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Political Jargon 101

by Teen Ink Staff Writer
January, 15, 2018

Every four years, the political world stops to see who will be the new (or old) President of the United States of America. But for about two years prior to election day, we are all bombarded with overwhelming 24/7 coverage of the election, trending topics, catch-phrases, and political jargon.

There is also a multitude of smaller elections that are held at the local and state levels. These smaller elections are much more likely to affect you as a citizen as they are catered to your local region and are most likely more relevant to your day to day life.

As a young person, you may not yet be old enough to vote, but that does not take away your ability to make a political impact in your community. The items and people being voted on affect your future just as much as any adult.

So to help you establish a stance on your future, we’d like to share a basic list of political terms that may help you navigate the world of politics. Keep an eye out in February for Part 2 of this series!

Political Party
An organization of people who have very similar political goals and opinions that works to get candidates of the same political party elected to public office in different facets of government.

The constituency is the larger representation of the voters who elect representatives for a specific area, and constituents are the individuals who make up the constituency. Basically, they are the people the elected official represent.

Republican Party (Conservative/Right-Wing)
The Republican Party or the GOP (Grand Old Party) is one of two major political parties in the USA. Their views are very conservative, and they are driven by strict interpretations of the Constitution (such as the right to bear arms), a dislike for governmental influence in business, strong favoritism for traditional social values (such opposition to same-sex marriage and support for pro-life movements), and support for strong military powers and restricting foreign aid.

Democratic Party (Liberal/Left-Wing)
The Democratic Party is the other major political party in the USA. Their views are more liberal, and they are driven by looser interpretations of the Constitution, a want for positive governmental influence in the welfare of individuals, progressive ideas on social norms (such as support for same-sex marriages and pro-choice movements), a push for immigration reform, and stronger gun-control measures.

The platform is a representation of the ideals and positions that a party or candidate stands for and uses to persuade people to support and vote for them.

Bipartisanship vs Partisanship
Bipartisanship is the idea of two different parties working together by making compromises to achieve the same goals for their constituencies and their parties. Partisanship is the strict adherence to one’s political party with little compromise.

Check out part 2 of this series! Political Jargon 102: Elections

This post is sponsored by David Kim for Congress

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