What Did You Just Say? The Weird ABCs of Politics

What does it all mean?  And why does it sound like a bunch of made-up words…because it is. Political commentary has a language of its own, many of the components coming from precedents set by past political figures.  Let’s take a look at some of these wacky words and phrases:

Bully Pulpit: The Presidency, when describing the President to inspire or moralize. Whenever the President seeks to rouse the American people, he is said to be speaking from the bully pulpit.

Caucus: Either a meeting at which local members of a political party register their preference among candidates running for office or select delegates to attend a convention, or a conference of members of a legislative body who belong to a particular party or faction.

Coattails: The power of a popular candidate to gather support for other candidates in their party. Winning candidates are said to have coattails when they drag candidates for lower office along with them to victory.

Demagogue: A leader whose impassioned rhetoric appeals to greed, fear, and hatred, and who often spreads lies.

Filibuster: An action, such as a prolonged speech, that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly while not technically contravening the required procedures.

Gerrymander: The reorganization of voting districts by the party in power to insure more votes for their candidates.

Gubernatorial: Relating to a state governor or the office of state governor.

Incumbent: A current officeholder.

Impunity: Exemption from punishment or freedom from injurious consequences of an action.

Lame Duck: An officeholder whose term has expired or cannot be continued and thus has lessened power.

Malfeasance: Wrongful conduct of a public official.

Pork Barrel: Wasteful and unnecessary projects that politicians secure for their local districts, usually to gain favor with local voters.

Pundit: A political analyst, commentator, or columnist.

Sequester: A cut in government spending.

Stump: Campaigning in-person on a local level.

Trial Balloon: An suggestion a politician makes in order to observe the reaction. If public reaction is favorable, they take credit for it; if not, the idea dies quickly.

Whistle-Stopping: The practice of making speeches in as many towns as possible in a short time, often during a single day.

So what’s your favorite news channel word that never gets brought up in personal life??

-MK

 

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