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9.6: Glossary

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    What Are Parties and How Did They Form?

    party platform the collection of a party’s positions on issues it considers politically important

    personal politics a political style that focuses on building direct relationships with voters rather than on promoting specific issues

    political machine an organization that secures votes for a party’s candidates or supports the party in other ways, usually in exchange for political favors such as a job in government

    political parties organizations made up of groups of people with similar interests that try to directly influence public policy through their members who seek and hold public office

    third parties political parties formed as an alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties, also known as minor parties

    The Two-Party System

    critical election an election that represents a sudden, clear, and long-term shift in voter allegiances

    first-past-the-post a system in which the winner of an election is the candidate who wins the greatest number of votes cast, also known as plurality voting

    majoritarian voting a type of election in which the winning candidate must receive at least 50 percent of the votes, even if a run-off election is required

    party realignment a shifting of party alliances within the electorate

    plurality voting the election rule by which the candidate with the most votes wins, regardless of vote share

    proportional representation a party-based election rule in which the number of seats a party receives is a function of the share of votes it receives in an election

    two-party system a system in which two major parties win all or almost all elections

    The Shape of Modern Political Parties

    majority party the legislative party with over half the seats in a legislative body, and thus significant power to control the agenda

    minority party the legislative party with less than half the seats in a legislative body

    party identifiers individuals who represent themselves in public as being part of a party

    party-in-government party identifiers who have been elected to office and are responsible for fulfilling the party’s promises

    party-in-the-electorate members of the voting public who consider themselves part of a political party or who consistently prefer the candidates of one party over the other

    party organization the formal structure of the political party and the active members responsible for coordinating party behavior and supporting party candidates

    precinct the lowest level of party organization, usually organized around neighborhoods

    Divided Government and Partisan Polarization

    bipartisanship a process of cooperation through compromise

    divided government a condition in which one or more houses of the legislature is controlled by the party in opposition to the executive

    gerrymandering the manipulation of legislative districts in an attempt to favor a particular candidate

    moderate an individual who falls in the middle of the ideological spectrum

    party polarization the shift of party positions from moderate towards ideological extremes

    reapportionment the reallocation of House seats between the states to account for population changes

    redistricting the redrawing of electoral maps

    safe seat a district drawn so members of a party can be assured of winning by a comfortable margin

    sorting the process in which voters change party allegiances in response to shifts in party position


    9.6: Glossary is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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