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pol•i•tick•ing(ˈpɒl ɪˌtɪk ɪŋ)
barnstorm To make a whirlwind campaign drumming up political support and enthusiasm. The term nearly always appears in its participle or gerund form. Its current political use shows up as early as 1896 in the Congressional Record, but its origin is theatrical, referring to itinerant troupes or players who performed in barns to appreciative (and unsophisticated) audiences. Hence it still carries the connotation that such campaigning is done in remote, rural areas or small towns.
filibuster See TEMPORIZING.
logrolling See RECIPROCITY.
mend one’s fences To renew or reinforce one’s position or esteem through diplomacy; to engage in political wirepulling. This American political slang purportedly originated just prior to the 1880 presidential elections, when John Sherman, an aspirant of the executive office, left Congress and retreated to his Ohio farm to develop campaign strategy. While he was repairing a fence one day with his brother-in-law Colonel Morton, a reporter approached Morton and inquired about Sherman’s activities. Colonel Morton replied that Sherman was obviously mending his fences. Although the expression occasionally carries the nonpolitical sense of trying to make one’s peace with another, its more common use describes the standard pre-election attempts of public officeholders to re-establish communication with the voters.
An early adjournment of the session is deemed essential in order that the members may go home to mend their fences, as the saying is. (Forum, April, 1906)
mud-slinging See SLANDER.
politics makes strange bedfellows See EXPEDIENCE.
pork barrel See GRAFT.
take to the hustings To campaign or electioneer; to take to the stump; to barnstorm, to conduct a whistle-stop tour. The hustings of this expression refers to the platform from which political speeches are made; earlier it specifically meant the platform from which candidates for the British parliament stood for nomination. Its oldest antecedents are in the Norse word for the assembly hall of a king, from which the term came to be applied to assembly meetings in general. Today it is associated with political speechmaking exclusively.
An unpopular candidate had frequently to beat a hasty retreat from the hustings. (Samuel C. Hall, Retrospect of a Long Life, 1883)
take to the stump To tour the country making political speeches; to harangue, to rant. This Americanism is from the days when the stump of a felled tree was used as a platform from which political speeches were delivered.