PS 101 Chapter 7
o Nodes: Groups of people who belong to, are candidates of, or work for a
political party but do not necessarily work together or hold similar policy
o Party Organization:Aspecific political party’s leaders and workers at the
national, state, local levels.
o Party in government: The group of officeholders who belong to a specific
political party and were elected as candidates of that party.
o Party in the electorate: The group of citizens who identify with a specific
o Party System: Aperiod in which the names of the major political parties,
their supporters, and the issues dividing them remain relatively stable.
o Party Principle: The idea that a political party exists as an organization
distinct from its elected officials or party leaders.
o Spoils System: The practice of rewarding policy supporters with benefits
like federal government positions.
o New Deal Coalition: The assemblage of groups who aligned with and
supported the Democratic Party in support of the New Deal policies
during the fifth arty system, includingAfricanAmericans, Catholics,
Jewish people, union members, and white southerners.
o Parties in Service: The role of the parties in recruiting, training,
fundraising, and campaigning for congressional and presidential
candidates. This aspect of party organization grew more prominent during
the sixth party system.
o Realignment:Achange in the size or composition of the party coalition or
in the nature of the issues that divide the parties. Realignments typically
occur within an election cycle or two, but they can also occur gradually
over the course of a decade or longer.
o Crosscutting: Issues that raise disagreements within a party coalition or
between political parties about what government should do.
o National Committee:AnAmerican political party’s principal organization
comprised of party representation from each state.
o PoliticalAction Committee (PAC):An interest group or a division of an
interest group that can raise money to contribute to campaigns or to spend
on ads in support of a campaign. The amount a PAC can receive from each
of its donors and amount it can spend on federal electioneering are strictly
o 527 Organization:Atax-exempt group formed primarily to influence
elections through voter mobilization efforts and issue ads that do not
directly endorse or oppose a candidature. Unlike political action
committees, they are not subject to contribution limits and spending caps.
o Brand Names: The use of party names to evoke certain positions or issues.
For instance, “Adidas” might immediately call to mind athletics in the same way that “Democrat” might remind you of environmental policies or
universal health care.
o Political Machine:An unofficial patronage system within a political party
that seeks to gain political power and government contracts, jobs, and
other benefits for party leaders, workers, and supporters.
o Caucus (Congressional): The organization of Democrats within the House
and Senate that meets to discuss and debate the party’s position on various
issues in order to reach a consensus and to assign leadership positions.
o Conference: The organization of Republicans within the House and Senate
that meets to discuss and debate the party’s position on various issues in
order to reach a consensus and to assign leadership positions.
o Polarized: The alignment of both parties’members with their own party’s
issues and priorities, with little crossover support for the other party’s
o Party Identification (Party ID):Acitizen’s loyalty to a specific political
o Activists: People who dedicate their time, effort, and money to supporting
a political party or particular candidates.
o Running Tally: Afrequently updated mental record that a person uses to
incorporate new information, like the information that leads a citizen to
identify with a particular political party.
o DE alignment:Adecline in the percentage of citizens who identify with
one of the major parties, usually over the course of a decade or longer.
o Party Coalition: The groups that identify with a political party, usually
described demographic terms such asAfricanAmerican Democrats or
o Primary: Aballot votes in which citizens select a party’s nominee for the
o Caucus (electoral):Alocal meeting in which party members select a
party’s nominee for the general election.
o Nominating Convention:Ameeting held by each party every four years at
which states’delegates select the party’s presidential and vice-presidential
nominees and approve the party platform.
o Party Platform:Aset of objectives outlining the party’s issue positions and
priorities. Candidates are not required to support their party’s platform.
o Conditional Party Government: The theory that lawmakers from the same
party will cooperate to develop policy proposals.
o Backbenchers: Legislators who do not hold leadership positions within
their party caucus or conference.
o Unified Government:A situation in which one party holds a majority of
seats in the House and the Senate and the president is a member of that
o Party in Power: Under the unified government, the party that controls the
House, Senate, and the presidency. Under divided government, the
president’s party. o Divided Government:A situation in which the House, Senate, and the
presidency are not controlled by the same party, such as if Democrats hold
the majority of House and Senate seats, and the president is a Republican.
o Responsible Parties:Asystem in which each political party’s candidates