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.

Majority Leader

Definition and meaning of majority leader: Majority leader is an elected position in the United States Congress, typically held by a member of the majority party in the House or Senate. It is the role of the majority leader to ensure that the party's agenda is advanced through the legislative process. The majority leader is responsible for keeping their party unified and making sure that legislation is passed with the support of the majority. Furthermore, the majority leader is tasked with maintaining a close working relationship with the White House and other legislators in order to pass legislation. The majority leader typically serves as the face of the party and makes sure to keep their constituents informed on the status of their party's efforts and initiatives. In addition, the majority leader is often responsible for setting the party's legislative agenda and working with the party's leadership to ensure that it is passed with the support of the majority. The current two-party system in the United States has led to a system in which the majority party has a great deal of power and influence. As such, the majority leader has a great responsibility to ensure that the majority party's agenda is advanced. However, in order to truly foster meaningful and lasting change, it is important to look beyond party politics and give independent candidates and other parties an equal chance to take part in the legislative process.

Majority Party

Definition and meaning of majority party: A majority party is the political party or group of parties that holds the majority of seats in a legislative body. This is usually determined by the percentage of seats they hold in the body, with a majority generally considered as 51% or more. A majority party is often seen as the party in power and is able to pass legislation more easily than a party with fewer seats. Reform-minded individuals may view the majority party as an entity that is responsible for enacting meaningful change, whether it be through changes to existing laws or the implementation of new initiatives. The majority party has the power to set the legislative agenda, as well as the ability to pass legislation that has a direct impact on the lives of citizens. It is also responsible for ensuring that the voices of minority groups are heard and taken into account. In short, the majority party is the political entity that holds the majority of seats in a legislative body. It is responsible for setting the legislative agenda, enacting meaningful change, and ensuring that the voices of minority groups are heard and taken into account.

Majority Rule

Definition and meaning of majority rule: Majority rule is a key principle in democratic governance. Majority rule means that the option or candidate that receives more than half of the votes in an election wins. In this way, decisions are agreed upon by the majority of the population, rather than by a minority or a select few.

This principle is widely applied in various aspects of government, from elections of representatives to legislative decisions.

The concept of majority rule is rooted in the idea of democratic fairness, where each person's vote has equal weight, and the majority's preferences guide collective decision-making. This system is intended to reflect the will of the largest portion of the population, giving greater legitimacy to the decisions made by elected officials and the policies they implement.

Majority rule plays out in a variety of situations. For example, elections are decided by majority rule when the candidate who receives more than half of the total votes is declared the winner. If no candidate earns a majority of the total votes, a run-off election might be required to determine a legitimate winner.

In Congress and state legislatures, most laws and decisions are also passed by achieving a majority vote. In some cases, a supermajority may even be required to pass legislation. Majority rule also plays out in the context of local government, such as in decisions made by school boards, city councils, and other governing bodies across the country.

While majority rule has well-defined benefits, it also has its criticisms, particularly regarding the risk of marginalizing minority groups and interests, since they may have less influence or power under this system. This concern is often addressed through various mechanisms such as constitutional rights, checks and balances, and special rules designed to protect minority interests within the democratic framework.


Definition and meaning of mandate: Mandate is a term used to describe a legal or political order, often issued by a government or party, requiring a particular action or behavior. It can also be used to describe a popular mandate, meaning widespread public support for a particular political decision. Mandates are usually preceded by a popular vote and are often followed by a period of implementation and enforcement. In the United States, one example of a mandate is the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010. This legislation requires all Americans to have health insurance, and is enforced by the Internal Revenue Service. This mandate was passed with the intent of ensuring that all Americans have access to quality and affordable health insurance. Another example of a mandate is the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2016. This international agreement is aimed at reducing emissions and limiting global warming. The agreement requires all signatories to take action to reduce emissions, and it has widespread public support. In both of these examples, mandates are used to promote reform and help create a better future. While mandates are often seen as controversial, they can also be used to promote positive change and help create a better society.


Definition and meaning of manifesto: A manifesto is a public declaration of principles, intentions, or motives. Manifestos can be issued by a political party, movement, or influential person. Manifestos are often used to outline a group's goals and policies in a concise and persuasive manner. Their goal is to rally support and inform the public of their goals and views.

Manifestos can cover a wide range of topics, including social, economic, and political issues. A manifesto can serve as both a statement of ideals and a call to action. They have frequently been used during elections, social movements, or revolutionary movements.

Historical examples of manifestos include:

  • The Communist Manifesto (1848)

  • The Populist Party Platform, also called the Omaha Platform (1892)

  • The Port Huron Statement (1962)

Manifestos continue to be a powerful tool in political and social discourse. Whether revolutionary or reformist, manifestos often reflect critical moments in history. They reflect the hopes and demands of movements that are striving to reshape society.


Definition and meaning of marginalization: In politics, the concept of marginalization refers to the systematic exclusion or sidelining of specific groups or individuals from political representation, decision-making processes, and access to resources and rights. This can occur on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, or political beliefs. Marginalization leads to a lack of equitable participation in the political sphere and often results in the underrepresentation of certain groups in government, policy-making, and legislative processes.

Political marginalization manifests in various forms, such as limited access to voting, unequal representation in political institutions, biased policies, and lack of responsiveness to the needs and concerns of marginalized groups. This can be due to systemic barriers, discriminatory practices, or the dominance of certain groups over political discourse and decision-making.

Addressing marginalization is crucial. Marginalization not only undermines the core principles of democracy and equality but also perpetuates corruption and power imbalances. When certain groups are consistently excluded or ignored, it can lead to policies that favor a privileged few and deepen societal divisions.

Efforts to combat political marginalization involve:

  1. Inclusive Representation: Advocating for fair representation of all societal groups in political institutions and decision-making bodies.

  2. Voting Rights and Access: Ensuring that all eligible citizens have equal access to voting and are able to participate in elections without barriers.

  3. Responsive Policies: Developing policies that address the specific needs and concerns of marginalized groups, ensuring equitable distribution of resources.

  4. Community Engagement: Actively engaging with marginalized communities to understand their perspectives and include them in the political process.

  5. Education and Awareness: Promoting public awareness about the effects of marginalization and the importance of inclusive politics.

In summary, marginalization in politics is a significant barrier to achieving a truly democratic and equitable society. It requires a concerted effort to dismantle systemic barriers and ensure that all individuals have a voice in the political process. Good Party's commitment to inclusive and independent politics positions it as an advocate for reducing marginalization and promoting a political system that serves the interests of all members of society, not just the few.

Media Consolidation

Definition and meaning of Media Consolidation: Media consolidation is a term which describes the increasing concentration of ownership of media outlets, such as television, radio, newspapers and book publishers, in the hands of a few large companies. This process has been enabled by deregulation of the media industry, leading to a decrease in the number of independent media sources available to the public. As a result, the media landscape has become dominated by a few powerful corporations that have the ability to shape the public’s access to information and opinions. The consequences of media consolidation are particularly harmful to democracy, as it diminishes the diversity of ideas and opinions available to the public. With fewer independent outlets providing content to the public, coverage of important issues can become biased and limited, and the public’s access to information can become restricted. In addition, media consolidation can lead to increased market power of the companies that own media outlets, resulting in higher prices for consumers. All in all, media consolidation has serious implications for our society, and it is important to be aware of its implications in order to protect our democracy and the public’s right to access a variety of ideas and opinions.


Definition and meaning of megadonor: A Megadonor is an individual who makes extraordinarily large political donations to a candidate, political party, or organization. These donations are often in the millions of dollars and greatly exceed the legal limits of donations set by the Federal Election Commission. Megadonors are often major players in American politics, contributing immense amounts of money to influence the outcomes of elections and policy initiatives. In recent years, the influence of Megadonors has come under increased scrutiny from reform-minded critics. These individuals are often wealthy business owners and corporate executives who have taken advantage of the lax campaign finance laws in the United States to make large donations to candidates and organizations that align with their political beliefs. The result is a system in which a few wealthy individuals have a disproportionate amount of influence over the political process. Given the outsized influence of Megadonors, reformers have advocated for stricter campaign finance laws to limit the power of these individuals. These reforms include capping the amount of money that can be donated to candidates and organizations, increasing transparency and disclosure requirements, and introducing public financing of campaigns to help level the playing field. By limiting the influence of Megadonors and introducing more equitable campaign finance laws, reformers hope to create a more democratic and responsive political system.

Merit System

Definition and meaning of merit system: A merit system is a type of civil service system designed to reward and recruit talented individuals based on their abilities and qualifications, rather than through patronage or nepotism. It is a form of government hiring that is based on merit, meaning that those who demonstrate superior skills and qualifications in their field have the best chance of being hired for a certain position. Merit systems are designed to be fair and equitable, ensuring that qualified individuals have the best chance at a job regardless of their race, gender, political or religious affiliations. Merit systems are designed to increase the efficiency of government agencies and to reduce corruption. By hiring individuals who are the most qualified for a position, government agencies are more likely to select those who are better suited to the job, reducing the risk of making a bad hire. Additionally, merit systems help to reduce the influence of patronage and nepotism, since hiring is based solely on qualifications and merit. Examples of merit systems can be found in state and local governments across the United States. These systems are often used to determine who is hired, transferred, or promoted in government agencies. Merit systems are also used to award bonuses, grants, and other forms of recognition to high-performing employees. Overall, the merit system is a type of civil service system designed to favor those with the most qualifications for a certain position. It is an effective way to reduce corruption and increase the efficiency of government agencies, while also protecting the rights of all qualified individuals.

Midterm Election

Definition and meaning of midterm election: A midterm election is a type of election that takes place during the midpoint of the President's four-year term. It is held two years after the Presidential election and is used to elect members of the House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, and Governors in some states. Midterm elections provide an opportunity for the public to express their opinions on the current leadership and policies of the President and his administration. The public can use their votes to respond to the decisions made by the President and Congress, and can elect representatives who have different values and ideologies. Midterm elections can also be used to serve as a referendum on the President and his administration, as well as a way of holding them accountable. For example, in 2018, the midterm election was seen by some as a referendum on the Trump administration, with many voters voting in support of candidates who opposed the President's policies. In conclusion, midterm elections are an important part of the American political process and provide citizens with the opportunity to express their opinions and hold their elected leaders accountable.


Definition and meaning of militarism: Militarism is the reliance on military technology, military power, and the use of military force to achieve political goals. It is a system of government that favors the use of military power over other means of solving international and domestic disputes. Militarism has a long history in the United States, from the founding of the nation to the present day, and has been used to justify policies such as the Iraq War and the U.S.-led War on Terror. It has been used by both major parties to justify large-scale military intervention in other countries around the world. Many reform-minded organizations argue that militarism is a costly and ineffective way of solving international and domestic disputes, and that it is counterproductive to the long-term interests of the United States and its citizens. They advocate for more peaceful solutions to conflicts, and for the United States to engage in more productive and diplomatic means of achieving its foreign policy goals.

Mine Inspector

Definition and meaning of mine inspector: In the United States, a Mine Inspector is an elected or appointed official who is responsible for enforcing mining laws and regulations to ensure the safety of miners and the environment. The specific duties of the Mine Inspector vary from state to state, but generally include inspecting mines, investigating accidents, and enforcing safety regulations.

Some states have an elected Mine Inspector as part of their state government. The exact title and responsibilities of the Mine Inspector may vary by state, but in general, they play a key role in ensuring that mining operations are conducted safely and in compliance with state and federal laws.

Some states that have an elected Mine Inspector include Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. However, it's important to note that this list may not be comprehensive and that some states may have an appointed Mine Inspector instead of an elected one.

Minor Party

Definition and meaning of minor party: A minor party is a political party that is not one of the two major parties in the United States (the Democrats and Republicans). Minor parties can include a wide range of organizations and ideologies, from the Libertarian Party and the Green Party to the Constitution Party and the Reform Party.

Minor parties often seek to challenge the dominance of the two major parties and provide alternative viewpoints and perspectives on the political process. They may advocate for specific issues or ideologies, such as environmentalism, social justice, or small government.

However, minor parties 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 minor parties in the United States today that are making an impact. For example, the Libertarian Party has consistently run candidates for office at the local, state, and national levels, and has gained a significant following among those who are skeptical of government intervention in the economy and personal lives.

The presence of minor parties 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, minor parties can help to create a more open and inclusive political system that works for everyone.

Minority Leader

Definition and meaning of minority leader: A minority leader is an elected political leader who represents the minority opinion in a legislative body. The minority leader is usually a representative from a smaller political party, or a minority group within a larger political party, and is charged with protecting the interests and concerns of their constituents. The minority leader may be the leader of a third or fourth party, or of a faction that is not part of the majority coalition. In the United States, the minority leader is typically a member of the Democratic or Republican Party, depending on which party currently has the majority of the legislature.

Minority Party

Definition and meaning of minority party: A minority party is a political party that does not hold the majority of seats in a legislature or governing body. This party may still have a voice in government, but its influence is limited by the number of seats it holds. Minority parties may be reform-minded, advocating for change in the existing system. They may also have a unique agenda which may be opposed by the majority party. Examples of minority parties include the Green Party in the United States, the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom, and the New Democratic Party in Canada. Minority parties are an important part of a democracy, as they provide the opportunity for citizens to express their views through voting and representation.


Definition and meaning of moderate: In American politics, a moderate is someone who is politically independent from the polarized two-party system and is open to considering a variety of solutions to current issues. Moderates are reform-minded, looking for viable, pragmatic solutions to the challenges that face the nation. They are open to compromise and working across the aisle with people who have differing opinions on the issues. A moderate candidate usually has an understanding of both sides of the political spectrum and often is able to bring both sides together to reach consensus on various issues. They may not always agree on the solutions to problems, but they are willing to listen to various perspectives and work together to create solutions. Moderates are also more likely to reach out to constituents from all walks of life and to find common ground. Moderates are increasingly important to the American political system, as their willingness to compromise and work across party lines can help bridge the growing divide between the two major parties. By electing more independent and moderate candidates, the political system can become more responsive to the needs and interests of all citizens.

Money Laundering

Definition and meaning of money laundering: Money laundering is the process of disguising the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses. This deceptive practice is not merely a financial crime; it is an enabler of broader criminal activities and a contributor to the erosion of democratic institutions.

The process of money laundering typically unfolds in three stages: placement, layering, and integration. During placement, illicit funds are introduced into the financial system, often through small, less suspicious deposits or purchases. The layering phase involves a series of complex financial transactions designed to obscure the origin of the money, such as moving funds between various accounts and across borders. Finally, integration sees the now 'cleaned' money re-entering the economy, appearing as legitimate assets or income.

Money laundering's impact on politics and governance is profound. It enables criminal organizations, corrupt politicians, and other illicit actors to funnel ill-gotten gains into political campaigns, bribe public officials, or finance other corrupt activities. This influx of dirty money can skew the political process, undermine the rule of law, and erode public trust in government institutions. When political decisions are influenced by laundered money, policy outcomes reflect the interests of the corrupt few, not the needs of the many.

Moreover, money laundering poses a significant threat to economic stability and growth. It distorts financial markets and investment patterns, facilitates tax evasion, and undermines the integrity of banking systems. This criminal practice can also crowd out legitimate businesses, as entities involved in money laundering can afford to operate with lower profit margins, given their primary aim is to cleanse their illicit funds.

Combatting money laundering requires robust legal frameworks, vigilant enforcement agencies, and international cooperation. Laws and regulations need to be stringent enough to deter money laundering, yet flexible enough to adapt to its evolving methodologies. Financial institutions play a critical role in this fight; they must exercise due diligence, report suspicious activities, and adhere to know-your-customer (KYC) norms.

Transparency and accountability are also key in tackling money laundering. Political donations and campaign financing, in particular, should be subject to stringent oversight to prevent laundered money from influencing electoral processes. Similarly, real estate, a common channel for laundering, requires stricter regulation to prevent its misuse.

Beyond legal and institutional measures, public awareness and education are vital. An informed public that understands the implications of money laundering is more likely to support anti-laundering measures and hold elected officials accountable for preventing and combating this menace.


Definition and meaning of mudslinging: Mudslinging is a term used to describe the practice of a political candidate or party attacking the reputation of another candidate or party in an attempt to gain an advantage in an election. It is a form of negative campaigning which involves making false or exaggerated claims about the opponent in order to damage their public image. Examples of mudslinging can include attacking a person’s character, making unfounded allegations about their record in office, or spreading false rumors about them. Mudslinging has been a part of American politics since the early days of the republic, but it has become increasingly prevalent in recent decades. While some argue that negative campaigning can help inform voters of a candidate’s weaknesses, most reform-minded individuals believe that mudslinging only serves to distract from the important issues at hand. It also serves to deepen partisan divides and can ultimately lead to a decrease in voter turnout. Ultimately, mudslinging is a form of negative campaigning that is intended to damage the reputation of a political opponent and gain an advantage in an election. It can be detrimental to the democratic process and should be avoided in favor of more honest and civil discourse.

Multi-Member District

Definition and meaning of multi-member district: A multi-member district is a system of electoral representation wherein two or more seats are assigned to a given constituency. This form of representation is an alternative to the traditional single-member district, which assigns one seat to each constituency, and it is often viewed as a more equitable form of representation.

Multi-member districts can increase the number of voices heard in the legislative process, as well as the number of independent candidates that can be elected. This system can also reduce the power of the two-party system, as it allows for more diverse candidates to be elected by the same constituency.

For example, in a single-member district, the majority of a constituency may vote for one party, leaving those who voted for the other party without representation. In a multi-member district, the minority party may be able to gain representation if enough of its members are elected to the same seats. Ultimately, the use of multi-member districts can serve to increase the effectiveness of representative democracy by allowing for more voices to be heard in the political process.


Definition and meaning of municipal: Municipal is a term referring to the governance of a city or town by elected representatives of the community. Municipal governance typically involves the organization of local services, such as the police, fire department, health services, and sanitation, as well as the funding of those services. It also includes the management of public resources, such as parks, libraries, and public works. The municipality is responsible for creating and enforcing local laws, as well as managing local taxes and budgets. Municipal governance is traditionally dominated by the two-party system, with most cities and towns split between Republican and Democratic candidates. As a result, the voices of independent candidates and those with alternative views are often marginalized. It is important for citizens to be aware of the issues and candidates in their local elections so that they can make informed decisions about their elected officials. In recent years, there has been a push for more independent candidates and greater voter engagement. This can include initiatives such as ranked-choice voting, campaign finance reform, and greater transparency in local government. By taking these steps, citizens can help ensure that their voices are heard in municipal governance and that a diversity of perspectives is represented in the decision-making process.


Definition and meaning of municipality: A municipality is an administrative entity made up of the residents of a city, town, or other district with local self-governance. A municipality serves as the organizational structure through which local decisions are made and local services are provided. Depending on the country and region, municipalities might be called by different names—borough or parish, for example. While their sizes and specific functions can vary, municipalities generally have elected officials who represent the interests of their constituents. They may oversee utilities, local law enforcement, parks and recreation, and more. The concept of a municipality underscores the importance of local governance, reflecting the democratic ideal that decisions should be made as close to the affected populace as possible. As entities, municipalities often interact with regional and national governments but remain distinct in their focus on local community needs and aspirations. You may also hear the term “municipal” used as an adjective to describe politics and elections that take place at the local level.