The Tempest

Not Exactly Shooting For \”Miss Congeniality\”

If you’re going to be one…know what it is!!

Posted by Daniel on Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wedge issue is a social or political issue, often of a divisive or otherwise controversial nature, which is used by one political group to split apart or create a “wedge” in the support base of an opposing political group, with a view to enticing voters to give their support to the first group. The use of wedge issues gives rise to wedge politics.A wedge issue may often be a point of internal dissent within the opposing party, and is typically a cultural or populist issue, relating to matters such as crime, national security, sexuality (e.g. gay marriage), or race. Another party may exploit this dissent by publicly supporting the issue, and in effect align itself with the dissenting faction of the opposing party. A wedge issue is intended to bring about such things as:

  • A debate, often vitriolic, within the opposing party, giving the public a perception of disarray.
  • The defection of supporters of the opposing party’s minority faction to the other party, should they lose the debate.
  • The legitimising of sentiment which, while perhaps popularly held, is usually considered inappropriate or politically incorrect; criticisms from the opposition then make it appear beholden to special interests or fringe ideology.

To prevent these three consequences from occurring, the opposing party may attempt to take a “pragmatic” stand and officially endorse the views of its minority faction. However, this can lead to the defection of supporters of the opposing party’s majority faction to a third party, should they lose the debate.

(From: )Just imagine the pink triangle as a wedge…like the one in the Trivial Pursuit game. You’re the wedge. And guess what? The Republicans are already using that wedge to scare – oops, I mean “energize” their religious base. It’s up to us to make sure that the Democratic candidates (are you listening, Hillary??) don’t fall into having to play this game. I want to hear a Democratic candidate say, “The gay community isn’t the issue here. Why are you using them to cover your lack of real policy agenda? Why can’t you just admit that?”Tell your candidates it’s time for them to debate real issues…and stay away from the wedges.


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