“Red meat” is a term used in politics to refer to statements or policies that are designed to appeal to a political party’s base or to generate a strong emotional response from voters.
These statements or policies often involve controversial or divisive issues, such as immigration or gun control, and are meant to stir up strong feelings among supporters.
Red meat is often seen as a way for politicians to energize their base and rally support for their campaign or agenda. It can also be used to attack an opponent or to draw attention to a particular issue or serve as a wedge issue.
However, red meat can also be controversial and divisive, as it often involves stoking fear or resentment among voters. This can lead to negative consequences, such as increasing polarization and worsening political discourse.
Red meat is often associated with political campaigning, but it can also be used by politicians in office to push for particular policies or to score political points. It can be seen as a way for politicians to appeal to the more extreme elements of their party, rather than trying to build consensus or find common ground with opponents.
Red meat is often used by politicians in the form of speeches or campaign ads, where they can use strong language and rhetoric to stir up emotions among supporters. It can also take the form of policy proposals or legislation that is designed to appeal to a party’s base, even if it is unlikely to pass or be implemented.
The phrase was first seen in 1911 in the movie industry, describing movies that were sensationalized. It shifted into a political term in the 1940s.
A quote from the Baltimore Sun shows one of its first uses:
Most of the audiences… were looking for red meat in Dewey’s carefully reasoned discussions of world affairs. Since he disdained mudslinging they seized upon his withering treatment of bureaucracy and governmental incompetence as a satisfactory substitute.
Today, red meat is often associated with right-wing populist campaigns. Things that get crowds riled up and angry — such as Donald Trump’s “Lock Her Up” chants during the 2016 presidential election — are good examples of red meat.
Uses of “red meat”
The candidate’s speech was filled with red meat, as she attacked her opponent on hot-button issues to rally her supporters.
The politician’s proposal to build a wall along the southern border was pure red meat, designed to appeal to his party’s base.
Critics accused the politician of using red meat tactics to distract from the real issues and to divide the country.