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US Politics Glossary

What's a "filibuster?" What's the role of a "superdelegate?" Here, we've compiled a glossary of important terms and concepts essential for understanding how U.S. politics works (or doesn't).

What is Treason?
A definition of treason in American politics.

Landslide Definition in Politics
Find out what a landslide election is in American politics. See examples of landslide elections in modern congressional and presidential elections. Learn what percentage margin constitutes a landslide election win.

What is a Filibuster?
Definition of a filibuster and how it has been used in the U.S. Senate, as well as famous filibustersn in Senate history and popular culture.

What is a Filibuster?
Definition of a filibuster and how it has been used in the U.S. Senate, as well as famous filibustersn in Senate history and popular culture.

The Republican Contract With America
The Contract with America was developed by the U.S. Republican Party during the 1994 Congressional election campaign, the first mid-term election of the Clinton Administration. It was signed by all but two incumbent Republican Representatives and all non-incumbent Republican Congressional candidates.

What Does It Mean To Be A Natural Born Citizen?
Only United States citizens have the right to vote and the right serve as an elected to the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives. But to run for President, you have to be a "natural born" citizen? What does that mean?

What Is The Emancipation Proclamation?
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. These orders did not end slavery; that happened on 18 December 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

A Guide To Political Terminology (aka Jargon)
Every profession has its own special language, and the profession of politics is no different. Check out this evolving glossary of political terminology.

Alternative Minimum Tax
Definition of the "Alternative Minimum Tax".

Appropriation
Definition of an "appropriation".

Coattail Effect, The
Definition of the "coattail effect".

Congressional Adjournment
Definition of "congressional adjournment."

Congressional Recess
Definition of a "congressional recess".

Earmark
Definition of "earmark".

First Amendment, The
Definition and text of the "First Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution.

Fourth Estate, The
Definition and role of "the fourth estate."

Green Card
Definition of the term "green card".

Greymail
Defines of the term "greymail".

Partisan
Definition of the term "partisan".

Presidential Line Item Veto
Definition of the "presidential line item veto".

Unfunded Mandates
Definition and issues surrounding "unfunded mandates".

Seniority System, The
Definition and role of the "seniority system" in Congress.

Veto
Definition and role of the "veto".

What is a Brokered Convention?
Find out what a brokered convention is in presidential politics. See why and when brokered conventions occurred. Learn why they are rare in modern history.

The Citizens United Ruling
Read about the Citizens United case against the Federal Election Commission. Find out what the legal arguments were in the landmark decision. Learn about the ruling's impact on campaign finance laws.

Operation Hilarity in Election 2012
Learn about Operation Hilarity in Election 2012. Find out who was behind the strategy. See how successful Operation Hilarity really was.

Blue Dog Democrat
Find out what a Blue Dog Democrat is. Read examples of Blue Dog Democrats in Congress. Learn how Blue Dog Democrats differ from ordinary Democrats.

11th Commandment Definition
Read a definition of the 11th commandment in Republican politics. Find out where the term originated. See how the term has been used and misused in campaigns.

Political Terms
Read a list of political terms and their definitions. Learn about U.S. politics and the phrases used to describe campaigns and politicians. Find out the roots and history of political terms.

Open Primary Definition
Find out what an open primary is in American politics. See how an open primary differs from other types of party nominating elections. Learn which states hold open primaries.

Cloture Definition
Read a definition of the cloture rule. Find out how the rule came into being in the U.S. Senate. Discover how often cloture is used.

What is Early Voting?
Read a definition of early voting in American politics. Find out how early voting works. See a list of states that allow voters to cast their ballots before Election Day.

What is an October Surprise?
Read a definition of the October Surprise in American politics. Find out where the term October Surprise originated. Discover modern examples of the October Surprise.

Fiscal Cliff Origin
Learn about the fiscal cliff origin. Find out why Congress intentionally designed the fiscal cliff. Find out what role leaders played in the fiscal cliff origin.

Are You a Swing Voter?
Swing voter definition

What is a Swing State?
Definition of Swing State in Presidential Elections.

Executive Actions Versus Executive Orders
This is a definition of an executive action issue by the president of the United States.

The Hastert Rule
Explanation of the Hastert Rule used by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives

What's the Gephardt Rule?
Read a definition of the Gephardt Rule in federal budget-making.

What is Opposition Research?
Read a definition of opposition research.

Why Waffling Gets a Bad Rap in Politics
Here's a definition of waffling and an explanation of why it's not such a bad thing.

What is a Wave Election?
Read about wave elections in American politics.

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