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A politician is a person active in
party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or honor, or a person seeking or being considered for some kind of position; for example: * to be elected to a ...
, or a person holding or seeking an elected
seat SEAT S.A. (, ; ''Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo'') is a Spanish car manufacturer, which sells its vehicles under the SEAT and Cupra brands. It was founded on 9 May 1950, by the Instituto Nacional de Industria Instituto Nacional d ...
in
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
. Politicians propose, support, and create laws that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve
political power In social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refe ...
in the
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
.


Identity

Politicians are people who are politically active, especially in party politics. Political positions range from
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
s to
state government A state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
s to
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
s to international governments. All elected representatives are considered politicians.


Media and rhetoric

Politicians are known for their rhetoric, as in speeches or campaign advertisements. They are especially known for using common themes that allow them to develop their political positions in terms familiar to the voters. Politicians of necessity become expert users of the media. Politicians in the 19th century made heavy use of newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets, as well as posters. In the 20th century, they branched into radio and television, making television commercials the single most expensive part of an election campaign. In the 21st century, they have become increasingly involved with the social media based on the Internet and smartphones.
Rumor A rumor (American English), or rumour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences; derived from Latin:rumorem - noise), is "a tall tale of explanations of events circulating from person ...
has always played a major role in politics, with negative rumors about an opponent typically more effective than positive rumors about one's own side.


Government job and spoils

Once elected, the politician has to deal with
government officials An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an ...

government officials
and
government employees
government  employees
working for him/her. Historically, there has been a subtle conflict between the long-term goals of each side. In patronage-based systems, such as the United States in the 19th century, winning politicians replace the
government officials An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an ...

government officials
and
government employees
government employees
not protected under the
government job rules
government job rules
with their supporters. It was the "
spoils system In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social s ...
".
Government job
Government job
reform was initiated to eliminate the corruption of
government jobs The public sector (also called the state sector) is the part of the economy composed of both public services and public enterprises. Public sectors include public goods and governmental services such as the military, law enforcement, infrastructu ...

government jobs
. However, in many less developed countries, the spoils system is in full-scale operation today.


Careers and biographies

Mattozzi and Merlo argue that two main career paths are typically followed by politicians in modern democracies. First, come the career politicians. They are politicians who rule the
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
sector until retirement. Second, are the "political careerists". These are politicians who gain a reputation for expertise in ruling certain levels of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
such as International Governments ,
Federal Government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
s,
State Government A state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
s and
Local Government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
s, then leave politics and start a new
business venture Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity financing that is provided by venture capital firms or funds to start-up company, startups, early-stage, and emerging companies that have been deemed to have high growth potential or which have dem ...
making use of their political contacts. The personal histories of politicians have been frequently studied, as it is presumed that their experiences and characteristics shape their beliefs and behaviors. There are four pathways by which a politician's biography could influence their leadership style and abilities. The first is that biography may influence one's core beliefs, which are used to shape a
worldview upright=1.8, Religious practices will tie closely to a religion's worldview. A worldview or world-view is the fundamental cognitive Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thoug ...

worldview
. The second is that politicians' skills and competence are influenced by personal experience. The areas of skill and competence can define where they devote resources and attention as a leader. The third pathway is that biographical attributes may define and shape political incentives. A leader's previous profession, for example, could be viewed as of higher importance, causing a disproportionate investment of leadership resources to ensure the growth and health of that profession, including former colleagues. Other examples besides profession include the politician's innate characteristics, such as race or gender. The fourth pathway is how a politician's biography affects their public perception, which can, in turn, affect their leadership style. Female politicians, for example, may use different strategies to attract the same level of respect given to male politicians.


Characteristics

Numerous scholars have studied the characteristics of politicians, comparing those at the local and national levels, and comparing the more liberal or the more conservative ones, and comparing the more successful and less successful in terms of elections. In recent years, special attention has focused on the distinctive career path of women politicians. For example, there are studies of the "Supermadre" model in Latin American politics. Many politicians have the knack to remember thousands of names and faces and recall personal anecdotes about their constituents—it is an advantage in the job, rather like being seven-foot tall for a basketball player. United States Presidents
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
and
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
were renowned for their memories.


Criticism

Many critics attack politicians for being out of touch with the public. Areas of friction include how politicians speak, which has been described as being overly formal and filled with many euphemistic and metaphorical expressions and commonly perceived as an attempt to "obscure, mislead, and confuse".Invitation to Critical Thinking – Page 319, Vincent E. Barry – 2007 In the popular image, politicians are thought of as clueless, selfish, manipulators, liars, incompetents, and
corrupt Corruption, as defined by the World Bank, is a form of dishonesty or criminal offense undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one's private gain. Corruption ma ...
, taking money in exchange for goods or services, rather than working for the general public good.Arnold J. Heidenheimer and Michael Johnston, eds. ''Political corruption: Concepts and contexts'' (2011). Politicians in many countries are regarded as the "most hated professionals".


See also

*
Political campaign A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making progress within a specific group. In democracy, democracies, political campaigns often refer to election, electoral campaigns, by which representatives a ...

Political campaign
*
Political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...


References


Further reading

* Aberbach, Joel D., Robert D. Putnam, and Bert A. Rockman, eds., ''Bureaucrats and politicians in western democracies'' (Harvard University Press, 1981) * Heywood, Paul M. ed. ''Routledge Handbook of Political Corruption'' (2014) * Stebbins, Robert A. From Humility to Hubris among Scholars and Politicians: Exploring Expressions of Self-Esteem and Achievement. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, 2017. * Stebbins, Robert A. "Democracy’s Politicians: An Occupation Like no Other." Society, 56(5), 461–462, 2019, DOI 10.1007/s12115-019-00399-w. * Welch, Susan, John Gruhl, John Comer, and Susan M. Rigdon. ''Understanding American Government''. 8th ed. Belmont, USA: Thompson Wadsworth, 2006


External links

* * * {{Authority control Politician, Political Legal professions Positions of authority