Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
Elector: One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man of another man’s choice.
Vote: The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.
Politician: An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared.
Conservative: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from a Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.
Incumbent: A person of the liveliest interest to the outcumbents.
President: The leading figure in a small group of men of whom–and of whom only–it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.
Senate: A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
Representative: In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.
Opposition: …the party that prevents the Government from running amok by hamstringing it.
Capitol: The seat of misgovernment.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911