Flashcards in Chapter 1 Understanding American Politics Deck (18):
The system for implementing decisions made through the political process.
groups of like-minded people who try to influence the government. American government is set up to avoid domination by any one of these groups.
Separation of powers
The division of government power across the judicial, executive, and legislative branch.
Checks and balances
A system in which each branch of government has some power over the others.
the division of power across the local, state, and national levels of government
services or actions that once provided to one person become available to everyone. Government is typically needed to provide public goods because they will be under provided by the free market.
Collective Action problems
Situations in which the members of a group would benefit by working together to produce some outcome, but each individual is better off refusing to cooperate and reaping benefits from those who do the work
Free rider problem
the incentive to benefit from others' work without making a contribution, which leads individuals in a collective action situation to refuse to work together.
the process that determines what government does.
Three key ideas for understanding politics
1. Politics is conflictual
2. Political process matters
3. Politics is everywhere
an economic system based on competition among businesses without government intervention
Re distributive tax policies
politics, generally favored by democratic politicians that use taxation to attempt to create social equality (higher taxation of the rich to provide programs for the poor).
political conflicts in the US between red state Americans who tend to have strong religious beliefs and blue state americans who tend to be more secular.
government by the people. in most contexts,this means representative democracy in which the people elect leaders to enact policies. democracies must have fair elections with at least two options.
political freedom such as freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion. these and other legal and due process rights protecting individuals from government control are outlined in the bill of rights of the US constitution.
means equality before the law, political equality (one person, one vote) and equality of opportunities (the equal chance for everyone to realize their potential) but not material equality (equal income and wealth).
one side of political spectrum defined by support for lower taxes, a free market, and a more limited government, generally republicans