Definition of Partisan

Think of the word “partisan” as someone being a super fan of a particular political team. Just like sports fans who wear jerseys and cheer for their favorite team, a partisan person shows unwavering support for a specific political party or person. These folks are kind of like members of a fan club, but for politics. They stick to their favorite team no matter what.

Another way to understand “partisan” is to see it as picking a side in a big debate and sticking to that side very strongly. If you were partisan, you would wave the flag for your political team, talk about how great they are, and really believe in their ideas and promises. Being partisan isn’t about being unsure or sitting on the fence; it’s betting all your chips on red or blue, Republican or Democrat, and not changing your mind.

Examples of Partisan

  • Political Parties: People often show their partisanship by aligning with a political party like the Republicans or Democrats. They do this because they truly believe that party’s ideas match their own thoughts and feelings about what’s best for the country.
  • Politicians: Politicians, such as senators, are typically partisan because they represent a political party and fight for that party’s beliefs. A Democratic senator, for instance, will generally push for laws and policies that align with Democratic viewpoints.
  • Media Outlets: Certain news channels and newspapers demonstrate partisanship by favoring one political party through their reporting. Fox News often presents news with a Republican perspective, while MSNBC is viewed as having a Democratic slant.
  • Citizens: Regular people can be partisan as well when they get behind a particular political party with enthusiasm and dedication. They might vote only for that party’s candidates and defend the party’s views with friends and family.

Why is it Important?

Partisanship can bring people together and help them find a community with shared values. It’s like finding people who cheer for the same soccer team as you—it builds a sense of belonging. When people feel they’re on a team, they might become more active politically, like casting their vote, which is super important in places where the government is chosen by the people, like in the United States.

Moreover, this kind of dedication to a party helps simplify the complicated world of politics for voters. Instead of trying to study every candidate, they trust their party’s choices. However, it’s worth noting that this trust can sometimes mean not seeing the full picture or considering other good ideas just because they come from a different side.


The word “partisan” has its roots in the French language, originally denoting a leader of a group of soldiers. However, when talking about politics in America, it began with the early wrangling between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists back in the late 18th century. These two groups clashed over how they thought America should be run, and these clashes were the start of the party system we know today.


The controversies of being partisan come in many forms. It’s beneficial to political parties themselves as it creates a loyal group of followers who will always back them. Yet, this loyalty can go too far, making people unwilling to listen to others or cooperate with anyone from the rival party. This stubbornness can cause massive stalemates in places like Congress, leading to a government that struggles to get anything done.

Partisanship can also mean turning a blind eye to mistakes made by one’s own party. If someone’s so devoted to their team that they refuse to admit when the team messes up, it can be dicey. It can result in leaders not being held accountable for their actions, which isn’t great for anyone.

Other Important Aspects

During elections, partisans are the lifeblood of campaigns. They are the ones most often voting, supporting with their money, and telling others to join in the support. Partisans may have the potential to create a divide, but they’re also crucial players in keeping democracy lively and competitive.

Even the courtroom isn’t immune to partisanship. Sometimes judges get appointed because of their political opinions, and this can make people wonder if court decisions are truly fair. The impact of partisanship stretches beyond politicians and voters—it can influence many parts of society.

Another thing to remember is that partisanship also means being very much against the other political party. This opposition can sometimes lead to negative campaigns that focus more on criticizing opponents than discussing positive plans and ideas.

Related Topics

  • Polarization: This is when two sides in politics move so far apart in their beliefs that they can hardly agree on anything. Imagine two friends who start to like really different music and can’t stand each other’s playlists—that’s polarization in politics.
  • Bipartisanship: Bipartisanship is when different political parties find a way to work together. It’s like two soccer teams deciding to team up and play a charity match. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it can lead to some great results for everyone.
  • Political Ideology: These are the core beliefs that guide someone’s political preferences, kind of like a personal rule book for what they think is right or wrong in governing a country.

In conclusion, being partisan is like being dedicated to your absolute favorite sports team but in the world of politics. It creates a sense of unity among people with the same political views and encourages them to be active in the political process. While it has its upsides in rallying support and making voting decisions simpler, excessive partisanship can lead to stubbornness and political gridlock, which hinders progress. By understanding partisanship, young people can better navigate the complex and sometimes contentious landscape of politics.