The year leading up to a presidential election is full of controversy, new ideas, and heated debates about the future of our country. All that drama produces enough buzzwords to fill a dictionary and staying on top of what they all mean can be tough.
Here's your guide to some of the most important buzzwords you may have heard floating around so far on the campaign trail.
It's probably the scariest sounding word on this list for many Americans.The term Socialism has become so vilified over the years it's surprising to see a candidate like Bernie Sanders having so much success using it as a part of his platform.
Democratic socialism is defined as a democratic political system alongside a socialist economic system. Supporters call for leveling the economic playing field by making health care coverage universal, college more affordable or free, and increasing taxes for the rich.
To put all that into context of today's America, we'll let Bernie Sanders do the talking.
One of every politician's favorite accusations to hurl at their opponents, flip flopper has described candidates who switch sides on issues for decades. Often changing their tune in response to a shift in public opinion, flip floppers can be found on both sides of the isle.
Both front runners in the 2016 election have been accused of altering their views throughout their careers. Hillary Clinton has been criticized for her criticism of same-sex marriage in the 90's as Donald Trump previously described himself as liberal when it comes to health-care, having praised the merits of universal coverage in the past.
This issue got some play back in 2012, but nothing close to the level of attention it's received in this election. Conservative and liberal voters alike are calling for a change to the way wealth is being distributed in the United States. The CEO-to-worker pay ratio is $354 to $1 as the top 20% of US households control 84% of the nation's wealth.
As the graph below indicates, it hasn't always been this way. It's been a brewing issue in the U.S. over the past few years. Now that it's starting to get some of the attention it deserves, income inequality is sure to play a big role in how voters make up their minds this election.
Photo credit: alltop.com
Born from the 2010 Supreme Court decision of Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission, Super PACs are organizations that can raise unlimited sums of money in support of a political candidate.
These groups, of both conservative and liberal origins, can effectively buy candidates their seat in office. As a result, those candidates are indebted to the special interest that put them in office, rather than to the people who elected them. There's been recent push back against this brand of politics, but Super PACs are still going strong. As of October 2015, they'd raised over $41,410,000 for political campaigns in the 2016 election cycle alone, according to opensecrets.org.
For a full list of active Super PACs, how much money they've raised, and who they support, click here!
Also known as swing states, battleground states tend to sway between the two major political parties with every presidential election. Every four years, presidential candidates pour millions into getting their message across to the voters who are never a sure thing.
Iowa, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are some of these sought after election-deciders, with some campaigns putting the majority of their resources into appealing to these relatively small collections of voters. For a little more info on what living in a battleground state is like, check out the video below from America.gov!