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.

Oath of Office

Definition and meaning of Oath of Office: An Oath of Office is a promise made by a person who has been elected or appointed to an official position in the government to uphold the law and abide by the duties of their office. It is a solemn declaration made by the individual, affirming their commitment to their responsibilities and the people they serve. It is also an assurance to the people that the individual will be held accountable for their actions. The Oath of Office has been a part of the American political system since the Founding Fathers established the Constitution. It is a way for those who are elected or appointed to a government office to demonstrate their commitment to the public and their willingness to uphold the laws and principles of the United States. The Oath is usually administered by the President of the United States or a designated representative of the U.S. government. The Oath of Office has become an important symbol of the commitment that our elected and appointed officials have to the public and to the principles of our democracy. It is also a reminder to the public that they have a responsibility to hold their representatives accountable for their actions. In order to ensure a more independent and diverse representation in government, more people should consider running for office and make sure to take their Oath of Office seriously.


Definition and meaning of oligarchy: Oligarchy is a system of government in which a small group of people holds the majority of power. This small group of people, often wealthy or well-connected individuals, are able to manipulate the political system to their own interests, often at the expense of the majority of the population. Oligarchy stands in stark contrast to democracy, which is a system of government in which power is held by the people. Examples of oligarchy can be seen throughout the history of the United States. For example, during the Gilded Age of the late 1800s and early 1900s, a small group of wealthy business people and politicians manipulated the political system to their own advantage. This led to a lack of economic opportunity for the middle and working classes, as well as a lack of political representation for marginalized groups. Today, oligarchy is still pervasive in American politics. Moneyed elites and powerful corporations have a disproportionate influence over the political process, leading to policies that further entrench their own power and wealth while leaving the majority of people behind. This is why reform-minded individuals and groups are fighting to ensure that the political system is more inclusive and responsive to the needs of everyday people.


Definition and meaning of ombudsman: An ombudsman is a person appointed to investigate and report on citizens’ complaints against public authorities, and to take action to resolve disputes. Ombudsmen are independent and impartial, and provide an informal and transparent mechanism for citizens to have their grievances heard and addressed without the need for legal action.

In the context of American politics, an ombudsman could take on an important role in ensuring that the public is adequately represented in the political process. They could act as a check against the two-party system, granting citizens a more direct voice in their government. They could also work to ensure that public officials are held accountable for their actions and that the public’s interests are effectively represented in government. Ombudsmen could be instrumental in helping to create a more equitable and representative political system in the United States.

Open Primary

Definition and meaning of primary election: An open primary is a type of primary election in which any registered voter can participate, regardless of their political party affiliation. This means that voters do not have to be a member of a specific party to vote in that party's primary. Open primaries have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to increase voter participation and reduce the influence of party insiders.

In the United States, open primaries are currently used in several states, including California, Washington, and Louisiana. For example, in California, the top two candidates from the primary election, regardless of party, move on to the general election. This has led to an increase in the number of independent and third-party candidates appearing on the general election ballot.

Open primaries have been shown to increase voter turnout, as well as produce more moderate candidates. In a study by FairVote, states that used open primaries had an average voter turnout of 28%, compared to 19% for states with closed primaries. Additionally, candidates in open primary states are more likely to appeal to a wider range of voters, rather than just their party base.

One of the key benefits of open primaries is that they give more power to the voters, rather than party insiders. With open primaries, all registered voters have a say in who appears on the general election ballot, regardless of their party affiliation. This can lead to a more representative government, as well as more competitive elections.

In summary, open primary is a way of conducting primary elections where all registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, can participate. It is used in several states in the United States and has been shown to increase voter turnout and produce more moderate candidates. It gives more power to the voters and can lead to more representative government and more competitive elections.

Outside Game

Definition and meaning of outside game: An outside game is a strategy employed by reformers to shape political outcomes outside of the traditional political institutions. This strategy focuses on mobilizing public opinion and creating alliances with civil society, business, and media groups to influence policy makers. Examples of successful outside games include the civil rights movement and the push for marriage equality. Outside games are particularly useful when the traditional political process is too slow to make desired changes or when the political system is unlikely to make the desired change. Outside games are also used to supplement existing legislative efforts, by creating a coalition of groups to support the initiative. In addition, outside games can be used to draw attention to issues and build a constituency for reform.

Overseas Citizenship

Definition and meaning of overseas citizenship: Overseas citizenship is a form of citizenship whereby an individual holds full citizenship rights in a foreign country while still maintaining their primary citizenship in their home country. This form of citizenship is becoming increasingly popular as citizens seek to diversify their passport portfolio to access a variety of benefits abroad. For example, many countries offer tax incentives and other benefits to their citizens who are living and working abroad. This form of citizenship also allows individuals to travel and work more freely across borders.


Definition and meaning of oversight: Oversight is the action of overseeing, or the power to do so. It refers to the ability to oversee the activities of a certain organization or institution, with the primary goal of ensuring that they are conducted in a responsible and accountable manner. Oversight is typically carried out by a third party, such as an independent commission, with the purpose of providing an external review of practices and policies. In this way, oversight can help to identify issues and areas in need of improvement, while creating an environment in which those responsible are held to account. Examples of oversight can range from monitoring the activities of a public agency to ensuring that a private company is adhering to its contractual obligations. Oversight is most often framed in a positive light, as a way to ensure that those in positions of power are held accountable for their actions. This is especially important in democratic societies, where citizens must have trust and confidence in their government officials. Oversight is also a key part of any effort to promote transparency and accountability, as it ensures that the public has access to information about the activities of those in power.