Q:

What is a political whip?

A:

Quick Answer

Both the U.S. Senate and House elect majority and minority whips who are responsible for taking party member attendance and counting votes. Also known as assistant party leaders, whips occasionally stand in for party leaders when they are absent. At times whips round up party members for votes.

Know More

Full Answer

The term "whip" is derived from the fox-hunting phrase "whipper-in," which described the hunting team member in charge of preventing the dogs from wandering away during a fox chase. The first Senate whips were appointed in the early 1900s along with party leaders.

On a regular basis, whips assist floor leaders and ensure party members are in attendance during particular votes. They do this by asking their staffers to call the staffers of other party members and query as to how they plan to vote. Their staffers then enter this information into a spreadsheet.

When votes appear to be close, the whip visits party members who are on the fence and attempt to resolve their concerns or offer to help with passage of a bill the given party member is in favor of in return for the desired vote.

The day prior to the vote, the whip designates a team to poll party members one more time regarding their intended voting decisions.

Learn more about Political Parties

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a political activist?

    A:

    A political activist is someone who is involved in the political process for the sake of promoting, impeding or raising awareness of a certain issue or set of issues. Political activism typically involves engagement beyond just voting, whether it be through protest, demonstration or lecture.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an example of a political party?

    A:

    Examples of political parties include the Democratic Party (U.S.), the Conservative Party (U.K.), the Christian Democratic Union (Germany) and the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (Zimbabwe). According to Merriam-Webster, a political party is a group of people organized to gain and use political power.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How are political parties organized?

    A:

    Political parties in America are organized at the local level, which includes city and county, the state level and the national level. Most democratic countries have many political parties, but the United States has only two major political parties, Democrats and Republicans.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who said, "Man is by nature a political animal"?

    A:

    The Greek philosopher Aristotle, who lived from 384 to 322 B.C., said, "Man is by nature a political animal." These words are part of his "A Treatise on Government."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore