What is a confidence vote?A vote held in a parliamentary system that, if it fails, brings on an election and possibly a new set of party leaders.
What is Duverger's law?A regularity that only two parties tend to compete for control of the government in countries that have single-member, plurality electoral systems.
What is a national committee?Officials who oversee the operation of their party nationwide.
What is a national party convention?The meeting where the party formally nominates its presidential candidate.


What was the New Deal party system?A political alliance between southern Democrats, big-city Democrats, rural voters, and African Americans that endured for several decades after the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932.
What is a party amateur?An issue activist who is mostly interested in specific policy areas and works for the party, or for specific politicians within the party, to advance those goals.
What is party discipline?The tendency for legislators that belong to the same party to vote the same way on a given bill.
What is party identification?Loyalty or psychological attachment to a political party.


What is a political machine?A local organization that controls the city or county government to such an extent that it can reward whole neighborhoods, wards and precincts, or other groups with benefits, such as jobs and government programs, in return for supporting the party's candidates.
What is a political party?A group of candidates and elected officials organized under a common label for the purpose of attaining positions of public authority.
What is a primary election?An election held before Election Day to allow voters to select which candidates will appear on the ballot under a party label.
What is a ''smoke-filled room''?A situation in which party elites make important decisions away from the scrutiny or influence of party membership.


What is dealignment?A decline in party loyalties that reduces long-term party commitment.
What is the Democratic Party?One of the two major American political parties evolving out of the Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson.
What is divided government?A situation in which one major political party controls the presidency and the other controls the chambers of Congress, or in which one party controls a state governorship and the other controls the state legislature.
What is the electoral college?A group of persons, called electors, who are selected by the voters in each state. This group officially elects the president and the vice president of the United States.


What was the Era of Good Feelings?The years from 1817 to 1825, when James Monroe was president and had, in effect, no political opposition.
What are factions?A group or bloc in a legislature or political party acting in pursuit of some special interest or position.
What is an independent?A voter or candidate who does not identify with a political party.
What is party organization?The formal structure and leadership of a political party, including election committees; local, state, and national executives; and paid professional staff.


What is a party platform?A document drawn up at each national convention outlining the policies, positions, and principles of the party.
What is the party-in-government?All of the elected and appointed officials who identify with a political party.
What is the party-in-the-electorate?Those members of the general public who identify with a political party or who express a preference for one party over another.
What is patronage?Rewarding faithful party workers and followers with government employment and contracts.


What is a plurality?A number of votes cast for a candidate that is greater than the number of votes for any other candidate but not necessarily be a majority.
What is realignment?A process in which a substantial group of voters switches party allegiance, producing a long-term change in the political landscape.
What is the Republican Party?One of the two major American political parties. It emerged in the 1850s as an antislavery party and consisted of former Northern Whigs and antislavery Democrats.
What is the reverse-income effect?A tendency for wealthier states or regions to favor the Democrats and for less wealthy states or regions to favor the Republicans. The effect appears paradoxical because it reverses traditional patterns of support.


What is a safe seat?A district that returns the legislator with 55 percent of the vote or more.
What is a splinter party?A new party formed by a dissident faction within a major political party. Often, splinter parties have emerged when a particular personality was at odds with the major party.
What is a state central committee?The principal organized structure of each political party within each state. This committee is responsible for carrying out policy decisions of the party
What is straight-ticket voting?Voting exclusively for the candidates of one party.


Who are swing voters?Voters who frequently swing their support from one party to another.
What is a third party?A political party other than the two major political parties (Republican and Democratic).
What is ticket splitting?Voting for candidates of two or more parties for different offices. For example, a voter splits her ticket if she votes for a Republican presidential candidate and a Democratic congressional candidate.
What is tipping?A phenomenon that occurs when a group that is becoming more numerous over time grows large enough to change the political balance in a district, state, or country.


What is the two-party system?A political system in which only two parties have a reasonable chance of winning.
What is unit rule?A rule of procedure at a national politcal convention under which a state's entire vote must be cast for the candidate preferred by a majority of the state's delegates.
What was the Whig Party?A major party in the United States during the first half of the 19th century, formally established in 1836. The Whig Party was anti-Jackson and represented a variety of regional interests.
What is the Australian ballot?A government printed ballot of uniform size and shape to be cast in secret that was adopted by many states around 1890 in order to reduce the voting fraud associated with party printed ballots cast in public.


What are caucuses?Meetings of party leaders to determine party policy or to choose the party's candidates for public office
What are fusion tickets?Slates of candidates that ''fused'' the nominees of minor and major parties. Eventually banned by state legislatures, they allowed minor parties to boost their votes by nominating candidates also nominated by major parties.
What was the Progressive Era?Period of reform from 1890s-1920s. Opposed waste and corruption while focusing on the general rights of the individual. Pushed for social justice, general equality, and public safety. Significants in this movement included trust-busting, Sherman Anti-trust Act, President Theodore Roosevelt, Upton Sinclair's ''The Jungle'', Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act of 1906.`
What is proportional representation?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.


What is a split ticket?a ballot cast by a voter who votes for candidates from more than one party
Who are superdelegates?party leaders and elected officials who become delegates to the national convention without having to run in primaries or caucuses