Listening to the news and hearing people talk about the upcoming presidential election, I often have no idea what everybody is talking about. Translate please! I thought that writing a glossary would help people like me, who don’t fully understand all the political talk, start to understand what everybody is saying. It’s important for teens to tune in to politics because many of us can vote or will be able to soon and we should know what is going on in our country, especially when a lot of the decisions, like education and healthcare, affect us.
Democrat – A Democrat supports the Democratic Party, one of the two main political parties in the U.S. A Democrat usually is liberal and supports programs that promote social equality like government healthcare, welfare and more money for education.
Republican – A Republican supports the Republican Party, the other main political party. They tend to be conservative and support a strong national defense and believe that individuals have the right to bear arms. Republicans believe that taxes should be used for only essential functions of the nation, such as national security and basic infrastructure. They believe that the size of government should be smaller.
Independent – Someone who is not part of any political party.
Liberal – A liberal is someone who believes in progress. They are usually pro-choice (someone who believes abortion should be legal) and support gay marriage.
Conservative – A conservative believes in traditional values. For example, the majority of conservatives believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and they are pro-life (against abortion), views that usually come from religious beliefs.
Libertarian – A libertarian is someone who believes that the government should protect the people’s rights by letting them be individuals who can live without government interference. Their slogan is “Maximum Freedom, Minimum Government.”
Blue State – A Blue State is a state where the majority votes for the Democratic Party.
Red State – A Red State is a state where the majority votes for the Republican Party.
Partisan – One-sided toward a particular person, group, party or cause.
Bipartisan – When the two political parties (Democrat and Republican) cooperate or agree on a topic.
Nonpartisan – Not biased toward any political party.
Legislative – Has to do with making laws.
Congress – The body that makes federal laws. U.S. legislators (senators and representatives) are elected by the people of the state they are representing.
Filibuster – A filibuster is a very long speech made by a member of the Senate to delay a vote on a proposal.
Consensus – Consensus is when people all basically agree.
Primary Election – The primary election decides who will be the candidate from each party to advance to the general election. Presidential primary elections are held on different days in different states. The term “Super Tuesday” is used to describe a day when a lot of states hold their presidential primary elections.
General Election – The general election is when members of the political bodies are chosen, typically held in November.
Electoral College – A group of electors representing by each state who actually elect the president and the vice president.
Political Party – A political party is an organization with a specific viewpoint that is trying to get power in the government.
Proposition – A proposition is a proposal that the government or a citizen wants people to vote on. They do so by collecting enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.