This defines most political discourse in the U.S.

ad hominem (ad hom·i·nem): / ad HOM uh nuhm / (always italicized)

(1) appealing to prejudices, special interests, beliefs, or emotions rather than one’s reason or intellect
(2) marked by attacking an opponents character rather than responding to their arguments or contentions


(1) in a manner that appeals to emotions, prejudices, beliefs, or special interests rather than intellect or reason
(2) in a manner that attacks one’s character rather than addressing their arguments or contentions


(1) a personal attack (journalistic)

[From Latin ad hominem meaning “to the person” (literally “to the man”).]

Usage: I’ve grown weary of the ad hominem attacks among political candidates, for they serve no other purpose except to shield potential civil servants from directly addressing the issues that matter most to the citizenry.

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