U. S. Government/Voting Registration and Participation/Political Process

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Functions of Political Parties[edit | edit source]

What roles do political parties play in the American political process?

  • Recruiting and nominating candidates
  • Educating the electorate (voters) about campaign issues
  • Helping candidates win elections
  • Monitoring actions of officeholders

Political parties play a key role in government and provide opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process. The American political process is characterized by a two party system.

How are political parties similar?

  • They organize to win elections
  • They influence public policies
  • They reflect liberal and conservative views
  • They define themselves in a way that wins majority support by appealing to the political center

How are Democrats and Republicans different?
Democrats (Liberals; the Left) often support more government involvement in social problems, more likely to support tax increases, and more likely to support labor unions

Republicans (conservative; The Right; GOP: Grand Old Party) are more likely to supporot reducing the power of the federal government and give more power to the states, and more likely to support military spending

How do third parties influence government?

  • They introduce new ideas or press for particular issues
  • Often revolve around a political personality (Theodoroe Roosevelt)

Although third parties rarely win elections, they play an important role in politics.

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

  1. Candidate - A person running for office
  2. Platform - A statement of a party's official stand on major public issues
  3. Nominating - To name candidates to run for public offfice
  4. Campaign - Organized actions that a political candidate undertakes to win an election
  5. Media - Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and Internet used for communication
  6. Apathy - Lack of Interest
  7. General Elections - An election in which voters make final decisions about candidates and issues
  8. Electorate - The people
  9. Slate - A list of candidates for election to an office
  10. Ballot - A process of voting
  11. Electoral College - A body of people representing the states of the United States, who formally cast votes for the election of the president
  12. Political Party - A political organization that seeks to attain power within a government. Parties usually have a certain ideology.
  13. Bias - Favoring one point of view
  14. Impartial - Not favoring one side or parrty more than another
  15. Public Opinion Polls - Feelings, thoughts, and positions that many Americans have on political or social issues
  16. Interest groups - Groups of people who work together for similar interests and goals
  17. Propaganda - A message that is meant to influence people's ideas, opinions, or actions in a certain way
  18. Caucus - Small meetings where people within a party vote for the candidate they prefer
  19. Primary - Preliminary election within a party in which people can express their preference for a candidate
  20. Conservative - Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation
  21. Convention - A large meeting or conference in which political parties meet
  22. Liberal - Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional value
  23. Op-Ed - Stands for Opinion Editorials; citizens express their views in the paper by writing letters, emails or through cartoons.
  24. Political Cartoons - Artwork, drawings, that deal with political issues and often surround current events
  25. Editorials - An opinion piece printed in newspapers and new magazines that are written by staff members