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AP Government Review #4: Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media 

Hi everyone! Today, I’m going to cover the 3rd section of the US Government and Politics exam, which is 10-20% of the exam.

Key Terms:

  1. Critical Election: an election when significant groups of voters change their traditional patterns of party loyalty
  2. Divided Government: government in which one party controls the presidency while another controls Congress; has dominated the US since the 1970s
  3. Free Riders: people who benefit from an interest group without making any contributions; public interest groups and labor unions have this problem because people can benefit from the group’s activities without joining
  4. Horse Race Journalism: tendency of the media to cover campaigns by emphasizing how candidates stand in the polls instead of their stance on the issues
  5. Hyperpluralist Theory: theory that government policy is weakneed and often contradictory because there are so many competing interest groups
  6. Interest Group: organization of people whose members shares views on specific interests and attempt to influence public policy to their benefit; do not run for public office
  7. Linkage Institutions: connect citizens to the government; mass media, interest groups, and polittical parties are the 3 main ones
  8. Mass Media: means of communication such as newspapers, radio, television, or the internet; can reach a large audience
  9. Party Era: historical period dominated by one political party
  10. Party Realignment: majority party is displaced by the minority party, which ushers in a new party era (FDR)
  11. Political action Committee (PAC): commitee formed by business, labor, or other groups to raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of political candidates to whom they support
  12. Political Party: group of citizens who organize to win elections, hold public offices, operate governments, and determine public policy
  13. Power Elite Theory: theory that a small number of very wealthy individuals, powerful corporate interest groups, and large financial institutions dominate key policy areas
  14. Pluralist Theory: theory that many interest groups compete for power in a large number of policy areas
  15. Plurality Election: winning candidate is the person who receives more votes than anyone else, but less than half the total
  16. Single Member District: electoral district where one person is chosen by the voters for each elected office; leads to legislatures dominated by 2 political parties

Political Parties:

What is a Political Party?

Types of Political Parties

Why America has the Two Party System

Why Third Parties Don’t Work:

Why Third Parties are Important:

Major Party Eras:

Interest Groups:

What is an Interest Group?

Types of Interest Groups


Monetary Contributions

Power-Elite Theory

Mass Media:

What They Do

Types of Mass Media

And that’s what you need to know![:

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