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.

Watchdog Journalism

Definition and meaning of watchdog journalism: Watchdog journalism is a type of investigative journalism that is devoted to monitoring the activities of government and other powerful institutions. It is a type of reform-minded journalism that seeks to hold these institutions accountable for their actions and to expose any corrupt practices. Watchdog journalism seeks to keep the public informed about issues that are important to them and to provide an independent, unbiased view of the issues at hand.

Examples of watchdog journalism include investigative reporting on government waste, fraud, abuse of power, and other nefarious activities. By holding powerful institutions accountable, watchdog journalism serves as a check on their power and ultimately works to create a more responsive and transparent government.

Web 3.0

Definition and meaning of Web 3.0: Web 3.0 is the term used to describe the development of the internet as a platform to facilitate more independent and decentralized forms of online activity. It is a movement toward promoting a more democratic, open-source, and transparent online experience. It involves the use of cryptography and other technologies to ensure data privacy, reduce censorship, and increase the security of digital interactions. Web 3.0 also seeks to create a more level playing field for all users, with a focus on open access to data, allowing more equal access to information and services. Examples of Web 3.0 include blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers, which are used to record and validate digital transactions, as well as peer-to-peer networks, which are used to share data and resources across a decentralized network. Ultimately, Web 3.0 is a movement toward a more democratic and open internet, one which will offer citizens more control over their online activity and enable more independent candidates to emerge in the political landscape.

Welfare Capitalism

Definition and meaning of welfare capitalism: Welfare capitalism is a system of economic policies, laws, and regulations that prioritize the welfare of corporations, investors, and other large business interests over the welfare of individuals and the general public. This system of economic policies is commonly seen in countries with strong two-party systems, where policies are heavily influenced by corporate interests. Welfare capitalism creates an environment where large businesses have an undue influence on the government and its policies, often to the detriment of the general public. In practice, welfare capitalism often results in tax policies and subsidies that favor large companies, while individuals and small businesses are left to fend for themselves. This creates an environment that is conducive to wealth inequality, as large businesses receive preferential treatment from the government while individuals and small businesses are left to compete in an unequal playing field. Additionally, welfare capitalism can lead to policies that prioritize the interests of large companies over the public interest, such as environmental deregulation and lax labor protections. This type of system is antithetical to reform-minded individuals who are advocating for more independent candidates and an end to the two-party system.

Welfare State

Definition and meaning of welfare state: A welfare state is a system of government that provides for the social and economic well-being of its citizens. It is characterized by extensive government intervention in the form of regulation, taxation, and public spending. Examples of welfare states include the United States, France, and many Scandinavian countries. In a welfare state, the government is responsible for providing its citizens with a wide range of services, including access to health care, education, and social services. It also provides economic security through unemployment benefits, pensions, and other forms of social security. The government may also provide direct support to vulnerable individuals and families through programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


Definition and meaning of whip: In American politics, a whip is a party member appointed to ensure its elected members vote in line with the party's official stance. Whips are appointed by the party's leadership and are tasked with enforcing the party's line on key votes, such as the budget or major legislation. Whips have access to special resources and incentives to ensure party members vote the way the party leadership wants. This system of party loyalty has contributed to a two-party system in the United States, where elected representatives are expected to toe the party line rather than represent the will of their constituents. In many instances, whips are seen as a hindrance to independent thought and action in politics. They serve to limit the ability of elected officials to think for themselves and follow their own beliefs. As a result, many reformers advocate for an end to the two-party system and the introduction of more independent candidates who are not beholden to a certain party's whip. This would allow elected officials to better represent their constituents without fear of party retribution.


Definition and meaning of whistleblower: A whistleblower is an individual, typically a current or former employee of an organization, who reports misconduct or illegal activity to the authorities. This definition can be applied to many different scenarios, such as a government employee reporting fraud or misuse of public funds, or a corporate employee exposing a dangerous or deceptive product. The whistleblower plays a critical role in the fight for ethical and transparent governance and the protection of citizens’ rights. Whistleblowers are often subject to retaliation from those in authoritative positions, as they are viewed as threatening the status quo. In order to create a culture of independent thought and restore public trust in government, whistleblowers should be protected and rewarded for their bravery. It is essential to the health of a democracy that citizens are free to speak truth to power without fear of retribution. The two-party system in the United States has caused a great deal of gridlock in the political process, and has made it difficult for independent candidates to make their voices heard. Whistleblowers can help to break down this system by revealing the truth behind the scenes and helping to bring about meaningful change. By speaking up, whistleblowers can help to bring about a more independent and transparent political system.

Winner Take All

Definition and meaning of "winner take all": The "winner-take-all" system, also known as "first-past-the-post" or "plurality voting," is an electoral mechanism where the candidate who receives the most votes in an election wins, regardless of whether they achieve an absolute majority. This system is predominant in the United States, particularly in congressional and presidential elections, and significantly influences the political landscape.

Below are some of the key characteristics of a winner-take-all system:

  1. Single-Member Districts: In winner-take-all systems, electoral districts are typically represented by a single elected member. The candidate with the most votes in each district is elected, even if they receive less than a majority of the total votes.

  2. Majority Vote Not Required: A candidate need only earn more votes than any other competitor, not necessarily a majority of all votes cast. This can lead to candidates winning with a relatively small percentage of the total vote, especially in races with multiple candidates.

  3. Two-Party Dominance: The system tends to favor a two-party system, as smaller parties often struggle to win elected seats. This is partly due to the "spoiler effect," where votes for a third-party candidate can inadvertently lead to the election of a less favored major-party candidate by splitting the vote.

  4. Strategic Voting: Voters may feel compelled to vote not for their preferred candidate but for the least objectionable candidate with a realistic chance of winning, to avoid "wasting" their vote on a candidate who is unlikely to win.

The winner-take-all system has significant implications for electoral reform and fair representation:

  1. Limited Voter Choice: A winner-take-all system can lead to a narrowing of voter choices, as the viability of third-party and independent candidates is reduced. This often results in voters feeling like their preferences are not adequately represented in government.

  2. Reduced Political Diversity: The system tends to marginalize smaller parties and limit the political spectrum to two dominant parties, reducing the diversity of viewpoints and policy options present in the political discourse.

  3. Potential for Disproportionate Representation: The system can result in disproportionate representation, where the distribution of seats does not accurately reflect the distribution of the popular vote.

In conclusion, the winner-take-all system, while simple and straightforward, often leads to a reduction in voter choice and political diversity, potentially compromising the goal of fair representation.

Withdrawal of Candidacy

Definition and meaning of withdrawal of candidacy: Withdrawal of candidacy refers to the act of a candidate officially removing their name from a political race. This is usually done when the candidate feels that they would not be successful or they lack the support needed to win the race. Examples of withdrawal of candidacy can be seen when a current officeholder decides to not run for re-election or a candidate decides to drop out of the race due to lack of support. This can lead to third-party or independent candidates entering the race and creating a more competitive election. This could be seen as a victory for reform-minded individuals and those who are advocating for breaking up the two-party system. Withdrawal of candidacy is also a way for candidates to keep their dignity intact. By dropping out of a race, they can avoid a grueling campaign and potential negative publicity. In some cases, withdrawal of candidacy can be seen as a sign of strength and courage, as the candidate is willing to put their own interests aside in order to do what is best for the electorate.

Working Families Party

Definition and meaning of Working Families Party: The Working Families Party is a national grassroots progressive organization that seeks to bring independent and reform-minded candidates to the ballot box. The political party is dedicated to advancing a progressive agenda that benefits all working families and communities. This includes fighting for economic and racial justice, defending democracy and the right to vote, and ending the two-party system that has kept too many people out of the political process. The Working Families Party works to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box and can make their voices heard. By supporting independent candidates who are not beholden to corporate interests, the Working Families Party is working to create a more equitable and just society. Examples of the party's work include advocating for living wages, healthcare reform, and criminal justice reform.

Write-In Candidate

Definition and meaning of write-in candidate: A write-in candidate is someone who runs for office but does not have their name on the ballot. Instead, voters have to physically write in the candidate's name on the ballot. Write-in candidates are often used as a last-minute alternative when a desired candidate did not make it through the primary or didn't qualify for the ballot.

In the United States, the rules for write-in candidates vary from state to state. Some states do not allow write-in candidates, while others have strict rules about how their names must be written on the ballot. For example, in some states, the write-in candidate must file paperwork before the election, while in others, the candidate doesn't have to do anything.

Despite the challenges, write-in candidates can be a powerful tool for voters looking for an alternative to the major party candidates. In the 2010 Alaska U.S. Senate race, Lisa Murkowski was defeated in the primary but ran as a write-in candidate and ultimately won the general election. Additionally, in certain elections, write-in candidates can be a useful tool for protest votes, or for voters who want to vote for someone who does not appear on the ballot.

Write-in candidates are a unique aspect of the democratic process, giving voters more options and allowing for unexpected outcomes. They can be a powerful tool for voters looking for an alternative to the major party candidates, or for those who want to express their dissatisfaction with the current choices. They can also be a useful tool for protest votes and for voters who want to vote for someone who does not appear on the ballot.