CMDI Political Glossary | CMDI.com

The CMDI Political Glossary

Like any industry or job sector, the political arena has its own vocabulary of jargon. Some of it has roots in 19th century history, and some are important technical terms defined by the Federal Election Commission. The entries below are by no means an exhaustive compilation. However, this is a good place to start or a reference to keep on hand when you hear a new word or expression.

Scroll down to look for a specific word or click to an individual page to see all the entries under that letter of the alphabet. 

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Political Glossary

Scroll down to look for a specific word or click to an individual page to see all the entries under that letter of the alphabet. 

0-9

501(c) Groups
527 Groups

A

Absentee Ballot Agitprop
Act Allocation Account
Administrative Adjudication Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (ADRO)
Administrative Expense Appointment Power
Advance Appropriation
Advisory Opinion (AO) Astroturfing
Affliated Committees Authorized Committee
Agenda-setting
Agent

B

Backbencher Blue State
Bad-tendency Rule Blue Dog Democrats
Balancing the Ticket Body Man
Ballot Initiative Borking
Bandwagon Bradley Effect
Barnstormer Brokered Convention
Battleground State Buckley v. Valeo
Bellwether State Bully Pulpit
Beltway Bundled Contribution
Best Effort Bundling
Bicameral Legislature Bunk
Bill of Rights Bureaucracy
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) Bureaucratic Politics
Blanket Primary By-election
Bleeding Heart

C

Campaign Committee Checkers Speech Contribution
Campaign Spending Limit Checks and Balances Contribution Limits
Campaign Traveler Chicago-style Politics Convention Bounce
Candidate Chum Cookie-cutter Campaigns
Candidate-to-Candidate Giving Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Coordinated
Candidate ID Clearly Identified Candidate Coordinated Communication
Cash on Hand Cloakroom Coordinated Expenditure
Carpetbagger Cloture Coordinated Party Expenditure
Cattle Call Coalition Corporation
Caucus Coattail Effect Costs of Funds Raised
Ceiling Commercial Vendor Crimson
Ceteris paribus Committee Type CrimsonFiler
CMDI Communications Fliers CrimsonMobile
CFR Compliance Funds CrimsonRPM
Chain of Custody Conduit Cutting Turf
Challenger Connected Organization

D

Dark Horse Demosclerosis
Dark Money Dialing for Dollars
Date Made Direct Mail
Date Received Disbursement
De Facto Segregation Disclaimer Notice
Dealignment Disclosure
Debt District
Debt Retirement Dog-whistle
Delegate Donation
Delegate Committee Donor
Demagogue Donor Base
Democratically-Financed Elections Double Giving

E

Earmarked Contribution Entryism
Elastic State Equal Protection
Election Exempt Party Activities
Election Cycle Exit Polls
Electioneering Communications Expenditure
Elector Exploratory Committee
Electoral College Express Advocacy
Eleventh Commandment Expressed Powers

F

Facilitation Fence Mending Foreign National
Faithless Elector Fifth Column Fourth Estate
Fairness Doctrine Filibuster Franking Privilege
Farley File Filing Free Rider
Favorite Son Finance Friends-Asking-Friends Fundraising
FEC Commissioner Finance Committee Front-loading
FEC Identification Number Financially Competitive Front-porch Campaign
Federal Election Activity Fingerprinting Front-runner
Federal Election Campaign Act Firehouse Primary Frugging
Federal Election Commission Fishing Expedition Full Ginsburg
Federal Funds Flake Rate Full Public Financing
Federal Government Contractor Flip-flop Fundraising
Federal Officeholder Floor Fundraising Expense
Federal Register Follow the Money Fusion Voting

G

Gaffe
General Election
General Election Public Funding
Generic Campaign Activity
Gerrymandering
Get Out the Vote
Glad-hander
Goals
Gotcha Question
Grassroots
Grifter

H

Hardball
Hard Money
Hatch Act
Honest Graft
Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007
Honeymoon Period
Host Committee
Hybrid PAC
Hyperpluralism

I

In-kind Contributions Individual Contributions
Identification Inside Baseball
Ideological Contributor Inside the Beltway
Ideological PAC Inside Game
Inaugural Committee Invisible Primary
Incumbent Iron Triangle
Incumbent Rule Issue Ads
Independent Expenditures Issue Network
Independent Expenditure-Only Political Committee

J

Joint Contribution
Joint Fundraising
Joint Fundraising Committee
Jungle Primary
Junket

K

K Street
Kitchen Cabinet

L

Labor Organization Levin Funds
Lame Duck Session Limited Liability Company
Landslide Lobbyist/Registrant
Leadership PAC Lobbyist/Registrant PAC
Leak Local or District Party Committee
Legal Defense Fund Local Party Organization
Legislative Agenda Lowest Unit Rate
Labor Organization Levin Funds
Lame Duck Session Limited Liability Company
Landslide Lobbyist/Registrant
Leadership PAC Lobbyist/Registrant PAC
Leak Local or District Party Committee
Legal Defense Fund Local Party Organization
Legislative Agenda Lowest Unit Rate

M

Major Party Military Industrial Complex
Malapportionment Moneybomb
Matching Funds Money Blurt
Maxing Out Motor Voter
McCain Feingold Muckraker
Memo Entry Mudslinging
Member Multi-candidate Committee
Membership Organization MUR
Memo Entry

N

National Committee Nongovernmental Organization
National Convention: Non-partisan
National Party Committee Non-Party Committee
Nattering Nabobs of Negativism NRCC
Net Debts Outstanding NRSC
Non-connected Committee Nut-cutting Time
Non-federal Funds

O

October Surprise
October Surprise
Office of General Counsel
Office-block Ballot
Open Primary
Operating Expenditure
Opinion Leader
Organization Type
Outside Game

P

PAC Pluralism Primary Election
Pack Journalism Plurality Principal Campaign Committee
Paradox of Participation Poison the Well Prior Approval
Partisan Political Appointees Prohibited Sources
Party Activist Political Committee Proportional Representation
Party Committee Political Party Psephology
Party-column Ballot Political Suicide Public Communication
Party Platform Pork Barrel Politics Public Funding
Patronage Pork Barrel Projects Publicly-Financed Elections
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Precinct Purple State
Personal Use Presidential Commission Push Card
Petitioning Presidential Primary Push Poll
Photo-op Presidential Public Funds

R

RAD Red State
Rally ’Round the Flag Effect Redesignated Contribution
Ratings Game Redistricting
Reagan Democrat Refunded Contribution
Realigning Election Reports, Designations & Statements
Realignment Restricted Class/Solicitable Class
Reapportionment Retention Election
Reattributed Contribution RFAI
Recall Election Rhetoric
Receipt Richards Effect
Recount Fund Roorback
Red Herring Rubber Chicken Circuit

S

Sacred Cow Special Election Strange Bedfellows
Separate Segregated Fund (SSF) Spending Limits State Party Committee
Shadow Committee Spin Alley Strategery
Shermanesque Statement Splinter Party Stump Speech
Six-year Itch Split Ticket Super Delegate
Smoke-filled Room Spoiler Super PAC
Snollygoster Spoils System Super Tuesday
Social Capital Stalking Horse Surplus Funds
Social Fundraising Staffer Suspended Campaign
Soft Money State Party Committee Swing States
Solicit Stemwinder
Solicitation (SSF) Straight Ticket

T

Talking Points Trade Association
Teflon-coated Presidency Transition Fund
Testing the Waters Treasurer
Third-party candidate Treasury Funds
Ticket Triangulation
To Direct Thrown Under the Bus
To Solicit Trial Balloon
Total Disbursements Turkey Farm

U

Usual and Normal Charge

V

Volunteer
Voter Drive Activity
Voter Identification
Voter Registration Activity
Voter Turnout
Voting Behavior

W

War Chest
Washington Community
Wave Election
Wedge Issue
Whisper Campaign
Whistle-stopping
Widget
WidgetMakr
Winner-Take-All
Witch Hunt
Wonk

Y

Yellow Journalism