EDUCATION

 
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Politictionary

This political dictionary gives you definitions for words commonly used in current political discussions.

 

BATTLEGROUND STATE

A battleground state, also known as a swing state, is a state that is not decisively Red or Blue. Politicians campaign heavily to these states in order to gain support of their party, especially in federal elections where the electoral vote from that state can make or break the presidency.

BIPARTISAN

If something is bipartisan, it is a collaborative effort between the major political parties. In a climate as polarized as the one today, true bipartisan actions on the federal level are rare.

BULLY PULPIT

A "Bully Pulpit" is any public office that allows its occupant the significant opportunity to speak and be heard on any issue, political or otherwise. It gives the occupant a great platform to advocate for their agenda.

CITIZENS UNITED

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was a Supreme Court Case regarding the relationship between free speech and campaign finance, leading to a landmark decision. The controversial outcome allowed corporations and outside organizations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.

CONSTITUENTS

Constituents, or members of a constituency, are the group of citizens who elect a certain representative to a legislative body. That public servant should always keep in mind the views and agendas of the constituency they represent.

GERRYMANDER

Gerrymandering is when a political party or group redraw the voting district lines of region. In doing that, the party's goal is to make each district in favor of their ideology, thereby ensuring a win from those districts in the next election. Manipulating the boundaries may give the gerrymandering group an unfair political advantage.

G.O.P.

This abbreviation stands for "Grand Old Party," a widely-used nickname for the Republican Party.

GRASSROOTS POLITICS

A grassroots movement is a political or economic movement originating from a smaller district, region, or community. Political action develops or arises from a local level, and a successful movement locally may even effect change at a national or international level.

GREENWASHING

Greenwashing is a term used to describe an organization or companies marking initiatives developed to deceptively convince the public that their aims, products, and policies are "green," or environmentally friendly.

LGBTQIA+

This abbreviation is the term used to describe the community of people who do not identify as straight or cisgendered. Sometimes it is described with more or less letters, but most often is seen with five or seven letters followed by a "+" to signify the inclusion of all people. The letters, in order, stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual. To learn more, visit the UC Davis LGBTQIA resource center glossary.

LOBBY

Lobby groups communicate with public servants in the executive or legislative branches in order to influence legislative and administrative actions by the government. The two primary types of lobbying are direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying.

MUDSLINGING

Originally used to describe the actions of reporters, Mudslinging now refers to the actions by anyone in the public eye (politicians especially) whose actions intend to damage the reputation of the opposition. Mudslinging administrations facilitate dirty campaigns.

PAC

A Political Action Committee is an organization that allows political fundraising while staying in line with limitations put on spending by the federal campaign finance law. Essentially, it's a place where any individual or corporation/business can donate money to be allocated to federal elections.

POLARIZATION

This is the stark division of groups by beliefs and opinions. Today, it is primarily used in referring to the American two-party political system with the contrasting Democrat and Republican parties.

PUBLIC SERVANT

This term is just political jargon for any elected official.

RED TAPE

"Red Tape" refers to excessive, unnecessary, or completely inflexible government regulations or formal standards that prevent relevant and forward-moving action and decision making. Essentially, red tape regulations may hinder the government's ability to effectively do its job.

SILENT MAJORITY

The silent majority is a large group of citizens with the same views, ideologies, or agendas yet do not publicly express it. They often have immense amounts of power in anonymous practices, such as elections.

SWING VOTE

A swing vote is a vote on an issue that will create the decisive outcome. Often, politicians who want to push their agenda or legislation forward will seek out those with the swing vote due to its importance in passing or failing policies.

SYSTEMIC

As it is often used in politics today (in phrases such as "systemic racism"), is an adjective used to describe something that is embedded in the very development, laws, government, etc. of a state, nation, or organization.

UBI

This stands for Universal Basic Income, a hot topic in today's political discussions. A UBI is a government program in which every citizen receives a certain amount of money at a set time. Some believe a UBI is the key to closing the class gap, and some believe it will fail under America's current economic system.