Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2
Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 PSC 101
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Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Note: These are for the chapters 9, 8, 10, and 12 which are going to be on the exam. These include lecture notes, textbook notes, and corresponding vocabulary. Chapter 9: Political Parties Lecture Notes Political parties are the point of contract between the citizens and government with collective interests America has ALWAYS been a two party system o Sometimes there is a third party that ends up in an election, but they do not make a dent or win typically Third parties are parties that organize in order to elicit external policy issues This is for issues that the other two parties do not typically have a stance on o Green Party or Tea Party are examples o We have a winner take all system and that means that whichever party gets the majority of the votes, gets all the seats for it Realignment is when there’s a switch in what the people believe and go to different party o It is basically a transition from the dominant party to a new one There are two different formation of political parties o Internal mobilization is when groups WITHIN the government compete for popular support o External mobilization is when groups OUTSIDE the government compete for popular support Divided government is the condition in which party control is split between the executive and legislative branch Party polarization is a strong division between competing parties on the majority of policy issues Every party needs funding to help them advance, so they are always trying to gain support and funding for them Caucus is normally a closed meeting of political party that seek strategic methods of choosing candidates and promoting policy National convention is when a political party institution that selects presidential candidates and devise party platform Page 1 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 o This is when they choose who is going to be the “face” of the party for the upcoming year or anything that it may be o Committees tend to argue about what should happen A political party machine is a strong party organization that grants it supporters political jobs and favors in exchange for votes o These are not very typical anymore Party identification is when someone will vote for a party REGARDLESS of other factors o Voting to go with how they were raised or by group affiliation Hispanics tend to go more toward democrats African Americans tend to go more toward democrats Women tend to go more toward democrats Party activism is the process of contributing a considerable amount of time and effort toward party ideals Policy entrepreneur is an individual who broadens the scope of traditional party platform with the intent to increase his or her political support Textbook Notes Political parties organize the mass public because as individuals they might lack the resources and knowledge to compete with the wealthy elites and interest groups for a voice in politic Political parties tend to be stronger than interest groups because they can mobilize with multiple areas as interest groups are typically narrow Political parties are more polarized than they have ever been o Meaning that there is a much clearer line of the two parties and are stronger on their stances Political parties are constantly trying to expand to nonvoters to gain voters Evidence shows that both parties tend to cater more toward the rich than the poor o This is thought to be because the rich tends to have more say and can contribute money to the party more than the poor can The Jeffersonians (Antifederalist) were formed by internal mobilization meaning formed within the government during the American republic The Republican Party were formed by external mobilization meaning formed outside the government in 1850 Page 2 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 The first role of political parties is to recruit candidates to be the face of their party for government positions o This means that they look good, have a good amount of money, and can deal with the stress that will come from being in office Each party only nominate one candidate for elections to avoid people of the same party splitting the votes o This has to do with how the voting system in America is a winnertakeall system so they want their party to gain the most votes Once a party has a candidate nominated, then they have to go out and get voters to want to vote for their candidate National convention is where the candidates make their platform and decide what their strategy should be The United States spend millions of dollars on campaigns which is way more than any other country o On average each party raises tens of millions to go for their party o They get donations from the 572 committees to help Most are shadow organizations to fund their party Candidates always looking to expand their supporters In congress people work on committees and to move up is by how long they have been on the certain committee Party identification is important because that is how most people vote People who lean more toward the Democratic side outnumbers the Republican side Group affiliation can be based race and ethnicity, gender, religion, class, age, etc o Race and ethnicity African Americans tend to be more Democratic (over 90% vote this way) Cuban Americans tend to be more Republican Mexican Americans tend to be more Democratic Asian Americans are not clear but the 2012 election shows more toward Democratic o Gender Women tend to be more Democratic Focuses on health, education, and social services Men tend to be more Republican Focuses on fiscal and economic issues along with national security o Religion Jewish Americans tend to be more Democratic (over 90% vote this way) Catholics have been switching to Republican side since 1970s Protestants tend to be more Republican Page 3 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 o Class Upperincome Americans tend to be more Republican Focus on cutting taxes and social spending Lowerincomes Americans tend to be more Democratic Focuses on increasing social spending and in some cases raising taxes on the wealthy o Ideology Conservatives tend to be Republican Liberals tend to be more Democratic o Region Democratic region tends to be the coast, upper Midwest, and across the northern states Republican region tends to be in the Mountain West, Southwest, and South states o Age People who became of age to vote during certain times tend to vote the same way because they experienced the same events A party system has to do with the two parties that are competing in the United States for power o First system was Federalist and Jeffersonian Republicans Started in 1790 and went to about 1812 18121830 it was only the Jeffersonian Republicans who got known as Democrats o Second party system was Democrats and Whigs Started in 1830 and went to about 1864 Whigs started because they were oppose of Andrew Jackson o Civil war and post civil system was the Republicans and Democrats Started in 1864 and went to about1890s Republicans were the northern states and Democrats were the southern states o System of 18961932 are still Republicans and Democrats but different views Republicans: low taxes, high tariffs, minimum government regulation Democrats: maintaining the regions autonomy o The new deal from 1932 till 1964 After great depression, the people switched to Democrats because they blamed the Republicans for it o Current system of today started in 1964 with Nixon In 1995 it was the first time for the Republicans to have the House, Senate, and White House Page 4 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 There have been five party realignments o First took place around 17901800 when Jeffersonian Republicans defeated the Federalist o Second took place about 1828 when Jacksonian Democrats got control of White House and Congress o Third took place about 1860 when the new Republican Party ran by Abraham Lincoln won power o Fourth took place about 1890s after slavery o Fifth took place between 19321936 because it was the last time the United States did not have a divided government Congressional lines are drawn so each district has about the same population and typically majority of the population fall into one party With party polarization it has made congress less representative of the whole American population Third parties take votes from the two major parties A ranked choice voting system is where people vote for their top three choices and they get a majority vote for the presidency Vocabulary Words Political Party: organized groups that attempt to influence the government by electing their members to important government offices Partisanship: identification with or support of a particular party or cause Twoparty System: a political system in which only two parties have a realistic opportunity to compete effectively for control Nomination: the process by which political parties select their candidates for election to public office Party Organization: the formal structure of a political party, including its leadership, election committees, active members, and paid staff Caucus (Political): a normally closed meeting of a political or legislative group to select candidates, plan strategy, or make decisions regarding legislative matters National Convention: a national institution that nominates the party’s presidential and vicepresidential candidates; establishes party rules, and writes and ratifies the party’s platform Page 5 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Platform: a party document, written at a national convention. That contains party philosophy, principles, and positions on issues Soft Money: money contributed directly to political parties and other organizations for political activities that is not regulated by federal campaign spending laws; in 2002 federal law prohibited donations to national party committees 527 Committees: nonprofit independent groups that receive and disburse funds to influence defeat of candidates. Named after Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, which defines and grants taxexempt status to nonprofit advocacy groups Machines: strong party organizations in the late nineteenthand early twentiethcentury American cities; these machines were led by “bosses” who controlled party nominations and patronage Patronage: to resources available to higher officials, usually opportunities to make partisan appointments to offices and to confer grants, licenses, or special favors to supporters Policy Entrepreneur: an individual who identifies a problem as a political issue and brings a policy proposal into the political agenda Majority Party: the party that holds the majority of legislative seats in either the House or Senate Minority Party: the party that holds a minority of legislative seats in either the House or the Senate Party Identification: an individual voter’s psychological ties to one party or another Party Activists: partisans who contribute time, energy, and effort to support their party and its candidates Gender Gap: a distinctive pattern of voting behavior reflecting the differences in views between women and men Dealignment: a movement away from the major political parties; a decline in partisan attachment Electoral Realignment: the point in history when a new party supplants the ruling party, becoming in turn the dominant political force; in the United States, this has tended to occur roughly every 30 years Divided Government: the condition in American government wherein the presidency is controlled by one party while the opposing party controls one or both houses of Congress Page 6 of22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Party Polarization: the division between the two major parties on most policy issues, with members of each party unified around their party’s positions with little crossover Third Parties: parties that organize to compete against the two major American political parties Chapter 10: Campaigns and Election Lecture Notes Primaries are used for Democrats and Republicans to figure out who the face of the party will o Closed is when only people of the party can vote o Open is when any registered voter can vote Midterm elections happen between the president’s election Runoff election is when there is more than two candidates running in an election and the state requires that the winner has to have a MAJORITY of the votes o If no one gets it then the state takes the two highest candidates and then have them run against each other Proportional system is when the districts match proportionally to the voters o Open list system is where the people vote which candidates they want o Closed list system is where the people who are going into office based on the list it is listed Straight ticket is when ALL the votes go for one party Split ticket is when the votes between the parties are split Are not confined to using paper ballot Legislative election have district lines that typically put the people in that district to be in the same party Splintering is making the legislative be in charge of the district Packing is when they allow a district to be the opposite party Redistricting is every 10 years Electoral college is the deciding factor of who wins for the president Ballot initiative is when you are voting on a law o Only 24 0f the 50 states do it o Direct someone shows up at a ballot box and petitions about it, then if it hits the percentage number then it goes directly to the people A recall election is when the citizens petition to have another election o This does not happen on the federal level but on the state/ local level o Does not always mean that the person will be kicked out, but it does call for another call Election campaigns are expensive Page 7 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 o There’s a cap of how much each individual person can spend on each candidate in every 2 year cycle o It is illegal for businesses to use their treasury funds o There is unlimited funds when the donation is not linked to a direct party but to a cause such as abortion or global warning o State level elections candidates can use as much as their own money to help them o For the federal level election there is a limit of how much candidates can use as much as their own money to help them Candidates still go to town meetings to show that they are one of the people o It also becomes easier to find target groups to gain voters The parties are more polarized than they have been since the 1960s Textbook Notes With a winner take all system that means that whoever gets the majority of the popular vote in a state, gets ALL the electoral votes Elections are a routine event that has strict rules Voting is the most common form of participation in politics Primary elections are when candidates of the same party are competing against each other for the votes For the United States, elections are ran by a plurality system typically and not a majority system A proportional representation gives the minor parties a chance to have their voice heard more than a plurality and majority system Straight ticket voting was the only way to do it before the 1890s, but now they have a neutral ballot that has all the candidates name o Now when people vote for different parties and not every vote is for the same political party, it is called a split ticket voting For each person to get one vote per person, counties and states have to make everything propionate so that one area does not have a bigger population than another Presidential nominations begin at the Iowa caucus and the second is New Hampshire primary o Doing well in these help to gain media coverage and can make or break a candidate At party conventions, they come up with a party platform Page 8 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 It is not a direct election because the people vote for who they want and then an electoral college decides which candidate has the most votes and they get all of the state’s electoral college votes o This has been a big debate because people can win the popular vote but not the electoral vote and the electoral is the final say People can do ballot initiative to get a petition turned into a law, but it takes over 50% of the votes o Only 24 of the 50 stats do it All states can do a legislative referendum and it causes a change in state constitution 18 out of 50 have the power to recall elections which could make an official be removed from office before their term is over o The president and Congress officials are not able to be recalled Incumbents have a better chance of winning a campaign unless it has been the subject of damaging publicity o They are able to get more free media coverage meaning that they do not have to pay for the advertisement and the media covers them doing something that is broadcasted to the public anyways For a campaign the person running in the election needs a team to help them run smoothly o Local campaign need hundreds of workers that are volunteer and professional o State campaigns need thousands of workers that are volunteer and professional o Presidential campaigns need tens of thousands of workers that are volunteer and professional Campaigns cost over a million dollars that people fundraise o In 2012, for the presidential election, the Democratic Party raised $934 million and the Republican Party raised $881 million Polling is important for campaigns because it tells the candidates what the people care about The public learn more from negative ads because it focuses on “flaws” of the other candidate’s policy issue over positive ads focus on the character of the person and less about the policy Candidates use microtargeting to focus on specific groups and to get that group to go vote for them There is no limit how much money candidates can raise for their campaign Page 9 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 o Court case Buckley v. Valeo (1976) said that candidates wanted to use their own money on their campaign they could not be infringed because it is a freedom of speech o Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) said that corporations and unions could not be infringed on how much money they gave to a candidate as long as they do not coordinate with a candidate’s campaign o Court case McCutcheon et al. v Federal Election Commission (2014) said that individuals could give candidates for any election a total of $2,600 for every 2 years There are 6 main ways that candidates get money for an election o Individual donors o PACs o Independent spending such as committees o Political parties o Public funding o The candidates own money There are three main factors that play a part in influencing a voter’s decision on who they vote o Partisan loyalty is when a person identifies with a party more than anything and votes for that party’s candidates regardless o When it comes to issues and policy preferences will influence a voter to vote for a candidate if that candidate and them have the same view point on an important issue to the voter o The last big influence has to do with a candidates character based on gender, religion, ethnicity, race, etc In 2012, it was not likely that Obama was going to get reelected because the people were in general not happy and the house was no longer the same party as him but he did win the reelection Elections are usually only really fought in 9 or 10 states because some states are heavily Republican or heavily Democratic The 2014 midterm election gave the Republican party control of the Senate and the House o This was the largest midterm election when it comes to money in history spending over $690 million on advertisements Vocabulary Words Page 10 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Midterm Election: congressional election that do not coincide with a presidential election; also called off year elections Primary Election: elections held to select a party’s candidate for the general election General Election: a regularly scheduled election involving most districts in the nation or state, in which voters select officeholders; in the United States, general elections for national office and most state and local offices are held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in evennumbered years (every four years for presidential elections) Closed Primary: a primary election in which voters can participate in the nomination of candidates, but only for the party in which they are enrolled for a period of time prior to the primary day Open Primary: a primary election in which voters can wait until the day of the primary to choose which party to enroll in to select candidates for the general election Majority System: a type of electoral system in which, to win a seat in the parliament or other representative body, a candidate must receive a majority of all the votes cast in the relevant district Runoff Election: a “second round” election in which voters choose between the top two candidates from the first round Plurality System: a type of electoral system in which, to win a seat in parliament or other representative body, a candidate need only receive the most votes in the election, not necessarily a majority of votes cast Proportional Representation: a multiplemember district system that allows each political party representation in proportion to its percentage of the total vote Straightticket voting: selecting candidates from the same political party for all offices on the ballot Redistricting: the process of redrawing election districts and redistributing legislative representatives. This happens every 10 years to reflect shifts in population or in response to legal changes in existing districts Gerrymandering: the apportionment of voters in districts in such a way as to give unfair advantage to one racial or ethnic group or political party Majorityminority District: a gerrymandered voting district that improves the chances of minority candidates by making selected minority groups the majority within the district Page 11 of22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Caucus (political): a normally closed political party business meeting of citizens or lawmakers to select candidates, elect officers, plan strategy, or make decisions regarding legislative matters Grassroots Politics: political campaigns that operate at a local level, often using faceto face communication to generate interest and momentum by citizens Party Platform: a party document, written at a national convention, that contains party philosophy, principles, and policy constituency Delegate: a representative who votes according to the preference of his constituency Electoral College: the presidential electors from each state who meet after the general election to cast ballots for president and vice president Ballot Initiative: a proposed law or policy change that is placed on the ballot by citizens or interest groups for a popular vote Referendum: the practice of referring a proposed law passed by legislature to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection Recall: a procedure to allow voters to remove state officials from office before their terms expire by circulating petitions to call a vote Campaign: an effort by political candidates and their supporters to win the backing of donors, political activists, and voters in their quest for political office Incumbent: a candidate running for reelection to a position that he or she already holds Town Hall Meeting: an informal meeting in which candidates meet with ordinary citizens. Allows candidates to deliver messages without the presence of or commentators Spot (advertisement): a 15, 30, or 60second television campaign commercial that permits a candidate’s message to be delivered to a target audience Political Action Committee (PACs): a private group that raises and distributes funds for use in election campaign 527 Committees: nonprofit independent groups that receive and disburse funds to influence the nomination, election, or defeat of candidates. Named after Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, which defines and provides taxexempt status for nonprofit advocacy groups 501c(4) Committees: nonprofit groups that also engage in issue advocacy. Under Section 501c(4) of the federal tax code such a group may spend up to half its revenue for political purposes Page 12 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Prospective Voting: voting based on the imagined future performance of a candidate or political party Retrospective Voting: voting based on the past performance of a candidate or political party Chapter 8: Political Participation and Voting Lecture Notes There are different forms of political participation o The traditional way of voting, protesting, campaigning, and petition Tends to be stronger because it is face to face interactions People can feed off the passion that one has for the topic o There’s online way that is blogs, websites, social media This helps to cause people to go more toward the traditional method of participation This helps people to have a broader sense of politics because it typically tells of both sides and is easier to find information than with the traditional way Younger generation tends to have more access along with the middle and upper class over the lower class Suffrage is just the right to vote Voter turnout is the percent of people who are going out to vote compared to those who are eligible to vote o This has decreased steadily since the 1960s o In recent years it has increased a little but still low Voting rights have expanded because now EVERYONE can vote regardless of property owned o 15 amendment gave African American the rights to vote nationally th o 19 rdendment gave women the right to vote nationally o 23 amendment gave people in the District of Columbia the right to vote o 24 amendment took away taxes to vote o 26 amendment made everyone who was 18 years or older was able to vote This has to do with that people were being drafted but they were not allowed to vote for who ran the country yet they could be drafted to fight for their country There are ways to explain political participation Page 13 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 o Off of socioeconomic status, the wealthy and higher educated people are the ones who have a higher percentage of people who are willing to vote They are more educated and have more knowledge of the issues as a rule of thumb They can afford to go out and vote and do not have to worry about having dinner on the table o Off of political environment, the ones who have a stronger sense of community and reason to vote, leads people to want to go out and vote Especially in swing states, getting the people to feel and be urged to vote is more likely to vote o Off of state electoral laws, if you’re in a district that is heavenly in one party, there is no reason to go out and vote because you think that your vote does not matter Voter identification is sometimes an issue because some states require voter ID with a picture and some of the lower class population cannot afford a driver’s license o In some states the mentally handicapped cannot o People who are deployed cannot participate People can participate in absentee voting o This means that it allows them to get the ballot sent to them in the mail and then they send it back in to cast their vote so they do not have to physically go to the polls Some states allow for people to register on the day of election and then cast their vote African Americans tend to be more likely to vote when an African American candidate is running Latinos tend to be less likely to vote, but Cesar Chavez spoke out for the Latinos in the 60s o They tend to vote Republican Asian Americans tend not to participate as much but they tend to be more active when there are practices against Asians Females tend to have a higher participation NOW than males typically The older population is more likely to vote than the younger population because they are more involved Textbook Notes Early voting helps minorities have more of a chance to vote Page 14 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 There are two different forms of political participation o There’s the traditional political participation which includes voting, protests, and anything that has to do with facetoface activities o The other way is through the Internet such as blogs and chat rooms It is believed that participating online leads people to go and vote and participate in the traditional sense because it makes the information easily accessible to the public Voting is the most important form of political participation because this is the way people get put into office and are able to fulfill what the people want o Voting was not always fair across America They had poll taxes which would making there be a fee to vote There were literacy tests that aimed to make uneducated and immigrants not able to vote Certain requirements to vote was a thing Had to have property, be a certain race, etc Voter turnout is relatively low in America with only around 50% of eligible voters actually voting Factors that influence understanding voter turnout can be put into three factors o A person’s social and demographic background and attitudes on politics People who have a higher socioeconomic status have a higher turnout rate than those on the lower end The older population have a higher turnout rate than younger because they are more organized and likely to vote and are targeted more Minority groups are likely to vote if their representative tends to be the same race or ethnic group of them because they feel like the government will listen to them The gender gap is still wide, but it is starting to close Religious groups tend to vote more toward conservatives and morally based o Political environment in which the elections take place and if they seek to get voters to turn out and vote as well as if the election is contested between two candidates This tends to be when people feel part of a community they are more likely to go out and vote This is why the voter turnout for young people is low because many of them are not involved with their community Page 15 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Getting people to have face to face interactions to get them to vote is better than just mailing or calling If the election is close then it gets people to go out and vote more likely o The state laws that shape the electoral process The registration process is time consuming and many people do not find it worth to do Younger voters are more likely to move around so they are not able to be registered Voter identification is an issue because states require proof of identification and some want photo ID which the minority groups tend to be effected by more People charged of a felony in some states are not able to vote Election day is on a Tuesday and some people cannot afford to take work off to go vote Vocabulary Words Traditional Political Participation: activities designed to influence government including voting and facetoface activities such as protesting or volunteering for a campaign Protest: participation that involves assembling crowds to confront a government or other official organization Suffrage: the right to vote; also called franchise Turnout: the percentage of eligible individuals who actually vote Online Political Participation: activities designed to influence government using the Internet, including visiting a candidate’s website, organizing events online, or signing an online petition Socioeconomic Status: status in society based on level of education, income, and occupational prestige Gender Gap: a distinctive pattern of voting behavior reflecting the differences in views between women and men Mobilization: the process by which large numbers of people are organized for a political activity Page 16 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Election Day Registration: the option in some states to register on the day of the election, at the polling place, rather than in advance of the election Permanent Absentee Ballots: the option in some states to have a ballot sent atomically to your home for each election, rather than having to request an absentee ballot each time Early Voting: the option in some states to cast a vote at a polling place or by mail before the election Chapter 12: Congress Lecture Notes Congress is strongly Republican right now and Obama is Democratic The house represents more of the population of the districts o They have 2 year terms o They can only have 6 terms total o They must be 25 years old The senate has only 2 per state regardless of the population o They have 6 year terms o They can only have 2 terms o They must be 30 years old People in Congress tend to be more educated and have at the minimum a bachelor degree Politicians that are incumbents have a better chance of being reelected o They tend to have more money than the new ones o People are not as educated so they vote for a familiar face Direct patronage is when the machines would promise jobs to the public Pork barreling is illegal if the politician is directly benefited from it The senate and the house are both organized similarly o There’s a speaker of the house which is the one that runs the meetings typically This person falls in the category of the majority party Committee members have the majority of the time to talk in the House but in the Senate, anyone can talk o This allows for a filibuster in the Senate which is where they basically go on a rant Permanent committees are the ones that have more authority o There are some temporary committees that do not have the highest power These committees are usually formed for oversight or to investigate a scandal Page 17 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 o Joint committees are committees that have members from the house and the senate where they talk about budget and everything that makes them have to work together Interest groups help to push Congress to do what the people want Constituency people try to do what their party likes so they can receive the money from PACs Whips help to keep track of what the party people are doing because it has to be transparent Congress has the powers to impeach president if the majority of the house believes that the president should be o Majority of the house needs to approve and then it goes to Senate rd The Senate needs a 2/3 vote for them to be removed Textbook Notes Congress has to represent the people not just their party There are 435 members of the house and 100 of senate A member of the house you have to: o Have a minimum age of 25 o Be a citizen for at least 7 years o The term length is 2 years o Each state has 153 depending on its population o It’s constituency is local o Able to focus more the issues due to how often they have elections A member of the senate you have to: o Have a minimum age of 30 o Be a citizen for at least 9 years o The term length is 6 years o Each state has 2 o It’s constituency is local and statewide o They are able to come up with better ideas because they have longer terms that gives them a chance to find more ideas A delegate is when a representative votes in the way of the people but it requires the constituencies to be contact with them and the delegate to be in constant communication A trustee is when a representative votes in a way he or she thinks is best for the people but are not necessarily talking to the people The way that congress and the constituencies relationship work is based on sociological representation and agency representation Page 18 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 o sociological representation focuses that the person in congress has the same beliefs as the people and vote in the same way as them based on gender, race, etc o agency representation focuses that congress is voting in the way of what is seen as the best but knowing it is still being held by the people Congress does not demographically match the US population There are three factors to look at when deciding who gets elected and what they do once they are elected o Biggest factor is who decides to actually run for election o Who is an incumbent o Where the congressional lines are People who are in congress when they make a bill have to show that they are not legally tied to gaining benefits from such bill or it could be considered bribery The people in Congress join committees that will help benefit their constituencies Only the House can make bills that have to do with money The president can veto acts of congress if he deems them not constitutional and then they get sent to congress again Congress is always looking for reelection so they vote in ways that will make their constituencies happy Interest groups play a big part in influencing congress too because they are able to donate money to them and can get people to go out and vote Voting in the same way as your party when in congress has benefits to those who do: o Leadership PACs give them money to help toward election or bills o Committee assignments by letting them get to be on the one that they want to be o Access to the floor by giving them time to talk during debates and discussions o The whip system which allows for communication through the House or Senate o Logrolling which is basically saying two people will vote in favor of the other o The presidency which gets people to be the one in charge of America The people do not approve of congress lately In 2013, it hit an all time low of only 9% of Americans approved of congress actions. Congress has gotten more polarized with republicans becoming more conservative and democrats becoming more liberal Congress uses oversight to make sure the executive branch is not overusing their power o This has increased and it is not always just on the executive branch The president tried to bypass getting the Senate approval with treaties so they use executive agreements Congress also has the power to impeach an official Vocabulary Words Page 19 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Constituency: the residents in the area from which the official is elected Bicameral: having a legislative assembly composed of two chambers or houses, distinguished from unicameral Delegate: a representative who votes according to the preferences of his or her constituency Trustee: a representative who votes based on what he or she thinks is best for his or her constituency Sociological Representation: a type of representation in which representatives have the same racial, gender, ethnic, religious, or educational backgrounds as their constituents; it is based on the principle that if two individuals are similar in background, character, interests, and perspectives, then one can correctly represent the other’s views Agency Representation: a type of representation in which representative is held accountable to a constituency if he or she fails to represent that constituency properly; this is when the personal backgrounds, views, and interests of the representative differ from those of his or her constituency Incumbency: holding the political office for which one is running Term Limits: legally prescribed limits on the number of terms an elected official can serve Apportionment: the process, occurring after every decennial census, that allocates congressional seats among the 50 states Redistricting: the process of redrawing election districts and redistributing legislative representatives; this happens every 10 years to reflect shifts in population or in response to legal challenges to existing districts Gerrymandering: the apportionment of voters in districts in such a way as to give unfair advantage to one racial or ethnic group or political party Patronage: the resources available to higher officials, usually opportunities to make partisan appointments to offices and to confer grants, licenses, or special favors to supporters Pork Barrel (or pork): apportions made by legislative bodies for local projects that are often not needed but that are created so that local representatives can win reelections in their home districts Private Bill: a proposal in Congress to provide a specific person with some kind of relief, such as a special exemption from immigration quotas Page 20 of22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Conference: a gathering of House Republicans every two years to elect their House leaders; Democrats call their gathering the caucus Caucus (political): a normally closed meeting of a political or legislative group to select candidates, plan strategy, or make decisions regarding legislative matters Speaker of the House: the chief presiding officer of the House of Representative; the speaker is the most important party and House leader, and can influence the legislative agenda, the fate of individual pieces of legislation, and members’ positions within the house Majority Leader: the elected leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives or the Senate; in the house, the majority leader is subordinate in the party hierarchy to the Speaker of the House Minority Leader: the elected leader of the minority party in the House or Senate Whip: a party member in the House or Senate responsible for coordinating the party’s legislative strategy, building support for key issues, and counting votes Standing Committee: a permanent committee with the power to propose and write legislation that covers a particular subject, such as finance or agriculture Select Committee: (usually) temporary legislative committees set up to highlight or investigate a particular issue or address an issues not within the jurisdiction of the existing committees Joint Committees: legislative committees formed of members of both the house and senate Conference Committees: joint committees created to work out a compromise on House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation Seniority: the ranking given to an individual on the basis of length and continuous service on a committee in Congress Staff Agencies: legislative support agencies responsible for policy analysis Caucuses (congressional): associations of members of Congress based on party, interest, or social group, such as gender or race Bill: a proposed hat has been sponsored by a member of Congress and submitted to the clerk of the House or Senate Committee Markup: the session in which a congressional committee rewrites legislation to incorporate changes discussed during hearing on a bill Page 21 of 22 Introduction to American Politics Study Guide Exam 2 Closed Rule: a provision by the House Rules Committee limiting or prohibiting the introduction of amendments during debate Open Rule: a provision by the House Rules Committee that permits floor debate and the addition of new amendments to a bill Filibuster: a tactic used by members of the Senate to prevent action on legislation they oppose by continuously holding the floor and speaking until the majority backs down; once given the floor, senators have unlimited time to speak, and it requires a vote of threefifths of the Senate to end a filibuster Cloture: a rule or process in a legislative body aimed at ending debate o a given bill; in the US Senate, 60 senators (threefifths) must agree in order to impose a time limit and end debate Veto: the president's constitutional power to turn down acts of congress; a presidential veto may be overridden a twothirds vote of each house of congress Pocket Veto: a presidential veto that is automatically triggered if the president does not act on a given piece of legislation passed during the final 10 days of a legislative session Party Unity Vote: a rollcall vote in the House or Senate in which at least 50 percent of the members of one party take a particular position and are opposed by at least 50 percent of the other party Rollcall Vote: a vote in which each legislator's yes or no vote is recorded as the clerks calls the names of the members alphabetically Logrolling: a legislative practice whereby agreements are made between legislators in voting for or against a bill; vote trading Oversight: the effort by Congress, through hearings, investigations, and other techniques, to exercise control over the activities of executive agencies Appropriations: the amounts of money approved by Congress in statutes (bills) that each unit or agency of government can spend Executive Agreements: an agreement, made between the president and another country, that has the force of a treaty but does not require the Senate’s “advice and consent” Impeachment: the formal charge by the House of Representatives that a government official has committed “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” Page 22 of 22
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