DE Key Terms Chapter 7

political party

a group that seeks to elect candidates to public office

primary elections

an election held to determine the nominee from a particular party

mugwumps or progressives

Republican party faction of the 1890s to the 1910s, composed of reformers who opposed patronage

critical or realignment periods

a period when a major, lasting shift occurs in the popular coalition supporting one or both parties

primary elections

an election held to determine the nominee from a particular party

closed primary

a primary election where all voters (regardless of party membership) may vote for the party's nominee


party leaders and elected officials who become delegates to the national convention without having to run in primaries or caucuses

invisible primary

process by which candidates try to attract the support of key party leaders before the election begins

national convention

a meeting of party delegates held every four years

national committee

delegates who run party affairs between national conventions

congressional campaign committee

a party committee in Congress that provides funds to members and would-be members

national chair

day-to-day party manager elected by the national committee

political machines

a party organization that recruits members by dispensing patronage

partisan identification

a voter's long-term, stable attachment to one of the political parties


another name for partisan identity

two-party system

An electoral system with two dominant parties that compete in national elections

plurality system

an electoral system in which the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he or she does not receive a majority; used in almost all American elections

interest group

an organization of people sharing a common interest or goal that seeks to influence public policy

social movement

a widely shared demand for change in some aspect of the social or political order

public good

something of value that all individuals share, whether or not they contribute to it (such as clean air or water)

free rider problem

the tendency of individuals to avoid contributing to public goods

material incentives

money or things valued in monetary terms

solidary incentives

the social rewards (sense of pleasure, status, or companionship) that lead people to join political views on party agenda


assessments of a representative's voting record on issues important to an interest group

grassroots lobbying

using the general public (rather than lobbyists) to contact government officials about a public policy

political action committee (PAC)

a committee set up by a corporation, labor union, or interest group that raises and spends campaign money from voluntary donations