Politics is a lot of words and lots of disagreement. Here are the ABC’s of what you need to know about the hot topics, important words, and more about politics.

A is for Abortion

One of, if not the, biggest hot button issues in politics. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of abortion is: “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” This is not a topic you can escape if you work within politics or take interest in politics. Find your stance and know your facts.

B is for Budget

The United States hasn’t made it a habit of getting these every year but it’s a giant topic throughout the fiscal year. What goes into the budget and what doesn’t make the cut is based on who rules the House. The budget starts in the House of Representatives because that is where appropriation bills must start.

C is for Capitalism

The Merriam-Webster definition is: “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” This is currently being brought up for debate between conservatives and liberals on the national level. We are seeing a rise of people who denounce capitalism. 

D is for Democracy

A democracy is a government by the people. In the case of the United States, we are a representative democracy so we the people elect people to represent us and our interests instead of having a direct democracy which means we would all have to go to Washington DC to vote on things. A direct democracy is nearly impossible to be effective.

E is for Electoral College

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of the electoral college is: “(in the US) a body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice president.” This process that we have is constantly confusing for people and often debated.

F is for Federalism

Federalism is the system in which the United States federal government works with the state governments. This serves as a slight variation of checks and balances. There are things that the national government can do that states can’t liked declare war and coin money. It is simply a division of powers between the national government and the state.

G is for General Election

A general election is regular election for statewide and national offices. This is different from a primary election because a primary election is when people from the same political party are competing against each other for the opportunity to represent the party as the main candidate.

H is for House of Representatives

This is a chamber whose numbers are apportioned by the population of the state in which they represent. There are currently 435 members in the House of Representatives. Any bill raising revenue must start in the House of Representatives per the origination clause in Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution. 

I is for Impeachment

Impeachment is a legal process in which a legislative body brings charges against a government official. Being impeached does not mean they you are forced to resign from office or kicked out of off. Two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon was awfully close but resigned before charges could be filed.

J is for Jus Soli

Jus soli is a latin term meaning “of soil.” In America, this is a way of determining who is an American. We view that if you are born on American soil then you are American. This differs from jus sanguinis which is latin for “of blood” which means that if one or both of your parents are American, than you are American because of that. 

K is for Kitchen Cabinet

This is an informal term that is used to refer to the chief executive’s closest advisors. 

L is for Logrolling

This is a practice where two or more legislators agree to support each other’s bills.

M is for Monopoly

A monopoly is when one individual or company has an exclusive control or possession of supply or goods. 

N is for Nationalism

Nationalism is identifying with one’s own nation and culture for its interests. Sometimes this can be at the detriment to the interests of other nations.

O is for Omnibus

An omnibus bill is a bill that contains several pieces of legislation in which many of the bills have nothing to do with the others though they normally are bills pertaining to the same field (ie health, criminal justice, etc). It is a way of passing a group of bills without having to vote on each individually. Normally the bills have already passed but got sent back by the other chamber so they throw them all together instead of forcing a block vote.

P is for Pork Barrel Spending

This is a term that is used for the money within a budget that goes towards local projects for a Representative or a Senator. Normally getting that money is used for the Representative or Senator to point to like “Hey, I did this for our local economy. Vote for me again and I can get more!”

Q is for Quorum

A quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present in order for business to begin.

R is for Referendum 

A referendum is a public vote, normally on a ballot, that could have legally binding consequences. 

S is for Separation of Powers

This is when the branches of government are not interwoven. For the United States, we have the executive branch, the judicial branch, and the legislative branch. All three of those branches serve different purposes.

T is for Term Limit

A term limit is the amount of times that someone may hold the same seat they were elected to. The President is only allowed two terms for a time of 10 years. The reason they can get 10 years and not 8 is incase they were not able to serve whether due to illness or any other reason that would keep them from running their office. There are currently no term limits for representatives or senators. 

U is for Upper House

The Senate is normally referred to as the upper house. The House of Representatives is referred to as the lower house. 

V is for Virtue Signaling

We see this a lot in American politics as it is a way to gain the support of the apathetic. Virtue signaling is when someone claims to be a good, moral person without ever actually proving that by their actions.

W is for Whip

There is normally a majority and minority whip. The whip is to ensure that the members of their party are in line and ready to go on a vote. They make sure that the members are attending caucuses or meetings that they need to attend and that they have enough votes for a bill to pass. 

X is for Xenophobic

This is the fear of others from a different country or even the hatred of people from other countries or cultures.

Y is for Yellow Journalism

Ever read an article that is extremely exaggerated or based upon sensationalism? That is yellow journalism.

Z is for Zeitgeist

This is a German word for “spirit of the time.” This refers to the values that American’s continue to value that prevail over time.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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