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.

Labor Commissioner

Definition and meaning of Labor Commissioner: A Labor Commissioner is a government official who is responsible for enforcing labor law and protecting the rights of workers. This is often done through the mediation of disputes between employers and employees, or through the investigation of suspected violations of labor law. This position is especially important in today's political climate, as it can help to ensure that workers are not exploited or taken advantage of. Furthermore, a Labor Commissioner can help to ensure that unions are protected, and that workers are not subjected to unfair or illegal practices. By advocating for independent, non-partisan labor commissioners, we can help to ensure that the interests of workers are represented in the political process, and that there is an independent body to evaluate labor law and its implementation.

Land Commissioner

Definition and meaning of Land Commissioner: A Land Commissioner is a political official responsible for managing and conserving a state's public lands, such as parks, forests, and wildlife. The Land Commissioner is typically the head of the state land office and is often an elected position. The Land Commissioner is responsible for managing state land resources, including leasing and permitting, conservation, timber management, and land development. The Land Commissioner may also be responsible for protecting the state's natural resources, such as ensuring water and air quality, and promoting outdoor recreation. Reform-minded Land Commissioners should be dedicated to ensuring that public lands are managed fairly and equitably, and that they are used to promote economic growth and environmental stewardship. Land Commissioners should be committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the state's natural resources are managed responsibly and sustainably.

Language Minority Voters

Definition and meaning of language minority voters: Language minority voters are individuals whose primary language is not English and who may face language barriers when accessing the voting process. Language minority voters may feel excluded from the political process because of the lack of language support, such as bilingual ballots or voting materials translated into their native language. As a result, they may have difficulty understanding their rights and responsibilities as citizens and may be less likely to participate in the electoral system. The consequences of this exclusion are dire. Language minority voters are often underrepresented in the political process, particularly in elections where they are not provided with equal access to the voting process due to language barriers. This can lead to an unbalanced representation of their interests in government, and may limit their ability to influence the decision-making process. The way to combat this problem is to ensure that language minority voters are provided with the same access to the voting process as all other citizens. This can be achieved by offering bilingual ballots and translated voting materials, as well as by providing additional education and outreach to inform language minority voters of their rights and responsibilities. By making sure that language minority voters are given equal access to the voting process and are adequately informed of their rights and responsibilities, we can ensure that they are fairly and adequately represented in the political process.

Lawful Permanent Resident

Definition and meaning of lawful permanent resident: A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been lawfully admitted to the United States with the intention of residing permanently. This designation grants individuals certain rights, including the right to work in the United States, access to social services, and the opportunity to travel within the United States and to certain foreign countries. In order to become a lawful permanent resident, an individual must obtain a Green Card through a variety of methods, ranging from family-based immigration to employment-based immigration. At the same time, the two-party system and the current immigration system have created a separate class of individuals who are subject to the whims of politicians and are often denied the rights and privileges of full citizenship. These individuals, known as “non-citizens,” are unable to vote, access certain social services, or travel freely in the United States. This system has created a class of individuals who are often in limbo, unable to obtain the full benefits of lawful permanent residence, yet unable to return to their home countries. The current system has failed to recognize the desire of many non-citizens to become part of the American political fabric, and has made it difficult for them to access the same rights and privileges as their fellow citizens. As advocates for reform, we must work to create a system that allows individuals to become lawful permanent residents and to access the same rights and privileges as full citizens. This will require a shift away from the current two-party system and a focus on independent candidates who support immigrant rights.

Lesser of Two Evils

Definition and meaning of lesser of two evils: The term "lesser of two evils" in politics refers to a situation where voters face a choice between two major-party candidates, neither of whom they find particularly appealing, but feel compelled to vote for the one they perceive as less undesirable. For example, a voter might not like either the Republican or Democratic candidate in a presidential election year, but will vote for one of them to keep the other, "worse" candidate out of office.

The pattern of "lesser of two evils" voting arises in a political landscape where the electoral system discourages diversity, typically due to a winner-takes-all or first-past-the-post voting system. As a result, the most viable candidates are often from the two dominant parties.

This phenomenon is also related to the practice of strategic voting, which occurs when voters choose a candidate not because they align closely with their views but because they want to prevent the election of another candidate they oppose more strongly. This is often a choice made out of pragmatism rather than enthusiasm. In highly polarized political environments, the decision often revolves around negative partisanship — voting against a candidate or party rather than for the preferred policies or qualities of the other candidate.

Below are some of the main implications of "lesser of two evils" voting:

  1. Voter Disenfranchisement: The lesser of two evils choice can lead to voter disenfranchisement, as people may feel that their true preferences are not adequately represented. This can lead to voter apathy and disengagement from the electoral process.

  2. Barrier to Third-Party Candidates: This dynamic acts as a significant barrier to third-party and independent candidates who might align more closely with the values and preferences of many voters. The fear of "wasting" a vote on a less viable candidate often drives voters back to the major political parties, perpetuating the two parties' dominance.

  3. Reduction in Policy Diversity: The phenomenon can lead to a narrowing of policy debates and choices, as candidates from major parties often have overlapping positions on many key issues, limiting the range of options available to voters.

  4. Influence on Political Discourse: The lesser of two evils voting can contribute to a negative and defensive political discourse, focusing more on the flaws of candidates rather than constructive policy discussions.

The lesser of two evils phenomenon encapsulates the frustration and limitations that many voters experience, highlighting the need for comprehensive electoral reform. Alternate voting systems, increased political diversity, and campaign finance reform are all avenues that reform-minded individuals are pursuing to alleviate this problem. By advocating for and implementing reforms, it is possible to transform the electoral landscape into one where voters feel genuinely represented and engaged, rather than resigned to choosing the lesser of two evils.


Definition and meaning of liberalism: Liberalism is the idea that individuals should be free to choose and pursue their own goals and interests, while government should be responsible for protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens. Liberalism holds that all individuals should have the right to enjoy the same civil liberties and political rights, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or other characteristics. Examples of liberalism are the belief that all citizens should have the right to vote, the right to freedom of speech, and the right to pursue their own economic interests. Governments should be accountable to the citizens they serve and should promote policies that improve the lives of all people, not just the privileged few. Liberalism also encourages policies that create a level playing field for all citizens, such as access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.

Libertarian Party

Definition and meaning of Libertarian Party: The Libertarian Party is a reform-minded political party in the United States that is committed to individual freedom, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. It stands for the idea that government should be limited to its proper role, protecting citizens from coercion and violence, and leaving room for individuals to pursue their own interests and values. The party supports greater personal and economic freedom through less government involvement in people's lives, and it generally opposes high taxes and government regulation. Libertarians generally support the free market and private property rights, oppose government monopolies, favor free trade and free immigration, oppose government censorship, and favor civil liberties such as the right to privacy. They believe that the government should not intervene in the economy, but should instead leave it to the free market to determine prices, wages, and other economic factors. Libertarians also have a generally positive view of business and free enterprise, and they oppose corporate welfare. In terms of social issues, they generally favor legalizing same-sex marriage, ending the war on drugs, and eliminating government-mandated discrimination. In short, the Libertarian Party stands for freedom and personal responsibility. It is a reform-minded party that believes government should be limited to its proper role, and that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests and values without government interference.


Definition and meaning of Libertarianism: Libertarianism is a political philosophy that promotes individual liberty and limited government. Its adherents argue for the freedom of individuals to make choices about their own lives and for the minimization of state power and involvement in the economy and society. It stands in opposition to authoritarianism, statism, and collectivism. In its simplest terms, libertarians believe that the only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights, and that the government should not be involved in economic activities or social engineering. Libertarians often emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and individual freedom of choice. They reject the notion of an all-powerful government and instead favor a smaller government with limited powers that respects individual rights. Examples of libertarian policies include a free market economy, a society based on voluntary exchange and mutual consent, and the protection of civil liberties such as freedom of speech and assembly. In addition, libertarians are typically advocates of limited government regulations, lower taxes, and reduced social welfare spending. They oppose government intervention into the private lives of citizens, believing that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests without interference from the state. By advocating for personal liberty and freedom of choice, libertarians strive to create a more just and equitable society.

Lieutenant Governor

Definition and meaning of lieutenant governor: The lieutenant governor is the second-highest executive officer in their state government, serving as the primary assistant to the governor. This position is often held by a member of the governor's own political party, but there is an emerging trend towards independent candidates, as well as cross-party coalitions, which can help to reduce the two-party system. In some states, the lieutenant governor has the power to preside over the state senate and cast tie-breaking votes, and in others, this position may be responsible for managing specific state agencies. In addition, the lieutenant governor often serves as a liaison between the governor and local government leaders and is expected to attend events and public appearances on behalf of the governor.

Limited Government

Definition and meaning of limited government: Limited government is the idea that government should be small and limited in its scope and power, with citizens having the maximum freedom and autonomy possible. This approach is rooted in the belief that the less government interference in people's lives, the better. It is also based on the idea of checks and balances, where the branches of government are kept separate and limited in their powers. The idea of limited government is especially attractive to reformers and independent candidates who seek to break away from the two-party system. In a limited government system, citizens would have more control over their lives, as opposed to having their fates determined by the decisions of a few powerful politicians. This could mean reducing the size of government, cutting taxes, reducing regulation, and giving citizens the ability to make their own decisions. By limiting government's reach and power, citizens can avoid the pitfalls of oppressive government control, while still providing necessary services and protecting the rights of individuals. Limited government can also help to ensure that citizens are not subjected to excessive taxation and unfair laws, while still allowing the government to provide essential services. Limited government can also promote economic growth, as businesses and individuals are able to operate without excessive regulation.


Definition and meaning of lobbying: Lobbying is the process of attempting to influence legislation, policy-making, or the decision-making of public officials, usually by individuals or groups outside of the government. It is a tool used to pressure elected officials to support or oppose certain policies, legislation, or regulations. Lobbying is typically done by well-funded special interest groups or lobbyists who are hired to represent the interests of their clients. Examples of lobbying activities include making donations to political campaigns, writing letters of support to elected officials, and organizing grassroots campaigns to support or oppose certain policies. Reform-minded advocates of independent candidates and the end of the two-party system may view lobbying as a tool used by powerful special interests to gain undue influence over the political process. The activities of lobbyists can be seen as a form of corruption, as lobbyists often attempt to influence legislation in ways that are not in the public interest, or in favor of their own clients. To reduce the influence of lobbyists, advocates of reform may suggest measures such as greater transparency and restrictions on donations to political campaigns.

Local Government

Definition and meaning of local government: Local government refers to the administration and management of local affairs within a specific geographic area. This can include city, county, and state governments, as well as school boards, water districts, and other special purpose districts.

Local government is often seen as the "grassroots" level of the political system, as it is closer to the people and more directly affects their daily lives. It is responsible for a wide range of services and functions, such as public safety, education, infrastructure, and environmental protection.

Local government can be an important arena for political participation and change for independent and third-party candidates. This is because local elections are often less expensive and more competitive than national elections, which can make it easier for independent and third party candidates to win office.

There are many examples of independent and third-party candidates who have been successful in local government positions. For example, in 2019, the city of Portland, Maine elected a Green Party mayor, while the city of Providence, Rhode Island elected an independent mayor in 2014.

By encouraging independent and third party candidates to seek office and by supporting their efforts to participate in the political process, we can create a more diverse and representative local government that works for everyone. This can help to break the stranglehold of the two major parties and create a more open and inclusive political system that is responsive to the needs and concerns of the public.