

Download the official Cram app for free >

  • Shuffle
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Alphabetize
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Front First
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Both Sides
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Read
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off

How to study your flashcards.

Right/Left arrow keys: Navigate between flashcards.right arrow keyleft arrow key

Up/Down arrow keys: Flip the card between the front and back.down keyup key

H key: Show hint (3rd side).h key

A key: Read text to speech.a key


Play button


Play button




Click to flip

49 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What are political parties?
play a formal role in helping individuals acheive political accomplishments and helping people band together to try to influence the outcome of an election and legislative struggles
What did the framers think of political parties?
the framers did not like them and hoped to prevent them, but they became a mainstay of US elections by the year 1800
Why did parties rise in the United States?
they rose as a means of uniting those who shared political ideals, enabling them to elect like-minded representatives and pursue similar legislative goals
What is the two-party system?
the united states has two main political parties: Democrats and Republicans; the nation's electoral system makes it difficult for everyone except the two parties to win a place on the ballot
What are two facts about political parties?
they serve as intermediaries b/w people and the government
they are made of grassroots members, activist members, and leadership
What are two more facts about politcal parties?
they are organized to raise money, present positions on policy, and get thier candidates elected to office
they were created outisde of the Constitution (not even mentioned in the document)
How has the selection of candidates changed over the years?
prior to the 1960s, candidates were chosen by the party hierarchy w/ little or no public input, but now more states require candidates to be selected through state-run primary elections
How do candidates run for office nowadays?
they run w/out much party support, using thier own money in the primaries, to try to win their party's nomination -multiple candidates can weaken and splinter the party membership
What are bolter (third) parties?
arise over a feeling that the major parties are responding to the demands of some segment of the electorate, constituents feel disenfranchised from the major parties
What are doctrinal parties?
parties that represent an ideology considered too radical for the mainstream parties (ex. Libertarian, Socialist Parties)- reject the prevailing attitudes and policies of the political system
What are single-issue parties?
they are formed to promote one principle; ex. American Independent Party which sponsored the segregationist candidacy of George c. Wallace in 1968
Can third parties, even though they rarely win an election, have a big impact on the elections?
Yes. The Green Party favors strict environmental policies, more gov. social programs, and controls over big businesses, ran Ralph Nader for president in 2000- some say his candidacy took votes away from Al Gore, giving the election to George W. Bush
What are Independent candidates, and are they different?
Independent candidates are different from 3rd party candidates b/c they run w/out party affiliation- it is difficult for them to overcome the money/organization of the 2 main parties
Who are some examples of Independent candidates?
Eugene McCarthy, an anti-Vietnam War candidate in 1968

John Anderson, a fiscal conservative and social liberal in 1980
Why do third parties fail?
elections in countries like the US require huge sums of money and vast organizations, each state is essentially treated like its' own election and, most of the time, the winner of the popular votes wins all of the electoral votes
What are some examples of the electoral college that gave inaccurate results?
1992- Ross Perot received 19% of popular vote but 0 electoral votes
1968- George Wallace received 14% of the popular vote and 46 electoral votes
What are the major subdivisions of political parties?
the party among the electorate (the people)
the party in government (officials belong to a party)
the party organization (political professionals who recruit candidates and voters)
What functions do political parties perform?
recruit and nominate candidates
educate and mobilize voters
provide campaign funds and support
organize government activity
provide balance through opposition of two parties
reduce conflict and tension in society
What are the geographic subdivisions of party committees?
precinct, town, ward, electoral district committees who do the basics of door-to-door canvassing and the like (staffed by volunteers), county committees coordinate precinct, etc. activities and send reps to polling places to monitor voting procedures
state committees raise money and provide volunteers to staff campaign events
What are congressional district and senatorial committees?
these are committees chaired by incumbents and staffed by professionals that are part of the national party organization- actively involved in a minority of election efforts during each electoral cycle since most incumbents are reelected easily
What are national conventions?
national party get-together to nominate a presidential candidate and it sponsors polls to keep members informed of public opinion and manages issue-oriented advertsing and propaganda; the nat'l party raises funds
What is soft money?
unlimited contributions for 'party building' activities such as get-out-the-vote campaigns, voter registration drives, expenses involved in day-to-day operating, campaign propaganda for the party (ex. Vote Democrat/Republican t-shirts and balloons)
What does the McCain-Feingold/Shay-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform Bill do?
it bans all soft-money donations, reviewed by the Supreme Court and found to be constitutional in 2003
Why do some political scientists believe that parties are no longer as powerful or as significant as they once were?
prior to 1968, one party usually controlled both Congress and the White House, but since then, there have been only 9 total years of that happening (1977-1980, 1992-1994, 2002-2005)
Are voters more with a party than they used to be?
Americans vote more split-tickets than ever before and consider the merits and positions of a particular candidate than merely look at his/her party affiliation
Who are some members of the Republican coalition?
disaffected conservative Democrats (blue dogs), veterans' groups, religious right, antiabortionists, antigays, missile-defense supporters
Who are some more members of the Republican coalition?
school-prayer supporters, affirmative action opponents, 'angry white male' Protestants, Cuban Americans, supporters of the development of natural resources on public lands, Southern Baptists
Who are some members of the Democratic coalition?
abortion rights supporters, African Americans, blue-collar workers, labor unions, intellectuals
Who are some more members of the Democratic coalition?
people w/ lower incomes, city dwellers, non-Cuban Hispanics, female activists, Jews, environmentalists
What are party bases?
conservatives in the Republican Party, liberals in the Democratic Party
parties must take caution to appeal to the centrist moderate voter, but also make sure their traditional bases get out and vote for the party as well
What do Democrats tend to be less disposed to do?
less disposed to spend on defense or use vouchers for private schools or support school prayer, against private ownership of assault weapons and broader regulations on the ownership of firearms
What do Democrats tend to be more disposed to do?
more disposed to spend money on social welfare programs, use gov. money for public education and gov. money on gov.-run health programs and grant tax relief to lower and middle classes
What are Republicans less disposed to do?
less disposed to spend money on social welfare programs or government-run health programs or regualate firearms
What are Republicans more disposed to do?
more disposed to spend on defense and use vouchers for private schools and support school prayer and grant tax relief to everyone (including wealthy and corporations)
When does party realignment occur?
it occurs when the coalitions making up the two parties fall apart, such as when many of the groups that make up the majority party defect to the minority party- realignments are rare and usually occur b/c of a major traumatic event
What is a critical election and what does it signal?
a critical election signals a party realignment and it is when a new party comes to dominate politics
When did the last realignment take place?
in 1932, as result of Great Depression, when the Republican party became the minority party and Democrats became the majority party, w/ Democrats being elected in overwhelming numbers to every branch of government at every level
What is dealignment?
it is usually a result of party members becoming disaffected as a result of some policy position taken by the party, these disaffected party members join no political party and vote for the candidate and not the party the candidate belongs to
How has party membership changed since the 1960s?
the number of Republicans has remained steady, the number of Democrats has decreased, the number of Independents increased w/ the two major parties having roughly equal party membership
What are interest groups?
organizations dedicated to a particular political goal or to a set of unified goals
What are some common examples of interest groups?
religious (Christian Coalition), racial (NAACP), professional (American Medical Association), or share an interest such as the environment (Sierra Club) or political reform (Common Cause)
What is lobbying?
originated from when early lobbyists waited in the lobby of the Capitol to catch legislators on the way in or out- now it is when interest groups try to influence legislators (usually through modern methods, but it can vary)
What are economic interest groups (usually most powerful in Washington)?
they are formed to promote and protect members' economic interests- some represent all businesspeople (U.S. Chamber of Commerce), some a specific trade/industry (American Farm Bureau Federation), some are labor groups that represent a union members (AFL-CIO), some are professional groups (AMA, ABA)
What are public interest groups?
they are nonprofit organizations that are generally organized around a well-defined set of public policy issues- consumer groups usually worker to promote safer products and more informative labeling (Public Citizen)
What are some other examples of public interest groups?
environmental groups (Sierra Club), religious groups (Christian Coalition), groups that promote causes such as women's rights, minority rights, political reform, and single-interest groups (NRA, National Right to Life Committee)
What are government interest groups?
most states and many cities and localities maintain lobbying organizations in nation's capital, there is a group to represent governors, one to represent mayors, and most foreign governments and businesses lobby the gov. as well
What are some tactics used to persuade congress?
direct lobbying, testifying before Congress, socializing, political donations, endorsements of particular candidates, court action, rallying thier membership, propaganda
What is influence peddling?
it is the practice of using personal friendships and inside information to get political advantage
What was determined in Buckley vs. Valeo (1976)?
limits former Congresspeople to doing everything except lobbying Congress for the first year after they leave Congress, and it limits former executive officials from lobbying for five years after they leave the agency taht employed them