Key Terms

Key Terms:

Affirmative Action: A term referring to various government policies that aim to increase the proportion of African-Americans, women, and other minorities in jobs and educationalinstitutions historically dominated by white men. The policies usually require employers and institutions to set goals for hiring or admitting minorities.

Amnesty: a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction.

Bipartisan: Of or involving the agreement or cooperation of two political parties that usually oppose each other’s policies.

Democrat (liberal, left wing): The following is from democrats.org under ‘Our Party’

“Democrats believe that we’re greater together than we are on our own—that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules. Our party, led by President Obama, is focused on building an economy that lasts—an economy that lifts up all Americans.

That’s why Democrats are working to advance issues like job creation, education, health care, and clean energy—and you’ll find all the information you need on these important issues right here on Democrats.org.”

Electoral College: a body of electors chosen by the voters who formally elect the president and vice president.

FairTax: The FairTax is a proposed reform for the current tax plan. Under the FairTax, every person living in the United States pays a 23% national sales tax on purchases of new goods and services. This rate is equal to the lowest current income tax bracket (15%) combined with employee payroll taxes (7.65%), both of which will be eliminated.

Global Warming: Increase in worldwide temperature due to excess emissions of greenhouse gases. A few degrees rise in temperature, in theory, would cause rising sea levels, more extreme weather, and climate change around the world. The evidence of rising temperatures is undisputed; the political dispute centers on and whether it will change the climate and whether we can or should do something about it.

GOP candidate: “Grand Old Party” candidate. Republican.

Hate Crimes: Congress defines as a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim because of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation of that person.

Kyoto Protocol: The follow-up to the Climate Change Treaty which sets GHG (green house gas) reduction targets for the US and other developed countries. Completed in 1998, the US has not yet signed. This is politically controversial because it would require the US to cut CO2 emissions, which is potentially costly.

Medicaid: A federal system of health insurance for those requiring financial assistance.

Medicare: A federal system of health insurance for people over 65 years of age and for certain younger people with disabilities.

Primary: A primary election is the preliminary step in the process of electing a candidate running for office in the United States. A primary election is held in the U.S. to see who will receive the nomination from his or her political party during the convention.

Pro-choice: Describing abortion as a health issue or as a women’s rights issue.

Pro-life: Describing abortion as a moral issue or as an issue of balancing the mother’s rights with the fetus’ rights.

Republican (conservative, right wing): The following is from gop.com under ‘Our Party’

“Economy:We believe in the power and opportunity of America’s free-market economy. We believe in the importance of sensible business regulations that promote confidence in our economy among consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses alike. We oppose interventionist policies that put the federal government in control of industry and allow it to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.

National Defense: President Ronald Reagan’s approach to America’s national defense, which successfully confronted the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War, is as essential today as it was then: Peace through strength — an enduring peace, based on freedom and the will to defend it. Today, it requires defending America’s homeland, including remaining vigilant in confronting global terrorism, maintaining a robust defense against the threats arising from nuclear proliferation, including a strong ballistic missile defense for America and our allies, and promoting an effective, capable intelligence community. It requires a full commitment to America’s Armed Forces to ensure they are modern, agile and adaptable to the unpredictable range of challenges in the years ahead. And it requires a sustained international effort, which complements our military activities, to develop and maintain alliances and relationships that will lead to greater peace and stability. While the United States participates in various international organizations which can serve the cause of peace and posterity, they must never substitute for principled American leadership nor prevent America from joining other democracies to protect our vital national interests.

Health Care: We support common-sense reforms that will lower costs, ensure quality health care that Americans deserve, and end lawsuit abuse. We oppose government-run health care, which won’t protect the physician-patient relationship, won’t promote competition, and won’t promote health care quality and choice.

Education: We believe that maintaining a world-class system of primary and secondary education with high standards in which all students can reach their potential is critically important to America’s future. We believe parents should be empowered to send their children to the school of their choice.

Energy: We believe in energy independence. We support an “all of the above” approach that encourages the responsible production of nuclear power, clean coal, solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, as well as drilling for oil and natural gas in an environmentally responsible way. We oppose so-called cap and trade legislation that would impose a national energy tax on families and small business that would kill jobs and raise utility prices.

Courts: Republicans believe a judge’s role is to interpret the law, not make law from the bench. Judges in our federal court system, from district courts to the Supreme Court, should demonstrate fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. We trust the judicial system to base rulings on the law, and nothing else.”

Roe v. Wade: The essence of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is that Constitutional rights apply only after birth; hence abortion does not breach a person’s right to life. States cannot regulate 1st trimester abortions; states can regulate but not ban 2nd trimester abortions; and states can ban 3rd trimester abortions (as many have).

Social Security: A federal insurance program that provides benefits to retired persons, the unemployed, and the disabled. Employees and employers in the United States are required to pay Social Security taxes, and the money they pay goes into providing benefits for those currently eligible for Social Security.

Swing-states: A swing-state is an America state in which both candidates in a presidential election have a reasonable chance of winning because support is almost evenly divided. A lot of attention from the candidates and their campaigns is focused on swing-states during the election for that reason. The swing-states in the 2012 election are: Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

The Tea Party: The following is from teapartypatriots.org under ‘About’

The Tea Party movement spontaneously formed in 2009 from the reaction of the American people to fiscally irresponsible actions of the federal government, misguided “stimulus” spending, bailouts and takeovers of private industry. Within the first few weeks of the movement, Tea Party Patriots formed to support the millions of Americans seeking to improve our great nation through renewed support for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free market economic policies.

Tea Party Patriots is a national grassroots organization that exists to serve and support the thousands of local organizations and millions of grassroots Patriots throughout our nation. We provide logistical, educational, networking and other support to thousands of community-based tea party groups around the country. Tea Party Patriots state and national coordinators serve your local grassroots groups, support you with the tools and technology you need to address your local issues, listen to your voices, gather your ideas, and together help shape the overall direction of our national movement. Working in a truly grassroots fashion, we have already changed the political landscape of America.

Tea Party Patriots is 100% grassroots, 100% of the time.

Tea Party Patriots is made up of, and funded by, millions of regular Americans just like you, who believe there is a better way forward for America. We are a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization that does not support any political party nor do we endorse candidates.

War on Drugs: President Bush initiated the ‘War on Drugs’ in the late 1980s. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, directed by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, sets federal policy. The 1999 drug policy includes:

  • Expanding drug prevention and drug treatment;
  • Establishing ‘drug courts’ and fighting drug legalization;
  • Focusing on cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine;
  • Increasing border shielding.

Trust fund:  The Trust Fund is the government’s means of saving up for the expected increase in retirement in coming decades. The primary policy question is where to invest the fund, and whether to increase the total fund by adding money from the budget surplus.

The USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism):Congress enacted the Patriot Act by overwhelming, bipartisan margins, arming law enforcement with new tools to detect and prevent terrorism.

401k: A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren’t paid until the money is withdrawn from the account.