AP Government Study Guide 2 Flashcards

Terms Definitions
liberalism
political ideology (political belief system) that typically favors (preference for) freedom over order and equality over economic freedom
gerrymandering
the practice of drawing congressional district lines to favor the party of group in power; may result in odd-shaped districts.
policymaking institutions
those intitutions (congress, the president, the courts, the bureaucracy)that are responsible for making public policy in the American political system
exclusionary rule
illegally obtained (police not following established rules) evidence cannot be used in court against a criminal defendant; interpretation of the 4th Amendment’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures that protects against illegal searches.
deficit
when government revenues (taxes) fall short of government expenditures (spending) in a given year; since the 1930s, with few exceptions after the 1960s, the national government typically runs a deficit in its budget.
cabinet
informal advisory body to presidents consisting of the heads of the cabinet departments and others the president chooses; has less influence today than in the past due to centralization of authority in the White House staff and divided loyalties of cabinet members.
soft money
unregulated (not subject to contribution limits) money donated to political parties to support party building efforts (voter registration drives, get out the vote drives, generic party advertising, etc., ) at the local (grassroots) level; became a loophole for large sums of money to be donated to the parties that directly or indirectly supported the party’s presidential candidate, thus skirting the existing campaign laws; banned by McCain-Feingold bill in 2003.
entitlements
mandatory spending; policies for which Congress has obligated itself to provide benefits to certain individuals because they meet the qualifications of the law; ex. Social Security, Medicare, veteran’s benefits, etc.; spending that is considered uncontrollable because the obligation is to anyone who meets the qualifications.
lobbying
communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on his own behalf, directed to a governmental decisionmaker with the hope of influencing the decision; efforts exerted by special interest groups such as testifying at committee hearings, contacting government officials, etc., to influence policy decisionmaking.
Madisonian Model
plan for government designed by Madison to keep as much power as possible out of the hands of the people (to prevent majority factions from taking over government) by a system of checks and balances; the only part of government directly elected by the people in the orginal plan was the House of Rep.
frontloading
the current trend of states moving their presidential primary or caucus to the beginning of the campaign season to ensure a say in the nomination process; this has resulted in the presidential nomination becoming a “done deal” typically by the first week in March due to a candidate earning a majority of “pledged” delegates earlier in the season than in the past.
political action committees
political action committees; the financial arms of special interest groups formed to raise and channel campaign funds to favored candidates in federal elections.
ticket splitting
voting for candidates of different parties on the same ballot; opposite of straight ticket voting in which a voter votes only for members of one party; the trend in American politics is toward increased ticket splitting – voting for a President of one party and a congressman or Senator of another party.
political appointees
bureaucrats who head the various agencies, departments and commissions of the executive branch (bureaucracy) who are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate; typically transient as they come and go with the Presidents who appointed them.
filibuster
‘talking a bill to death” – occurs only in the Senate and is used by a minority to stall a vote to kill a bill; usually successful at the end of a session.
white house staff
the president’s closest aides and advisors; the most loyal group to the president in the executive branch; area of great influence due to centralization of power in recent years.
divided government
one party controls the Presidency and the other party controls the Congress; a frequent election pattern since the 1960s.
pluralist theory
belief that many groups competing for power express the public will; a theory of group competition that emphasizes multiple access points and a positive view of group competition
imperial Congress viewpoint
view that congressional attempts to reassert its authority placed too many limits on presidential power and upset the balance of power; typically associated with the 1970s and 1980s.
policy agenda
those issues that are recieving the serious attention of policymakers
amicus curiae briefs
written arguments submitted to the court by groups or individuals other than the parties to a case; a means by which special interest groups seek to influence court decisions favorable to their policy interests.
open primary
a party nominating election in which only registered party members may participate in the voting; encourages party loyalty; In presidential primaries, the election is used as part of the process to determine pledged delegates to the party’s national convention.
selective incorporation
the process of the Supreme Court applying selected rights/freedoms in the Bill of Rights to the states through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment on a case by case basis. Via incorporation, states, as well as the national government, are limited by selected provisions of the Bill of Rights.
establishment clause
clause in the First Amendment that states that Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion” – strictly interpreted it was intended to restrict Congress from establishing a national religion. Has been interpreted to mean there should be a separation between church and state.
Connecticut Compromise
the major compromise made at the Contitutional Convention that combined the Virginia (rep. based on population) and the New Jersey (= rep. of the states) plans to create a bicameral Congress consisting of a Senate with two Senators per state and a House of Representatives based on population.
dual federalism
the division of powers between the national governments is distinct and clear--like a layer cake; each level of government is relatively supreme within its own shpere of power; requires a narrow interpretation of the national government's powers
rule of four
requirement that four justices must agree before the Supreme Court will accept a case for review.
judicial self-restraint
when judges seek to avoid overturning decisions made by the other branches of government unless the Constitution directly forbids the action; therefore, reducing the policymaking role of the judges.
judicial activism
when judges use their ability to interpret the law to override legislation or decisions of the other policy-making branches and, thus, make policy through their decisions.
party dealignment
a movement away from parties and toward increased independence that has been a frequent election trend since the 1960s. Instead of voter groups switching allegiance from one party to another (realignment); voter groups have become more independent resulting in more split-ticket voting and contributing to divided government.
impeach
to accuse; the power to impeach a president or federal judge is held by the House of Representatives. It does not mean to remove from office which can only occur if the Senate tries the official on the impeachment charges and votes to remove them by a 2/3rds vote.
media event
a staged political event to obtain free media coverage or to provide a positive image to the public via the media.
War Powers Resolution
1973 act in which Congress attempted to reassert its authority in war-making by limiting the president’s ability to deploy troops to 60-90 days (unless Congress approves otherwise) and requiring that Congress be informed of a troop deployment within 48 hours.
free exercise clause
clause in the First Amendment that prevents Congress from passing laws that restrict the “free exercise of religion;” it was intended to guarantee freedom of religion.
minority majority
a demographic trend in which the sum of all minority groups will be the majority in the population, replacing whites as the majority group;
judicial review
the power of the courts to determine the contitutionality of government actions (declare laws or presidential actions unconstitutional in cases before them); resulted fromt he case of Marbury v. Madison, 1803
checks and balances
a princible of the Constitution that seeks the balance of power between the various branches of government by giving each branch the ability to check the power of the other branches.
categorical grant
federal grant that can be used only for specific purposes, or “categories,” of state and local spending; come with strings attached – federal guidelines for the use of the money and typically shared costs and administration.
cloture
a procedural vote in the Senate to end a debate (a filibuster) and proceed with a vote; requires a supermajority of 60 senators (3/5ths).
politics
who gets what, when, and how in the political process
winner-take-all system
system in which the candidate who gets the most votes wins the election; typically applies to the method in 48 states of the presidential candidate who wins the state’s popular vote gets all of his party’s electors elected; through party loyalty that typically ensures that he will receive all the state’s electoral votes
What are the major functions performed by the mass media in our society?
Entertainment, reporting news, identifying public problems, socializing new generations, providing a public forum, and making profits.
Ways and Means Committee
tax committee in the House of Representatives; because all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House, this is a powerful committee in the House.
franking privilege
free use of the mail by members of Congress for official business at taxpayers’ expense; sometimes used to send credit-claiming newsletters to constituents.
political party
a team of men and women seeking to control government through the winning of elections; American political parties are very fragmented and decentralized thus the team part of the definition is somewhat misleading as party members do not always agree on the issues.
original jurisdiction
the right of a court to hear a case for the first time – before any other court. The original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is set by the Constitution.
How has the media evolved from the colonial period to the modern electronic media?
George Washington favored managed news. The development of high-speed rotary press and telegraph helped development of mass-readership newspapers. Yellow journalism came about then finally electronic media like television. Now there is satellite tv, cable, and internet.
horse race journalism
the focus in the news media on who is ahead or who is behind in a campaign (expectation’s game) rather than the substance of the issues; emphasis no reporting of poll results or outcomes of primaries.
line item veto
the power to veto parts of a bill and sign the remainder into law; presidents DO NOT have this power that most state governor’s do have.
What is the relationship between the First Amendment protection of freedom of the press and the government's regulation of the media?
The First Amendment did not mention electronic media. The FCC regulates radio, tv, wire, and cable. Telecommunications Act passed to end rule that businesses in the TV industry can't enter other communication markets.
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