Terms Glossary

Good Party's Terms Glossary is a list of definitions of words from the political and elections world. These terms are from an independent's perspective with an eye toward reform. If you have a suggestion for a new definition, send it to ask@goodparty.org.

General Election

Definition and meaning of general election: A general election is a democratic process in which citizens of a country or state vote to choose their representatives. This process is used to elect public officials to positions such as president, mayor, governor, or members of the legislature. General elections are an essential part of a democratic society, as they allow citizens to shape the direction of the nation. They are also an opportunity for citizens to hold their representatives accountable for their actions and policies. A general election is held in a specific geographical area, such as a state or country, on a predetermined day. Voters must be registered in advance in order to participate in the election. On the day of the election, individuals cast their ballots in their local polling station. The ballots are then counted and the candidate with the most votes is declared the winner. General elections are typically held every four to five years, depending on the country or state. At the federal level, general elections are held on the same day in all states, allowing for the popular vote to determine the outcome of the presidential election. General elections are an important part of a modern democratic society, as they allow for the public to have their voices heard and to ensure that their representatives are elected to the positions that they deserve.


Definition and meaning of gerontocracy: Gerontocracy is a form of government where politicians in power are generally elderly and the decisions they make are rooted in traditional values. Gerontocracy is often seen as a form of government that is resistant to reform and progress, as elderly politicians tend to be more conservative and unwilling to accept change. The term gerontocracy is often used to describe the governments of authoritarian countries, such as those in the Middle East, where rulers tend to be older and more entrenched in their traditional beliefs and values. Gerontocracy can also be seen in many western democracies, where a powerful and influential elderly ruling class can prevent change and progress. In the current political landscape, gerontocracy is seen as an impediment to progress and reform. It is important to recognize the power of elderly politicians and the potential impact they can have on the direction of a country. However, it is also important to advocate for greater inclusivity in government and the representation of all ages and perspectives in decision-making.


Definition and meaning of gerrymandering: Gerrymandering is the practice of manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts in order to give an advantage to one political party or group over others. It is often done by the party in power, who use their control of the redistricting process to draw district lines in a way that maximizes their chances of winning elections.

Gerrymandering is a controversial practice that has been criticized for undermining the principle of fair and representative democracy. It can lead to districts that are oddly shaped or that split communities in unnatural ways, which makes it difficult for voters to have a meaningful impact on the political process.

One of the main problems with gerrymandering is that it allows politicians to choose their voters, rather than the other way around. This can create a situation where politicians are more accountable to their party leaders and special interests than they are to the voters they represent.

There have been calls for reforms to the redistricting process that would make it more transparent and fair. This could include measures such as independent redistricting commissions, strict criteria for district boundaries, and greater public input into the process.

Reforms to redistricting are necessary to create a more representative and inclusive democracy. By breaking the stranglehold of the major parties and allowing for more competition, we can create a political system that works for everyone, not just the powerful few.

Get Out the Vote

Definition and meaning of GOTV: GOTV, standing for "Get Out The Vote," is a strategy employed by political campaigns, civic groups, and other organizations to boost voter turnout. The concept underscores the fundamental tenet of a democratic system: participation. Recognizing that a vibrant democracy thrives when its citizens are engaged and active, GOTV efforts target both registered voters and unregistered voters who could become part of the democratic process. GOTV activities typically include door-knocking or canvassing, phone banking, arranging transportation to polling stations, and hosting community events. Digital campaigns using social media, text messaging, and email reminders have also become increasingly prevalent. The emphasis is not just on the act of voting, but on the broader idea of civic responsibility. Importantly, GOTV efforts often seek to reach marginalized communities or those who feel disenfranchised, reminding every individual that their voice holds power and significance.

Ghost Workers

Definition and meaning of ghost workers: The term "ghost workers" refers to a form of corruption in public administration where salaries are disbursed to non-existent employees. These phantom employees are recorded on the payroll, but they either do not exist, have left the service, or are otherwise ineligible to receive the salaries they are assigned. This fraudulent practice results in the diversion of public funds for private gain, undermining the efficiency and integrity of public sector operations.

Ghost workers can be a part of larger schemes of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. In many cases, corrupt officials create these fictitious employee records or keep former employees on the payroll to siphon off government funds. The salaries intended for these ghost workers are then funneled into private accounts, robbing taxpayers and depriving legitimate public sector workers and services of necessary resources.

The implications of this phenomenon are extensive and damaging. First, it represents a direct financial loss to the government and taxpayers. Funds that could be used for public services, infrastructure, healthcare, education, or other critical areas are instead misappropriated. This not only hampers the quality of public services but also contributes to the financial strain on government budgets.

The presence of ghost workers in public administration also erodes trust in government institutions. It exemplifies a lack of accountability and transparency in the management of public funds, leading to public disillusionment and cynicism towards government officials and processes.

Addressing the issue of ghost workers requires a multi-pronged approach. One critical aspect is the strengthening of public sector management systems. This involves implementing robust auditing and verification processes to regularly review and cleanse payroll databases. The adoption of biometric registration for government employees, along with other technological solutions, can significantly help in the accurate identification and verification of legitimate employees.

Transparency and accountability in the public sector are also vital. Governments should establish clear and enforceable policies regarding payroll management, with stringent penalties for those found complicit in maintaining ghost workers. Regular audits and public disclosure of payroll audits can deter fraudulent practices and ensure proper oversight.

The role of civil society and the media is crucial in uncovering and combating the issue of ghost workers. Investigative journalism, whistleblower protections, and active civic engagement can expose instances of fraud and hold responsible parties accountable.

In conclusion, the existence of ghost workers in public administration is a significant issue that drains resources, erodes public trust, and impedes effective governance. It is a silent yet pervasive form of corruption that requires concerted efforts to combat. Through improved management systems, transparency, accountability, and active civil engagement, governments can tackle this challenge, ensuring that public funds are used effectively and ethically for the benefit of the populace.


Definition and meaning of GOP: The GOP, or Grand Old Party, is a political party in the United States that is traditionally associated with conservative principles and policies. It is also known as the Republican Party. It is one of the two major political parties in the country, along with the Democratic Party.

However, the GOP has been criticized for being ineffective in recent years. One of the main reasons for this is that the party has become increasingly ideological and polarizing, which has made it difficult for it to govern effectively. This is especially true at the federal level, where the GOP has struggled to pass major legislation despite having control of both the presidency and Congress.

Another reason why the GOP has been criticized as being ineffective is that it has become increasingly beholden to special interests and corporate donors. This has led to a perception that the party is more interested in serving the interests of a wealthy elite rather than representing the needs of ordinary Americans.

Moreover, the GOP has been criticized for its failure to address important issues such as climate change, healthcare, and income inequality. While the party may have strong positions on these issues, it has been unable to effectively implement policies that address them in a meaningful way.

The GOP's ineffectiveness is a reflection of the flaws of the two-party system itself. By limiting political choice to just two parties, the system tends to stifle debate and diversity, and it leaves many voters feeling unrepresented. This is why many people are calling for a more diverse and inclusive political system that allows for a wider range of viewpoints and candidates.

Government Accountability Office

Definition and meaning of Government Accountability Office: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency within the U.S. government that provides oversight of public spending and audits the performance of federal departments, agencies, and programs. The goal of the GAO is to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively. The GAO works to promote transparency, strengthen accountability, and improve the performance of government programs. Government Accountability Office is the watchdog of the federal government and serves to protect the interests of taxpayers by investigating complaints and issues, conducting audits, and issuing reports to Congress on the performance and management of government programs and agencies. The GAO is an important tool for providing oversight and accountability of federal spending and promoting better government operations and decision making. Examples of GAO activities include reviews of federal new initiatives and programs, investigations of fraud and waste, and analysis of proposed legislation.


Definition and meaning of grandstanding: In the realm of politics and public discourse, grandstanding refers to actions or statements made primarily to promote oneself, to appeal to a specific audience, or to gain attention rather than genuinely address an issue. This performative behavior can manifest in various ways. These include making exaggerated claims, giving overly theatrical speeches, or adopting extreme positions just for the sake of visibility. The term finds its origins in the world of theater, where "grandstand" seats traditionally offer the best view. In politics, grandstanding can detract from genuine efforts to find solutions, as it prioritizes individual or party image over substantive dialogue. Grandstanding is a challenge for any democratic system aiming for productive and sincere discussions.


Definition and meaning of grassroots: Grassroots is a term used to describe the activities of citizens who are politically engaged at the local level and are working to create change in their communities. This type of participation is often referred to as "bottom-up" democracy, because it starts with the people and works its way up to the decision makers. Grassroots organizations are typically non-partisan and can be found in communities large and small, in all fifty states. Grassroots initiatives are often focused on specific issues of importance to the community, such as education reform, economic development, and environmental protection. Grassroots campaigns can involve door-to-door canvassing, petition drives, rallies and demonstrations, as well as engaging with elected officials and local media outlets. Grassroots movements are instrumental in shaping policy, and are essential for a healthy democracy.

Green New Deal

Definition and meaning of Green New Deal: The Green New Deal is a bold set of sweeping policy proposals aimed at creating a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future for all Americans. The Green New Deal refers to a progressive and ambitious set of policies and initiatives that emphasize the need to address climate change, create jobs, and create a just and equitable economy. The Green New Deal includes proposals to invest in renewable energy, create green jobs, and develop infrastructure projects that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of initiatives that could be included in a Green New Deal include expanding public transportation, investing in renewable energy sources, and providing incentives for businesses to switch to green energy sources. Additionally, the Green New Deal could include policies to increase access to affordable housing, health care, and education for all Americans. Overall, the Green New Deal is an ambitious and progressive set of initiatives that can help create an economy that works for everyone.

Green Party

Definition and meaning of Green Party: The Green Party is a political party focused on ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. Founded in 1984, the Green Party is a reform-minded political party that challenges the two-party system in the United States. It advocates for a shift in public policy away from corporate and military interests, and towards policies that are better for the environment and our planet. The Green Party seeks to create a more sustainable and equitable world, and supports policies that prioritize environmental and social justice, economic and racial equity, and government accountability. Policies such as renewable energy, healthcare for all, and reduced military spending are part of the Green Party's platform. The Green Party is also committed to a participatory form of democracy, where voters have a direct say in the decisions of their government. At the local level, the Green Party supports community-based solutions to problems, and works to ensure that all people have access to the resources they need. At the national level, the Green Party works to ensure that our government is accountable to its citizens, and focuses on a variety of issues such as climate change, economic inequality, and poverty. The Green Party is an important voice in American politics, and is dedicated to creating a more just and equitable society. The Green Party's commitment to environmental and social justice, economic and racial equity, and government accountability is one that is shared by many.


Definition and meaning of gubernatorial: Gubernatorial is a term referring to the role of a governor in the United States political system. A governor is a public official, elected by the people of a state, who is the chief executive of the state and is responsible for implementing the laws and policies of the state. Governors have broad executive powers and control over the executive branch of their state governments. They have the power to appoint executive officers, issue executive orders, and sign or veto legislation passed by the state legislature. Governors are also responsible for representing their state in national and international forums. Governors are elected in a variety of ways, including in partisan elections or primaries, as independents, or through various forms of coalition building. In today's political climate, gubernatorial elections are often seen as a battle between the two major parties in a state, with more independent or third party candidates struggling for a foothold. However, reform-minded advocates are pushing for more independent candidates to be elected in gubernatorial races, in order to break the two-party system and create a more fair, representative government.