The jargon: what you need to know for election season


Republican party:  Characterized by the color red and an elephant, republicans roam on the “right” end of the political spectrum. Commonly known as the GOP (Grand Old Party), Republicans are labeled as “conservative”, often identifying as pro-religion, pro-business and pro-military. Republicans place emphasis on personal responsibility, viewing government as a burden and an obstacle to freedom.


Democratic party: The Democratic party is represented by the color blue and a donkey. They are typically liberal, on the “left” end of the political spectrum. Democrats believe government is a tool, that its active role will benefit a society, generally favoring anti-discrimination laws, business and environmental regulation, higher minimum wage and higher taxes for the rich.


Bipartisan: cooperation and agreement in legislation between different parties. You’ll be lucky if you get a glance of this in your lifetime.


Caucus: Meetings between party members often to decide candidates or discuss policy. They are alternatives to another form of presidential nomination, primaries. The Iowa Caucus is important to presidential elections because they are the first to hold a statewide event where citizens vote on the candidate they support. Presidential candidates can then determine the effectiveness of their campaign and can indicate to a party the most popular contender.


Primaries: Primaries are similar to caucuses: voting to select a presidential nominee. But there are three different types. A closed primary requires voters to vote only for their affiliated party and cannot vote for independents. Open primaries allow voters to vote for either party, but only candidates in one party. Blanket primaries allow voters to vote for any candidate, instead of candidates in a certain party.
Lobbying: America’s least trusted profession. Lobbying has a reputation for being negative, a form of legal bribery that selfish companies exploit. But it is actually defined as a “citizen’s right to speak freely, to impact decisions, and petition the government ,” according the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lobbying can actually be beneficial, including causes such as AIDs prevention and poverty relief. But lobbying draws its bad reputation from its for-profit side, filled with corruption and abuse.