Terms Glossary

GoodParty.org'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.

Identity Politics

Definition and meaning of identity politics: Identity politics is the idea that people form political alliances based on their individual and collective identities, such as race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, or social background. It is an approach to politics that seeks to empower marginalized identities and groups, by recognizing their unique concerns and perspectives and working towards solutions that address their needs. This approach is particularly useful for challenging the traditional two-party system, as it allows for independent candidates to come forward and advocate for policies that address the specific needs of their constituencies. Examples of identity politics in action include the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to address the particular needs of Black Americans, and the Women's March, which calls for gender equality and fights for the rights of women and other marginalized groups. Identity politics can be an important tool for achieving social justice and creating a more equitable society.

Ideological Siloing

Definition and meaning of ideological siloing: Ideological siloing, also known as the creation of "echo chambers," refers to the phenomenon where individuals or groups limit their exposure to only include information sources or opinions that align with their pre-existing beliefs. As a result, these individuals or groups do not come in contact with differing opinions. This self-imposed isolation, often facilitated by algorithms on social media platforms, can create environments where one's views are constantly reinforced without challenge. In a democracy, open dialogue and exposure to diverse perspectives are essential for informed decision-making. Ideological siloing can hinder real understanding, perpetuate misconceptions, and exacerbate political divisions. As democracies strive for unity and progress, breaking down these silos and promoting constructive dialogue becomes crucial.

An example of ideological siloing would be a conservative Republican voter limiting their exposure to only consume media that affirms their conservative views. On the other hand, a liberal Democratic voter could also limit their exposure to only consume media that affirms their liberal views. In both cases, these voters are limiting the information they receive and missing out on valuable perspectives from outside of their own viewpoint.


Definition and meaning of impeachment: Impeachment is a formal accusation made against a high-ranking public official such as the President or a member of the Supreme Court. It is used to investigate and decide whether the official should be removed from office. Examples of impeachable offenses include bribery, treason, and obstruction of justice. The current two-party system in the United States makes it difficult to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and often allows them to escape any consequences for their misdeeds. Impeachment is a tool that can help break the two-party stranglehold on American politics and provide more independent voices in government. By having an independent body investigate and decide whether an elected official should be removed from office, it can help ensure that those in power are held accountable for their actions and that the voices of the people are heard in the halls of power.


Definition and meaning of incrementalism: Incrementalism is a strategy or set of policies that seeks to make small, gradual improvements in a system rather than sweeping, radical changes. It is based on the assumption that change is gradual, slow, and often difficult to achieve. Incrementalism is an approach to reform that seeks to gradually implement change and incrementally build on existing progress. In politics, it is often used to refer to the idea that government should make small, incremental policy changes rather than large-scale, sweeping reforms. For example, a reform-minded politician might advocate for incremental improvements in public education rather than a complete overhaul of the system. Similarly, a politician might advocate for a series of small tax cuts, rather than a single large-scale tax reform plan. Incrementalism is also used to refer to the idea that government should pursue small-scale, incremental improvements in different areas of policy rather than trying to tackle large-scale, comprehensive reforms all at once. Incrementalism has become an increasingly popular approach to reform, as it tends to be more palatable to the public, easier to implement, and more likely to produce tangible results. However, some critics of incrementalism argue that it can lead to stagnation and incremental improvements that are too small to make a meaningful difference.


Definition and meaning of incumbent: An incumbent is an individual who holds a political office at the time of an election. In the current two-party system in the United States, incumbents are usually candidates from the same party as the previous office holder. In some cases, an incumbent may be an independent candidate. However, this is rare. Incumbents are often considered to have an advantage over challengers in terms of name recognition and access to resources, such as campaign funds. This helps to ensure that the same parties remain in power, creating a lack of political diversity and lessening the chances of independent candidates winning elections. This undermines the efficacy of democracy by limiting the choice of candidates and often resulting in low voter turnout. In order to achieve greater political diversity and create a more robust democracy, the two-party system should be replaced by a more independent system which allows for a greater range of candidates. This would give lesser known candidates the opportunity to run for office and improve the chances of independent candidates winning elections.


Definition and meaning of independent: An independent is a citizen or candidate for political office who is not affiliated with any political party. In the United States, this can include candidates who run as independents or who seek office as members of third parties.

Independents are often seen as a unique and diverse group of candidates who are not bound by the constraints of the two major political parties. They may come from a variety of backgrounds and may have a range of different viewpoints, which can make them more representative of the general public.

However, independents often face significant barriers to participating in the electoral process. They may struggle to raise the same amount of money as major party candidates, and they may have difficulty getting their message out to the public. They may also be excluded from debates and other important campaign events, which can make it harder for them to get their voices heard.

Despite these challenges, there are a number of independent candidates in the United States today who are making an impact. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, there are currently a record number of independents serving in Congress, including Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The presence of independents in the political process is important for promoting a more diverse and representative democracy. By providing more choices and breaking free from the constraints of the two major parties, independents can help to create a more open and inclusive political system that works for everyone. Good Party is working to address this issue!

Independent Party of Oregon

Definition and meaning of the Independent Party of Oregon: The Independent Party of Oregon is a political party that seeks to promote candidates who are independent of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Its mission is to provide Oregon with an alternative to the two-party system, and to represent those who do not identify with either major party. The Independent Party of Oregon seeks to encourage independent candidates to run in elections, giving voters more choices and a greater voice in their government. The party also aims to increase voter participation and to create a more diverse and representative government.

Examples of independent candidates that the party has supported include former Governor John Kitzhaber, who was elected to three consecutive terms and championed progressive causes. The party has also supported candidates for the State Senate and House who ran against major party candidates. By doing so, the party has helped to promote the concept of independent candidates and to create a more diverse and representative legislature.

Influence Peddling

Definition and meaning of influence peddling: Influence peddling is a form of political corruption that involves individuals exploiting their positions of power or their connections within governmental or political structures to sway decisions, policies, or appointments in favor of third parties. Typically, these third parties are willing to offer something in return, be it monetary compensation, gifts, or other forms of favor.

The mechanics of influence peddling are deceptively simple yet insidiously effective. It begins with an individual who holds sway in political or bureaucratic circles — a politician, a senior government official, or even a well-connected lobbyist. This person uses their influence to advocate for decisions that benefit a specific individual, company, or organization. The beneficiary of this arrangement then compensates the influencer, not necessarily in direct financial terms but often through lucrative job offers, exclusive contracts, or other indirect benefits.

The impact of influence peddling on democracy and governance is multifaceted. First, it erodes public trust in government and its institutions. When decisions are made not on merit or for the public good but for private gain, it fuels cynicism and disenchantment among voters. This loss of faith is damaging to democracy.

Furthermore, influence peddling skews policymaking and the allocation of resources. Instead of resources being directed towards areas of public need or strategic importance, they are diverted to serve the interests of a few. This misallocation not only hampers effective governance but also widens societal inequalities, as the general populace is deprived of essential services or opportunities that are hijacked by the privileged few.

Another significant consequence of influence peddling is the creation of an uneven playing field in business and economic sectors. Companies or individuals that engage in influence peddling gain unfair advantages, such as winning contracts, obtaining licenses, or evading regulations. This practice stifles competition and innovation, as merit and quality are overshadowed by the ability to influence.

Influence peddling also poses a threat to national security and sovereignty. When foreign entities engage in influence peddling, they can steer a nation's policies or decisions in a manner that serves another country's interests, potentially at the expense of its own citizens' welfare or security.

Combating influence peddling requires a multi-pronged approach. Transparency and accountability in government dealings are fundamental deterrents. Strengthening institutions that monitor and enforce ethical conduct, such as anti-corruption agencies, is critical. Additionally, fostering a culture of integrity and ethical responsibility in both public and private sectors is essential. This cultural shift also involves the empowerment and protection of whistleblowers who expose influence peddling.

Public awareness and education play a crucial role in this battle. An informed citizenry, aware of the signs and consequences of influence peddling, can hold their leaders accountable, demand transparency, and push for reforms.

In conclusion, influence peddling is a corrosive force in democratic societies. It undermines the principles of fairness, equality, and justice, which are essential for healthy and functioning democracies. Vigilance, institutional integrity, and public engagement are key to preventing influence peddling and preserving the sanctity of democratic institutions.

Instant-Runoff Voting

Definition and meaning of instant-runoff voting (IRV): Instant-runoff meaning is a voting system designed to ensure that a majority of voters have their preferred candidate win, even when there are multiple candidates in the race and no single candidate has an outright majority. IRV works by having voters rank their preferred candidates in order of preference. If no candidate has a majority of first choices, the candidate with the least number of first-choice votes is eliminated, and the second-choice votes of those who had the least-popular candidate in their first choice are added to the next round of voting. This process continues until one candidate has the majority of votes.

IRV is seen as a more democratic way of voting, as it encourages more independent candidates to run and helps to break the stranglehold of the two-party system. It also eliminates the need for costly run-off elections, and can help to ensure that candidates with broad but not majority support are not excluded from the race.

Insurance Commissioner

Definition and meaning of insurance commissioner: An insurance commissioner is a state-level regulator of insurance companies, responsible for overseeing and regulating the insurance industry within their state. Insurance commissioners are typically elected by the public, providing citizens with the opportunity to hold their elected officials accountable and to ensure that their interests are represented.

Insurance commissioners provide consumer protection by regulating the insurance market, ensuring that insurers act responsibly and adhere to state laws and regulations. Commissioners also help to ensure that insurance companies are financially sound and provide consumers with the best possible coverage at the lowest possible cost. Furthermore, commissioners often play a role in advocating for reform-minded policies in state legislatures and have the power to shape the industry by setting standards and policies for insurers.

Interest Group

Definition and meaning of interest group: An interest group is a collection of individuals who are united by a shared purpose or common interest in the promotion of a political agenda. Interest groups play a key role in American politics by advocating for the rights of their members, influencing public opinion, and attempting to shape public policy.

Interest groups span the political spectrum, representing both liberal and conservative causes. Examples of interest groups include the National Rifle Association, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union. These interest groups are distinct from political parties in that their memberships are voluntary and their goals are particular to their members' interests rather than a party's platform. While interest groups can be powerful forces in the political landscape, they can also be limited in scope, lacking the ability to influence national elections and federal legislation. Nevertheless, interest groups are essential to the American political system and the protection of individual rights.

Iron Triangle

Definition and meaning of Iron Triangle: In American politics, an Iron Triangle is an alliance between members of Congress, the governmental bureaucracy, and special interest groups. This alliance results in an increase in power and influence over policy making. The alliance is typically formed to promote a narrow set of interests that benefit only the two major political parties and the special interest group, leaving the majority of the population unrepresented. As a result, the two parties and the special interest group are able to maintain control over the policymaking process and limit the influence of independent, non-partisan candidates. This creates a system of politics that is largely closed off to the public and reinforces the two-party system.


Definition and meaning of isolationism: Isolationism is the political and economic policy of avoiding involvement in international affairs. It is a strategy of protectionism which generally seeks to avoid economic entanglements with other nations. It is often used to protect a nation's resources, economy, and citizens from the perceived dangers of international relations.

Isolationism is not synonymous with xenophobia, but rather a rejection of the idea that a nation must rely on foreign influence or support to remain strong. Examples of successful isolationist nations in modern history include North Korea and Cuba.

Issue Advertising

Meaning and definition of issue advertising: Issue advertising is an advertising campaign strategy that focuses on an issue rather than a specific political candidate or party. This form of advertising is often used by organizations looking to raise awareness about a particular issue or to encourage individuals to take action on social or policy issues. Issue advertising can be used by both sides of the political spectrum to advance their respective positions. Examples of issue advertising can include campaigns for social issues such as gun control, education, affordable healthcare, or environmental protection. Reform minded issue advertising can also be used to advocate for progressive policies such as criminal justice reform, campaign finance reform, or expanded voting rights. Issue advertising can be a powerful tool to influence public opinion and shift the political landscape.