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slow-walk

In politics, “slow walk” is a term used to describe an effort to prevent legislation or a political process from moving forward by intentionally slowing it down to a crawl. Another similar term is “obstructionism.”

The origin of …

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slogan

A short and catchy phrase used to promote a candidate or idea. Slogans attempt to be memorable so that people remember the person behind them more easily.

Examples of slogans used for candidates are: I Like Ike (Eisenhower); Make America …

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rattle the cage

To “rattle the cage” is an attempt to get attention, often through annoying, angering, or protesting.

In politics, rattling the cage of a politician or party typically happens when a large group of people get together to protest and demand …

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one-house bill

A one-house bill is introduced by a legislator for the purpose of grandstanding or to demonstrate their effort to fulfill political promises without the ability to actually pass the bill into law.

One-house bills are often introduced to congress by …

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obstructionism

The act of deliberately stalling, delaying, or preventing legislation from being passed. It has a negative connotation, as politicians do not want to be seen as preventing progress.

Obstructionist politicians are typically either a a party with control of one …

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amen corner

In politics, the “amen corner” refers to the most fervent supporters of a politician or an ideology.

The term originally was used in a religious context. Inside a church, the “amen corner” referred to the section where the most devout …

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red meat

“Red meat” is rhetoric on an issue used to inflame supporters. It is often associated with populist ideas and campaigns.

The phrase was first seen in 1911 in the movie industry, describing movies that were sensationalized. It shifted into a …

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smear

To smear someone is to use false information or accusations to harm their reputation.

A smear campaign in politics is repeated uses of smears in an attempt to try to damage someone’s reputation, typically to make them lose an election.…

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red state

A “red state” is one whose voters elect primarily Republican candidates. It is the opposite of a blue state.

There are different levels of how ‘red’ a state can be. If a Republican candidate wins the vote in that …

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samizdat

A form of underground press commonly available in eastern European countries with state-owned media sources. Samizdat typically is a grassroots way to distribute censored content to citizens who otherwise would not have access to this material.  It can take many …

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sit-in

A form of peaceful protest that involves sitting down and occupying space, often preventing access to a business or public space.

Sit-ins are a common form of protest in the US, and have been around since the late 1930s. During …

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sandbagging

Sandbagging is deceptive behavior intended to lower someone’s expectations so that they can be taken by surprise later.

Typically, sandbagging involves lulling someone into a false sense of security and then taking advantage of them. It’s an act of psychological

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salami tactics

“Salami tactics” refers to a divide and conquer approach, which aims to split up the opposition. The expression evokes the idea of slicing up one’s opposition in the same way as one might slice up a salami.

The phrase was

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movers and shakers

Those who have power and influence in business, politics, or other segments of the public sphere. Party leadership, committee leaders, or people with influence among certain demographics can all be considered movers and shakers.

The term was coined by 19th …

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off the record

A term used in journalism meaning that the information given to the reporter cannot be attributed to the person saying it. Off the record quotes are often used to protect sources who are giving information that could get them in …

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limousine liberal

A pejorative for wealthy liberals who do not want to bear the cost of the liberal policies they support. It is typically used by populists to criticize the rich members of the Democratic Party.

Examples of a limousine liberal include …

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sharp-elbowed

In politics, the term “sharp-elbowed” refers to being aggressive and assertive when it comes to pursuing a legislative agenda or pushing one’s point of view.

The phrase is traditionally intended to describe a positive attribute in a politician, suggesting that …

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grifter

A grifter is a con artist, someone who obtains money by swindling or tricking others. In politics, the word refers to people who use the political process as a way to enrich themselves.

Merriam Webster notes that the word first …

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separate but equal

The infamous justification for the decision in Plessy v Ferguson, the case that formally legalized segregation. The justification behind the decision was that segregation was Constitutional as long as both black and white Americans had equal protection under the law.…

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pussyfoot

To “pussyfoot” is to proceed with caution; to move warily but steadily.; or sidestep an issue as to not take a side. It is almost always used in a pejorative sense and, as such, its synonyms include equivocating, hedging, or …

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all things to all men

“All things to all men” is a phrase applied to politicians who seem to be making contradictory promises and statements so that they can appeal to the broadest possible group of voters. The expression is usually derogatory; it carries roughly …

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pol

A “pol” is shorthand word for politician.

Occasionally, it is used to describe anyone active in politics, including experts and political junkies.…

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youthquake

A “youthquake” is aocial, cultural, or political change brought about by young people. In politics, it is typically used to mean a surge of young voters in a key election.

The term originated in the fashion industry in 1965, when …

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puppet state

A “puppet state” is a country that claims to be independent, but is controlled by an outside state or other power. Puppet states are not recognized by international law.

A puppet state has the appearance of being independent. It typically …

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mollycoddle

In a political context, the term “mollycoddle” means to treat certain constituents or voters in an almost absurdly overprotective way. Typically used in the context of the “welfare state” and those who feel entitled to government assistance, those who have …

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cromnibus

A “cromnibus” bill is legislation which combines a long-term omnibus spending bill with a shorter-term continuing resolution.

Marketplace: “It’s that time of year again. No, not the holidays, but Congress’ annual maneuvering to pass a budget. It has to …

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lid

A “lid” is what White House press secretaries use to indicate that there will be no news coming out of the White House that day. It can also be called a “Full Lid.”

The White House sometimes calls a lid …

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nut-cutting time

A time when drastic actions are required, because all other methods have failed. The phrase is used in sports as well as in politics.

Nut-cutting time is similar to “crunch time” – it’s a moment when the stakes are high …

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robocall

A “robocall” is an automated telephone call that delivers a prerecorded message to multiple phone numbers. Typically, robocalls are used for mass messaging.

In politics, robocall are used in campaigning. Robocalls are sent out to potential voters, and the fact …

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