Definition of Gotcha Politics

What is the definition of the term "gotcha politics"? What does the term "gotcha politics" mean?

"Gotcha politics" is when you spend most of your time trying to lure your opponent into committing some sort of gaffe or mistake, rather than focusing on building your own campaign.

Definition of Gotcha Politics - Financial Dictionary - ElectionsFor instance - let's say that there is a Presidential debate. Let's say that instead of extolling the virtues of their own campaigns, the two candidates for President instead focus on trying to lure their opponents into making mistakes. If a mistake is made, campaign advertisements will be focused on pointing out the opponent's mistakes or gaffes.

Let's look at an example of "gotcha politics":

During a debate, Democratic candidate Joe Smith asks Republican candidate Mark Jones if he supports the military. Jones is taken aback by the question, and responds "Of course".

Smith then points out that Jones voted twice against bills that would have improved benefits for veterans. "How can you support the military", Smith says, "if you voted twice to limit benefits to veterans?"

This is "gotcha politics", as Smith is hoping to put Jones in an uncomfortable position by bringing up Jones' past voting record and comparing it to his words in the debate.

"Gotcha politics" and negative ads dominate the political landscape these days.

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