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In U.S. politics, the minority leader is the floor leader of the second largest
caucus A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have simila ...
in a
legislative A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday l ...
body. Given the two- party nature of the U.S. system, the minority leader is almost inevitably either a Republican or a Democrat. The position could be considered similar to that of the
leader of the opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the leader of the largest party not in government in a parliamentary democracy. The Leader of the Opposition is seen as the alternative Prime Minister, Premier, First Minister, or Ch ...
in parliamentary systems. In
bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature divided into two separate Deliberative assembly, assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deli ...
legislatures, the counterpart to the minority leader in the
lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has come to wield more power or oth ...
is the Speaker, and the
majority leader In U.S. politics, the majority floor leader is a partisan position in a legislative body.USLegal.com< ...
is hence only the second-most senior member of the majority caucus. Contrastingly, in upper houses, the titular speaker is frequently a separately elected officer such as a lieutenant governor or
vice president A vice president (in British English: vice-president for governments and director for businesses) is an Corporate officer, officer in government or business who is below a President (corporate title), president (managing director/Chief Executive ...
. The minority leader is often assisted in his/her role by one or more whips, whose job is to enforce party discipline on votes deemed to be crucial by the party leadership and to ensure that members do not vote against the position of the party leaders. Some votes are deemed to be so crucial as to lead to punitive measures (such as demotion from choice committee assignments) for members who violate the party line; decisions such as these are often made by the minority leader in conjunction with other senior party leaders. In a state where the executive (government), executive branch and both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the other party, the minority leader of one of the houses (most often the upper one) may be seen as the most senior member of the party in that state with regard to state government (although inferior in rank to a United States Senate, United States senator or United States House of Representatives, United States representative, if there be such in that party from that state). At times, particularly during crucial legislation, the minority leader may be consulted by the opposite leader in order to more easily get things passed and ensure that provisions important to the interests the minority party be included. The level of partisanship in state legislative bodies varies greatly from one state to another.


See also

* Floor leader * Leader of the Opposition * Majority leader * Specific minority leaders: ** Minority Floor Leader of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, House Minority Leader (Philippines) ** Minority Floor Leader of the Senate of the Philippines, Senate Minority Leader (Philippines) ** Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, House Minority Leader (United States) ** Minority Leader of the United States Senate, Senate Minority Leader (United States)


References

{{reflist Leaders of the United States Congress Opposition leaders