Political suicide

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Political suicide is the concept that a politician or political party would lose widespread support and confidence from the voting public by proposing actions that are seen as unfavourable or that might threaten the status quo. A politician who is seen as having committed political suicide might be forced to resign from external public pressure (such as the threat of civil unrest) or from internal pressure from superiors or colleagues.

A political party as a whole could also lose much of its public support by deviating greatly from its core values and policies from which the party was founded on. For example "The longest suicide note in history" is an epithet originally used by United Kingdom Labour Party MP Gerald Kaufman[1] to describe his party's left-wing 1983 election manifesto. While natural deviation in policy is expected as history progresses, demographics change, and new challenges present themselves, too strong of an unexpected deviation from core values can be unpalatable to base supporters, resulting in a major loss of public confidence.

Another term for such policies are "the third rail".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mann, Nyta (2003-07-14). "Foot's message of hope to left". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary "Politicide" (subscription or UK public library membership required)