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dog-whistle politics


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Communicating political ideas such that only a small group of voters understands them as they are meant to be understood, usually involving contentious subject matter


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  • See also long conversation on dog-whistle.

    July 11, 2009

  • The communication of a political message intended to affirm solidarity with a particular constituency without catching the attention of other constituencies, especially those that might be offended.

    In reviewing President-elect Barack Obama's past stands on education policy as an indicator of whom he would choose as Secretary of Education, columnist David Brooks used the term in its hyphenated form. “Sometimes, he flirted with the union positions. At other times, he practiced dog-whistle politics, sending out reassuring signals that only the reformers could hear.�? (Brooks, David. 2008. Who Will He Choose? New York Times, Dec 5. Accessed from

    July 11, 2009

  • A concealed, coded, or unstated idea, usually divisive or politically dangerous, nevertheless understood by the intended voters. (Double-Tongued Dictionary)

    May 18, 2008