Vocabulary is promordial in order to improve your TOEFL score. Remember, Preparation is the key to succeed !

This vocabulary will be useful if you ever take a politics course in school, for having an educated discussion with a friend, or especially for any number of English language exams you may take. Here we will look at the most commonly used words related to politics, along with their French translations.

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a list of candidates and proposals for which citizens can vote

The special booths ran out of ballots before everyone had voted.

le bulletin de vote


draft of a proposed law to be discussed in parliament where it will be amended, passed, or thrown out

He has championed civil rights bills and blocked gun control measures.

le projet de loi


involving two political parties

The bipartisan bill would give doctors some relief from malpractice lawsuits.



planned activities in an organized effort to win an election

Incumbent senators will tell you they oppose public financing of campaigns.

la campagne

checks and balances

the system of dividing power among the three branches of government to prevent anyone from having too much power

We will have checks and balances, and the president will be accountable.

l’équilibre des pouvoirs


a person who tends to uphold tradition and resist major changes in laws and institutions

He managed to be consistently conservative without being sharp-edged.

le conservateur/la conservatrice


a statement of the fundamental principles and laws by which a country or state is governed

The ruling, based on the state constitution, is correct.

la constitution


a national meeting of a political party, where delegates formally elect a party’s nominee

The convention, which began Tuesday, will last through Friday.

le congrès


a discussion or an argument about issues

Abortion rights is a controversial topic in the healthcare debate.

le débat


a representative to a party’s national convention chosen by local voters to vote for a particular candidate

Delegates from 180 nations are expected to attend the Beijing meeting.

le/la délégataire


a form of government where elections are held and people vote for the candidate of their choice to represent them

She dreams of Mexico, her home, becoming a democracy.

la démocratie


a form of government in which a single individual, who has often seized power by force, exercises political authority using arbitrary and oppressive methods

At the time, Spain was ruled by the Franco dictatorship.

la dictature


the process of voting for a candidate or representative

The lesson of the election two years ago is too plain.



an attempt by a Senator to obstruct the passage of a bill, favored by the majority, by talking continuously

Twice the Senate fell one vote short of breaking a filibuster.

l’obstruction parlementaire


rearranging the voting districts in order to ensure more votes for the party in power

Gerrymandering has made it easier for incumbents to keep their seats.

le redécoupage des circonscriptions électorales


a political body that exercises authority over a nation or state and has the power to make and enforce laws

We appreciate his leadership in resuming the talks between our governments.

le gouvernement


an integrated system of ideas about politics, values, and culture

It is also a warning against the dangers of nationalist ideology.



a current officeholder

The two incumbents have been climbing the political ladder for years.

le/la titulaire

lame duck

an officeholder whose term has expired or cannot be continued, who thus has lessened power

This government might become a lame duck government until after the election.

le canard boiteux


a rule or regulation established by the government

The federal law allowed the states a certain amount of discretion.

la loi



She was harshly criticized by the left-wing press.

de gauche


person who believes in individual freedom and greater participation in government

In his campaign, Curry has not emphasized traditional liberal issues.

de gauche


seeking to influence an elected official, or the act of doing so

Currently, only those who lobby members of Congress are covered.

faire du lobbying


when a political party chooses its official candidate for a particular office

The nomination requires confirmation by a majority vote in the Senate.

la proposition


the candidate chosen by a political party to run for a particular office

The four other nominees still face confirmation votes later this month.

le candidat/la candidate


course of action proposed by a government or political party

The means were adjusted today to make that policy more workable.

la politique

political party

a political organization with stated beliefs, aims, and policies

We have received lists of candidates from the three political parties.

le parti politique


a survey of public opinion done by questioning a selection of people

The poll was released less than a week before the election.

le sondage


a state election in which party members vote for a candidate from within their party

Voter turnout in primaries already held around the country is down.

la primaire



A preference for the right-wing governments had been implicit in the policy of the early Eisenhower years.

de droite

run for election

be a candidate in an election

He decided not to run for election again.

se présenter aux élections

swing vote

the undecided portion of the electorate that can “swing” the outcome of an election in one way or another

Catholics will provide the pivotal swing vote in the 1996 presidential election.

le vote décisif


choose a candidate in an election

And who says all the Republicans are going to vote Republican?


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