Difference between revisions of "American Government Key Terms"

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|An association or organization having a common political goal and a legal or political strategy for achieving that goal.  Examples include unions like the [[SEIU]] and [[NEA]], and conservative groups like the [[Gun Owners of America]].
|''[[Citizens United v. FEC]]'' (Jan. 2010)
|''[[Citizens United v. FEC]]'' (Jan. 2010)

Revision as of 22:40, 13 December 2010

Term Explanation
trial balloon Leaking a proposed decision (such as a nomination by the president of someone to the U.S. Supreme Court) to the media so it can be publicized in order to see how the public reacts before the decision is finally made and officially announced. This enables changing the decision without embarrassment if the public reaction to the trial balloon is negative.
lame duck An elected official (or officials) who has not been reelected but still holds the official position until replaced by someone who was newly elected. Example: Congress in December 2010 is a "lame duck Congress" because the new representatives who were elected on Nov. 2 are not sworn into office until early January 2011.
interest group An association or organization having a common political goal and a legal or political strategy for achieving that goal. Examples include unions like the SEIU and NEA, and conservative groups like the Gun Owners of America.
Citizens United v. FEC (Jan. 2010) The U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations (like Wal-Mart) to spend directly for or against political candidates.
divided government When the House of Representatives, Senate and President are not controlled by the same political party; one or more is controlled by one party, while at least one is controlled by the other major party. (This is unique to the United States).
midterm elections The elections held in the middle of the four-year presidential term. Example: the elections held on Nov. 2, 2010, were "midterm elections." These elections give the public a way to vote on how the president and his political party are doing.
early voting The growing practice of voting prior to Election Day, which in some States (like Nevada and Colorado) now exceeds 50% of all votes cast.
judicial elections
granting cert.
turnout The percentage of eligible voters who actually vote. Turnout is typically lower for midterm elections than a presidential election.
Bill of Rights
The Equal Access Act (1984)
think tank
political party
Middle East
Second Amendment Gives individuals the right to own guns.
Tenth Amendment Reserves power to the people (and to States) powers not given to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution.
judicial activism
U.S. Circuit Courts
the Cabinet The top officials of the various major departments in the Executive Branch who also serve as top advisers to the president.
separation of powers
sound bite
progressive tax
open primary
closed primary
executive order
executive branch
Electoral College
enumerated powers
gross domestic product
supply-side economics
gross domestic product
Tea Party a groundswell movement that began in early 2009 in opposition to excessive government spending
media The "media" include almost any means of communication and publicity: television, newspapers, radio, and the internet.
conference committee
pocket veto
free speech
three strikes and you're out This is a criminal justice system that imprisons people for most of their lives if they break the law in a significant way for the third time; this was implemented in California.
peace dividend The savings and extra money (the "dividend") that is available when there is peace compared with when there is expensive war.
Constitutional Convention
domino effect
ethnic voting
phone banking
Speaker of the House
Majority Leader