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Going Rogue

The term “going rogue” is used to describe a situation where a politician breaks with established norms and party lines.

This can involve expressing views that diverge from the party’s official stance, pursuing personal interests over those of the party or organization, or taking actions that are not sanctioned or approved by the party leadership.

The term was was popularized during Sarah Palin’s 2008 vice presidential bid. Later, Palin even gave her memoir the title.

What it means to “go rogue”

In some cases, it may reflect a genuine disagreement with the party’s position on a particular issue.

In others, it may be a strategic move designed to attract attention, appeal to certain constituents, or advance personal ambitions.

It can also be a response to perceived constraints or frustrations within the party or organization.

The impact of “going rogue” can bring attention to overlooked issues, challenge established norms, or shake up the political discourse in a way that some might find refreshing or necessary.

It can also boost a politician’s profile, particularly if their actions resonate with the public or media.

However, “going rogue” can also lead to disruption and instability. It can also lead to sanctions or repercussions for the individual, ranging from loss of party privileges to expulsion from the party.

“Going rogue” often carries a negative connotation, suggesting a degree of recklessness or even disloyalty.

More on “going rogue”

Like so many other expressions, it emanates from the spy world and has survived because of its coolness.

To Palin, it was a point of pride in showing her independence. But Republicans have sought to return it to a more sinister context in criticizing what they see as the fecklessness of President Barack Obama.

“Instead of working with Congress to fix the problems in cur-rent K-12 education law, the Obama administration chose to go rogue, granting temporary waivers in exchange for implement-ing the president’s preferred reforms,” said Minnesota Republican John Kline, chairman of the House Education and Work-force Committee, in July 2013.

From Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes © 2014 Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark.

Use of “going rogue” in a sentence:

  • Despite warnings from party leadership, the senator decided to go rogue, publicly opposing the party’s stance on the controversial legislation.
  • The candidate’s decision to go rogue and launch an independent campaign after losing the party’s nomination caused a significant rift within the party.
  • Accusations of going rogue were leveled at the council member when she unexpectedly voted against the proposed budget, breaking ranks with her fellow party members.