Unit 3: chapters 7, 8, 11 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Unit 3: chapters 7, 8, 11 Deck (59):


as opposed to the traditional "broadcasting," the appeal to a narrow, particular audience by channels such as espn, mtv, and c-span, which focus on a narrow particular interest.


print media

newspapers and magazines, as compared with broadcast media.


high tech politics

a politics in which the behavior of citizens and policymakers and the political agenda itself are increasingly shaped by technology.


mass media

television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and other means of popular communication. they are a key part of high-tech politics.


press conferences

meetings of public officials with reporters.


investigative journalism

the use of in-depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams, and schemes, which at times puts reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders.


broadcast media

television and radio, as compared with print media.


(newspaper) chains

newspapers published by massive media conglomerates that account for almost 3/4 of the nation's daily circulation. often these chains control broadcast media as well.



specific locations from which news frequently emanates, such as congress or the white house. most too reporters work a particular beat, thereby becoming specialists in what goes on at that location.


trial balloons

an intentional news leak for the purpose of assessing the political reaction.


talking head

a shot of a person's face talking directly to the camera. because this is visually unappealing, the major commercial networks rarely show a politician talking one-on-one for very long.


policy agenda

the issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time.


sound bites

short video clips of approximately 15 seconds, which are typically all that is shown from a politician's speech or activities on television news.


policy entrepreneurs

people who invest their political "capital" in an issue. according to john kingdon, a policy entrepreneur "could be in our out of government, in elected or appointed positions, in interest groups or research organizations."


responsible party model

a view favored by some political scientists about how parties should work. according to the model, parties should offer clear choices to the voters, who can then use those choices as cues to their own preferences of candidates. once in office, parties would carry out their campaign promises.


coalition government

when two or more parties join together to form a majority in a national legislature. this form of government is quite common in the multiparty systems of europe.


winner-take-all system

an electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded only to the candidates who come in first in their constituencies. in american presidential elections, the system in which the winner of the popular vote in a state receives all the electoral votes of the state.



a group of individuals with a common interest upon which every political party depends.


national chairperson

one of the institutions that keeps the party operating between conventions. the national chairperson is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the party and is usually selected by the presidential nominee.


national committee

one of the institutions that keeps the party operating between conventions. the national committee is composed of representatives from the states and territories.


blanket primaries

elections to select party nominees in which voters are presented with a list of candidates from all the parties. voters can then select some democrats and some republicans if they like.


party machines

a type of political party organization that relies heavily on material inducements, such as patronage, to win votes and to govern.


political party

according to anthony downs, a "team of men [and women] seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election."


party image

the voter's perception of what the republicans or democrats stand for, such as conservatism or liberalism.


new deal coalition

a coalition forged by the democrats, who dominated american politics from the 1930s to the 1960s. its basic elements were the urban working class, ethnic groups, catholics and jews, the poor, southerners, african americans, intellectuals.


critical election

an electoral "earthquake" whereby new issues emerge, new coalitions replace old ones, and the majority party is often displaced by the minority party. critical election periods are sometimes marked by a national crisis and may require more than one election to bring about a new party era.


party eras

historical periods in which a majority of voters cling to the party in power, which tends to win a majority of the elections.


party competition

the battle of the parties for control of public offices. ups and downs of the major parties are one of the most important elements in american politics.


party identification

a citizen's self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other.


ticket splitting

voting with one party for one office and with another party other offices. it has become the norm in american voting behavior.


open primaries

elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on election day whether they want to participate in the democratic or republican contests.


closed primaries

elections to select party nominees in which only people who have registered in advance with the party can vote for that party's candidates, thus encouraging greater party loyalty.


party dealignment

the gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in part by shrinking party identification.


third parties

electoral contenders other than the two major parties. american third parties are not unusual, but they rarely win elections.


proportional representations

an electoral system used throughout most of europe that awards legislative seats to political parties in proportion to the number of votes won in an election.



one of the key inducements used by political machines. a patronage job, promotion, or contrast is one that is given for political reasons rather than for merit or competence alone.


linkage institutions

the channels or access points through which issues and people's policy preferences get on government's policy agenda. in the united states, elections, political parties, interest groups, and the mass media are the four main linkage institutions.


rational-choice theory

a popular theory in political science to explain the actions of voters as well as politicians. it assumes that individuals act in their own best interest, carefully weighing the costs and benefits of possible alternatives.


national convention

the meeting of party delegates every four years to choose a presidential ticket and write the party's platform.


amicus curiae briefs

legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" for the purpose of raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties. these briefs attempt to influence a court's decision.


right-to-work laws

a state law forbidding requirements that workers must join a union to hold their jobs. state right-to-work laws were specifically permitted by the taft-hartley act of 1947.


class action lawsuits

lawsuits permitting a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly situated.


union shop

a provision found in some collective bargaining agreements requiring all employees of a business to join the union within a short period, usually 30 days, and to remain members as a condition of employment.


free-rider problem

the problem faced by unions and other groups when people do not join because they can benefit from the group's activities without officially joining. the bigger the group, the more serious the free-rider problem.



direct group involvement in the electoral process. groups can help fund campaigns, provide testimony, and get members to work for candidates, and some form political action committees (pacs).


selective benefits

goods, (such as information publications, travel discounts, and group insurance rates), that a group can restrict to those who pay their yearly dues.


olson's law of large groups

advanced by mancur olson, s principle stating that "the larger the group, the further it will fall short of providing an optimal amount of a collective good."


collective good

something of value (money, a tax write-off, prestige, clean air, and so on) that cannot be withheld from a group member.



a network of groups within the US political system which exercise a great deal of control over specific policy areas. aka: iron triangles, subgovernments are composed of interest group leaders interested in a particular policy, the gov agency in charge of administering that policy, and the members of congressional committees and subcommittees handling that policy.


potential group

all the people who might be interest group members because they share some common interest. a potential group is almost always larger than an actual group.


actual group

the part of the potential group consisting of members who actually join.


single-issue group

groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics. these features distinguish them from traditional interest groups.


hyperpluralist theory

a theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened. hyperpluralism is an extreme, exaggerated, or perverted form of pluralism.


elite theory

a theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.


pluralist theory

a theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies.


interest group

an organization of people with shared policy goals entering the policy process at several points to try to achieve those goals. interest groups pursue their goals in many arenas.


political action committees (pacs)

funding vehicles created by the 1974 campaign finance reforms. a corporation, union, or some other interest group can create a pac and register it with the federal election commission (fec), which will meticulously monitor the pac's expenditures.



according to lester milbrath, a "communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on his/her own behalf, directed to a governmental decision-maker with the hope of influencing his/her decision."


public interest lobbies

according to jeffrey berry, organizations that seek "a collective good, the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the membership or activities of the organization."