Partisanship in Congress
- When congress members strictly vote along their party affiliation. Opposite of bipartisanship. Partisanship often favors national interests of a party, but may not agree with the local interests of a representative's district.
- Ex: The Affordable Care Act was passed solely along partisan lines, with only Democrats voting for it, and Republicans unanimously voting against it.
- Restructuring the map of the districts where Representatives represent. The process occurs every ten years according to the United States Caucus. This process is important as it changes the political makeup of districts and can influence who is elected. It also can cause a state to gain or lose a district.
- EX: Colorado's 7th district was created following the 2000 Census reapportionment
Bill of Rights
- The first ten amendments in the United States Constitution. These amendments can not be amended and are the framework that congress must abide by when creating laws. It is the Supreme Court's duty to determine if a law is unconstitutional if challenged.
- EX: in 2013 the Defense of Marriage Act was found to be unconstitutional as it conflicted with the Fifth Amendment
- Districts where ethnic minorities are the majority population, such as a district with a majority black or latino population. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 states that a district can't be drawn to dilute a minority's voting power.
- EX: Joseph Cao caused a stir in Louisiana's second district when he was elected in a predominately black Democratic district
- A Political Action Committee that aims to elect more Democratic pro-choice women into congress. Their endorsements and contributions can help more women get elected.
- EX: Emily's list is endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton for president and Morgan Carroll for Colorado's Sixth Congressional District
Speaker of The House
- The leader of the House of Representatives. This position is second in line to the presidency. This position is for someone in the majority party and can have a great role in determining the Congress voting agenda.
- EX: Paul Ryan is the current Speaker of the House and was elected after John Boehner stepped down.
Contract with America
- A book written by Newt Gingrich that were a set of ten proposals of bills that would be brought to the floor if Republicans won a majority in the house. This proposal was a major reason in how Gingrich was able to gain influence and power as Speaker of the House. The Contract with America is a great example of a congressional party platform.
- EX: The Personal Responsibility Act was a part of the contract which ended up successfully passing.
- Determining how Representatives are distributed along the United States. This is a part of the Congressional redistricting process that occurs every ten years following the results of the United States Caucus. Reapportionment determines how many Representatives serve in a district and if a state has changed enough in population to gain or lose a district.
- EX: Following the 2000 Caucus, it was determined that Colorado would gain an additional district, where Colorado's Seventh District was created.
The Two Congresses
- An analogy of how Congress members have to find a balance between national interests in congress while also serving their home district. It is important to stay in line with national interest in order to gain influence in Congress, but it is vital to make constituents feel represented in order to remain elected.
- EX: Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor faced a major upset when he lost his primary race in Virginia's 7th district. This was likely due to the fact that he ignored his duty to serve the interests of his home district.
- Where a group roughly all agrees with the same ideals and platform with little disagreement. Focusing on serving major homogenous constituencies in a district is a home style method that can help ensure the Representative will be reelected.
- EX: Nebraska's Third District has a large farm worker population. Their homogenous concerns to continue to get large farm subsidies are important for the Representative to address in order to get re-elected.
- When there is division in ideals among a group or party. Groups that don't feel represented in party platform can cause different facets in the party that have different objectives. It can be difficult to serve all the needs of a heterogenous district, and if there are major heterogeneous groups within a party that can cause a party to weaken.
- EX: The Whig party lost their power due to the homogenous split in ideals between pro-slavery and anti-slavery sentiments.