What is the coattail effect in politics

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WASHINGTON - (AD) - We publish below a glossary of current and historical terms used in the US presidential election.

Buckley ./. Valeo: A landmark 1976 Supreme Court decision on the Campaign Funding Act. This decision confirmed the disclosure requirements, upper limits for donations and the determination of the public funding of presidential election campaigns stipulated in the Federal Election Campaign Act. However, the court put down the spending caps provided by the law, with the exception of those voluntarily accepted by the presidential candidates who receive public funds. The decision allowed candidates for congressional elections unlimited spending (they do not receive any public money), as well as people or groups fighting for or against a candidate but not coordinating their activities with a candidate or an election campaign. The decision also stated that candidates who do not receive public funding will not have a cap on how much their own personal resources can spend on campaigning.

Caucus - internal party election meeting: A gathering, especially of people whose goal is political or organizational change. In the US presidential campaign, this is a meeting of local political activists from each party during the presidential nomination process. In a "tiered system" of party meetings, local party activists working at the constituency level select delegates for county level meetings, who in turn select delegates for state level meetings. At these state party conferences, the delegates are selected for the federal party conference. The purpose of this system of party meetings is to indicate, through the election of delegates, which candidate the party members of each state prefer. This is intended to make the nomination of the presidential candidates more democratic, as the preferred candidates are essentially determined at the beginning of the entire process at constituency level.

Coattail effect - suction effect: An allusion to the "skirt tails" of a frock coat. In American politics, it is understood to mean the ability of a popular incumbent or candidate for office to increase the chances of other candidates from the same party winning the election based on his own popularity. It is said that this candidate wears others "on his skirts" to victory.

Conservative - Conservative: In American politics, the term refers to any political opinion from moderate right of center to decidedly right of center. Of the two major parties in the United States, the Republican is generally considered to be the more conservative. “Political” Conservatives in the United States usually support free markets and low taxes, and are suspicious of the power of the federal government, but not so much that of the state and local authorities. “Cultural” conservatives may oppose abortion or the excesses of the public media.

Contract with America: A legislative agenda signed by 367 Republican candidates for Congress before the November 1994 election. The treaty contained ten bills; Republicans pledged to discuss them during the first 100 days of the January 1995 parliamentary term and to put them to a vote in the House of Representatives. They reached their destination.

Convention bounce - popularity increase due to the party convention:An increase in the popularity of a presidential candidate - evident from public opinion polls - in the days immediately following his nomination for office at the Federal Republican or Democratic Party.

Debate - Debate: A discussion involving two or more parties who have opposing views on a particular topic. In the past few years, the debates have been televised frequently in the United States. In doing so, all candidates for the presidency or vice-presidency express their own and the party's views in response to questions from the media or the public. Debates can also be held on the radio or in a community center and for election to office at all levels of government .

Divided government: The term usually refers to a situation where the president is a member of a political party and at least one chamber of Congress (either the Senate or the House of Representatives) is controlled by the opposition party. This situation can also exist at the state level, with one party controlling the governor's office and another controlling the state legislature. There is often a divided government in the United States' political system. Historically, this has the effect of discouraging radical changes and motivating politicians from both parties to compromise on bills.

Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA): The 1971 law regulates the funding of federal election campaigns; it was changed in 1974, 1976 and 1979. The law requires candidates and political committees to disclose their sources of funds and expenses; it regulates the donations received and the expenditures made during the federal election campaign; and it regulates the public funding of presidential campaigns.

Federal Election Commission (FEC): An independent control authority charged with interpreting and implementing the law on the financing of federal election campaigns. The FEC was founded in 1974 by an amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

Front-loading - front loader: This is the practice of holding state party conferences and state elections earlier and earlier than the general election. By setting the primaries early, the states are hoping to give one or two presidential candidates a decisive boost and thereby exert a disproportionate influence on each party's nomination.

Front-runner - front runner: A candidate in an election or nomination process who is considered the most popular or likely winner.

Gender gap - gender-specific choice: In recent elections, American women often voted differently from men, often choosing Democratic or Liberal candidates over Republican candidates. The press refers to this phenomenon as "gender choice".

Hard money / soft money: These terms are used to distinguish between campaign funds that either fall under the Federal Election Campaign Funding Act or not. Hard money is regulated by law and can be used to influence the outcome of federal elections - that is, to promote the election of certain candidates. Soft money is not governed by the law and can only be spent on activities that do not affect the election of candidates for federal office - that is, things like campaigning for voter registration, party building activities, administrative costs, and supporting candidates at the state level and in the municipalities.

Horse race: Used to describe an election campaign, the term “horse racing” conveys a sense of tension that one experiences at a sporting event. The term also refers to the media coverage of the election campaigns, which often highlight the candidates 'standing in public opinion polls - as if they were horses in a race - rather than the candidates' views on the election manifesto.

Liberal - Liberals: On the political spectrum of the United States, the "liberals" are slightly left of center or slightly left of center. Of the two major political parties, Democrats are viewed as more liberal by the current definition of the term. “Political” liberals are often in favor of greater power for the federal government to remedy alleged social injustices; "Culturally" liberals are in support of the woman's right to choose when to have a child, as well as feminism, homosexual rights and similar freedoms of personal choice and lifestyle.

Matching funds - grants: Public funds that are made available to the candidates in the amount that they have already raised privately from individual donations. During the primaries, potential candidates can receive up to $ 250 in grants for each individual amount.

Midterm election: An election for seats in the US Senate and House of Representatives that takes place during a president's tenure - that is, halfway through the president's four-year term. The results are sometimes interpreted as a public referendum on the president's performance in the first two years of his term in office. The midterm elections decide on some members of the American Senate and all members of the House of Representatives, as well as numerous government representatives from the states and local authorities.

Negative ads - negative commercials: Commercials designed to convince voters to vote for a candidate by making the opponent look bad - either by attacking their character or by attacking statements about the election platform.

Platform - election program: In the context of the US presidential election, this term refers to the official written statements made by a political party about its principles and objectives, which are compiled and distributed during the presidential nomination process. While Democratic and Republican presidential candidates usually pay lip service to their party's electoral program, these lofty, legalistic documents have lost ground in recent years as television focuses more on the candidates' appearances, personalities and potential leadership.

Plurality rule - relative majority: A method of identifying the winning candidate in an election. A majority of votes is the total number of votes a candidate has won, which is greater than that of an opponent, but often less than 50 percent of the vote. This means that if one candidate receives 30 percent of the vote, a second also receives 30 percent and a third 40 percent, the third candidate has the majority of the votes and wins the election.

Political Action Committee (PAC) - Political Action Committee: These are political committees that are not the official committees of a candidate or a political party. PACs can be affiliated with companies, unions, or other organizations, provide funding to candidates, and conduct other election-related activities. Most PACs have specific legislative agendas and are a dominant force in congressional elections. The PACs have increased their influence and number considerably in recent years: there were 608 PACs in 1976 and over 4,000 in 1996.

Primary - area code: An election event in which the candidate of each political party is determined for a specific public office. Primary elections can be held at all levels of government. These include local mayoral elections, district elections for the House of Representatives, state-level gubernatorial or Senate elections, and the election of the President of the United States. In the case of “closed” primaries, only registered members of a party can vote. In the case of “open” primary elections, voters from one party (transferring party) can vote in the primary of another party.

Presidential primaries are held at the state level to determine which state residents prefer to join the party. Depending on state law, voters can vote directly for their preferred presidential candidate or for delegates who have “pledged” to support that presidential candidate at the party convention. If done early enough in the political season, state primaries can occasionally hold up leading presidential candidates and generate a surge of support for a lesser-known candidate.

Protest vote - Protest voters: A vote for a third party candidate, cast not to elect that candidate but to express dissatisfaction with the candidates of the other two major political parties.

Public funding: Partial funding of the presidential campaign from a US Treasury fund. The money in the fund comes solely from voluntary contributions from American taxpayers, which they pay along with their annual income tax. (See also "Taxpayer Contribution".)

Push polling - push questions: An opinion polling method used to test potential campaign topics by asking very specific questions about a topic or candidate. In some unscrupulous election campaigns, this method has been used to "push" voters away from opponents with false or misleading information on the issues.

Redistricting - constituency redesign: The process of redrawing the geographic boundaries of Congressional constituencies - the constituencies in the states from which members of the House of Representatives are elected. Both Democrats and Republicans compete at the state level over the legal and political mechanisms of constituency reform - mostly by controlling the state legislature. This allows them to redraw the boundaries of congressional electoral districts in a way that gives them advantages for the election of their own party.

Regionalization: The 50 United States is unofficially divided into roughly six regions, whose states share certain geographic and cultural characteristics that distinguish them from the rest of the world. During the pre-election season of the presidential election, “regionalization” refers to the practice of states partnering with other states in their region to maximize that region's influence in the elections. Often this is done by holding the primaries in that region on the same day.

Single-member-district - district with one deputy: The current electoral system for national and state MPs in the United States, according to which a candidate is elected in each district; The winner is the candidate with the most votes. After the "single-member"System can only win one party in a district. This is in direct contrast to the more common proportional representation system, in which the districts are much larger and multiple MPs are elected at the same time - based on their party's share of the vote.

Sound bite - Keyword: A brief, easily quotable statement from a candidate for office that is repeated on radio and television news programs.

Spin doctor / spin - media consultant: A media or political advisor hired by a campaign team to ensure that the candidate receives the best possible exposure in any situation. For example, the "spin doctors" approach the journalists after every debate between presidential candidates to highlight their candidate's strengths in the debate and to convince the press - and thus the public - that their candidate has "won" the debate. When these media consultants are doing their art, they are said to be “spinning” a situation or event.

Super Tuesday - Super Tuesday: The term “Super Tuesday” has been used widely since 1988. On March 9, 1988, a group of Southerners jointly held large and impactful regional primaries together for the first time to increase the importance of the Southern states in the presidential nomination process and to reduce the impact of the initial votes in the New Hampshire primaries and Iowa electoral meetings.

In the colloquial language, the term is no longer clearly used - it reflects the fact that several primaries during the presidential election season in states of different regions fall on one or more Tuesdays. These regional groupings, or groupings of multiple regions, are important regardless of what they are called because the weight of so many concurrent votes can mean the possible success or failure of a candidate because so many congress delegates are elected at the same time.

During the upcoming US presidential election, many states (including California and New York) will have primaries on March 7th, a week before the date usually associated with Super Tuesday.

Taxpayer checkoff system - taxpayer contribution: A system whereby United States taxpayers can choose to donate $ 3 of their income tax to a public fund to fund the presidential election. To make this contribution and participate in the system, taxpayers simply tick a box on their tax return. This contribution does not increase or decrease the tax payable; only $ 3 of that payment will be allocated to the Presidential Campaign Fund. (See public funding.)

Third party - third party: Any political party that is not one of the parties that dominated American politics in the twentieth century - the Republican and Democratic parties - has grassroots support and influence over the outcome of the elections.

Ticket splitting: Giving votes to candidates from different political parties in the same election - for example, a Democratic President and a Republican Senator. Because one does not elect all candidates of a party, one speaks of “splitting” the votes.

Town meeting: An informal meeting of an incumbent or candidate for office with a group, often local, where the audience asks questions directly to the incumbent or candidate.

Tracking survey - repeat surveys: A type of opinion poll that can be used to track voter opinion during the course of an election campaign. In the original survey, the same number of voters were interviewed on three consecutive evenings - for example 400 voters per evening, for a total of 1,200 surveys. On the fourth evening, the pollster interviewed 400 other voters, added their answers to the data obtained and ignored the answers from the first evening. Continuing in this way results in a rolling sample of a constant 1,200 responses from the previous three evenings. Over time, campaign organizers can review data from the entire survey and assess the impact of certain events on voter behavior.

Original text: Political Lexicon

Of America Service | April 11, 2000 | Categories: America Service

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