Political Parties, Interest Groups, PACs, and 527 Groups Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Political Parties, Interest Groups, PACs, and 527 Groups Deck (47):

Political Parties

Organizations that try to influence the outcomes of elections and legislative struggles by obtaining some political office


Two-Party/Bipartisan System

Two major parties are within the U.S.: Democrats and Republicans and are reinforced by the Electoral College


Party Characteristics

Important Facts:
-Server as intermediaries between the people and the government
-Made up of grassroots members, activists members, and leadership
-Organized to raise money, present positions on policy, and get candidates elected to office
-Created outside of the Constitution (Founding Fathers prayed that they wouldn't appear in the U.S. and even Washington warned the country about them in his Farewell Address)


Primary Elections

State-run elections that are designed for parties to select candidates for offices


Third Parties

Parties that arise and are not one of the two major political parties


Splinter/Bolter Party

Third Party that forms when the third party feels that their goals are not being met within the original party and therefore they leave and create their own party


Doctrinal Party

Third Party that rejects he prevailing attitudes and policies of the political system


Single-Issue Party

Third Party that forms to promote a single issue or principle


Independent Candidates

Candidates that run for office without political affiliation (Very difficult for these candidates to beat political parties)


Failure of Third Parties

Third Parties fail because the Electoral College is based on a winner-take-all system rather than a majority vote; therefore, third parties are less likely to win because the two major parties are more likely to get a plurality vote and take office


Major Subdivisions of Political Parties

Three Subdivisions:
-Party among the electorate (Voters)
-Party in Government (Elected Officials)
-Party Organization (Those who promote the Party and try to recruit members and voters)


Functions of Political Parties

Six Functions:
-Recruit and Nominate Candidates
-Educate and Mobilize Voters
-Provide Campaign Funds and Support
-Organize Government Activity
-Provide Balance Through Opposition of Two Parties
-Reduce Conflict and Tension in Society


National Convention

Meeting of the national party to elect a presidential candidate (Occurs every four years)


Split Ticket

Voting for a Presidential candidate of one party and legislators of another party (Becoming more and more common)


Party Dealignment

Tendency of voters to not align with their political party as they once did (Causes more people to vote independent and shows a decrease in the desire to affiliate with the two major parties)



Groups of voters that are attracted to the political party


Modern Republican Coalition

In 2008/2012 Elections the coalition consisted of:
-Veterans' Groups and Military Supporters
-Religious Conservatives
-Opponents of Gay Marriage
-Opponents of Affirmative Action
-Supporters of the Development of Natural Resources on Public Lands
-Rural Dwellers


Modern Democratic Coalition

In 2008/2012 Elections the coalition consisted of:
-Disaffected Moderate Republicans
-African and Hispanic Americans
-Member and Supporters of Labor Unions
-Gay Rights Supporters
-People with Lower Incomes
-City Dwellers


Party Bases

Ideological groups that tend to vote for one party or the other (Liberals currently vote Democrat and Conservatives vote Republican)


Democratic Party Base

Democrats Tend To Be:
-Less Disposed to:
a.Spend on Defense
b.To use vouchers, or other public funds, to let students attend private schools
-More Disposed to:
a.Spend money to advance social-welfare programs
b.Use government money for public education
c.Spend money on government run health insurance programs
d.Grant tax relief to targeted groups such as the lower and middle classes
a.Private ownership of assault weapons and for broader regulations on the ownership of firearms


Republican Party Base

Republicans Tend To Be:
-More Disposed to:
a.Spend on defense
b.Use vouchers for private schools and to give government aid to parochial schools
c.Grant tax relief to everyone, especially the wealthy and corporations
-Less Disposed to:
a.Spend money on social-welfare programs
b.Spend money on government-run health insurance programs
c.Regulate Firearms


Party Realignment

Occurs when the coalitions making up the two parties fall apart (Very rare and occurs after Critical Elections)


Critical Election

When a new party dominates politics (Usually triggered by some traumatic event in the political or economic world)


Interest Groups

Organizations dedicated to a particular political goal or to a set of unified goals and differ from political parties because they do not nominate candidates but try to influence politics in the direction of their goals (Can be religious, racial, or professional and can share a common goal, such as the environment or political reform)


Christian Coalition

Religious Interest Group


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Racial Interest Group


American Medical Association

Professional Interest Group


Sierra Club

Interest Group that is pro-environment


Common Cause

Interest Group that is pro-political reform



When interest groups try to influence legislators on a single bill or issue


Economic Interest Groups

Formed to promote and protect members' economic interests (Things like the AFL-CIO and American Bar Association fall in this category)


Public Interest Groups

Are nonprofit organizations that are generally organized around a well-defined set of public issues (Sierra Club, Christian Coalition)


Ralph Nader

Leader of Public Citizen, which promotes safer products and informative labeling for consumer goods


National Rifle Association & National Right To Life Committee

Powerful single-issue groups because they have a very high intensity of supporters


Government Interest Groups

Interest Groups that support a single person in the government, such as the state governor or a city mayor (Located in the area in which they support their political leader)


How Interest Groups Influence Government

Interest Groups Influence Government by:
-Direct Lobbying
-Testifying Before Congress
-Political Donations
-Court Action
-Rallying Their Membership


Class Action Lawsuits

Used by interest groups to protect and advance their interests


Amicus Curiae Briefs

Interest Groups file these as a "friend of the court" in lawsuits in which they are not a party so that judges may consider their advice in respect to matters in law that directly affect that particular case


1946 Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act

Intended to allow the government to monitor lobbying activities by requiring lobbyists to register with the government and publicly disclose their salaries, expenses, and the nature of their activities to D.C. (Was repealed by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995)


Influence Peddling

The practice of using personal friendships and inside information to get political advantage


Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

Court Case ruling that limits former federal employees by preventing them from lobbying for five years after they leave the federal agency that employed them


Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

Court Case ruling that allows corporations to express support for political candidates in Congress and the White House and prevents [Super] PACs and 527 Groups from identifying with specific candidates (Got rid of restrictions that had prevented corporations from spending money on campaign ads before an election)


Political Action Committees (PACs)

Assist in raising funds towards a specific campaign (Can be corporations or interest groups)


Federal Election Campaign Act (1974)

Allows corporations, unions, and trade associations to form PACs in order to raise campaign funds; however, they must raise the money honestly (from employees and members) and cannot simply draw it from their own personal funds


Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold Act)

Further regulated campaign finance and PAC donations but was overturned by Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)


Super PACs

Unlimited PACs that are financed by the ultra-rich and because of disclosure laws affecting Super PACs it can be difficult to identify donors


527 Groups

A tax-exempt organization that promotes a political agenda, although they cannot advocate a specific candidate (Named after the section of a specific tax code that allows them)