The third rail of a nation's politics is a metaphor for any issue so controversial that it is "charged" and "untouchable" to the extent that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject will invariably suffer politically. The metaphor comes from the high-voltage third rail in some electric railway systems. It is most commonly used in North America. Though commonly attributed to Tip O'Neill, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives during the Reagan presidency, it seems to have been coined by O'Neill aide Kirk O'Donnell in 1982 in reference to Social Security.

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  • The third rail of a nation's politics is a metaphor for any issue so controversial that it is "charged" and "untouchable" to the extent that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject will invariably suffer politically. The metaphor comes from the high-voltage third rail in some electric railway systems. Touching a third rail can result in electrocution, so usage of the metaphor in political situations relates to the risk of "political suicide" that a person would face by raising certain taboo subjects or having points of view that are either censored, shunned or considered highly controversial or offensive to advocate or even mention. It is most commonly used in North America. Though commonly attributed to Tip O'Neill, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives during the Reagan presidency, it seems to have been coined by O'Neill aide Kirk O'Donnell in 1982 in reference to Social Security. (en)
  • サードレール(third rail、三番目のレールの意、第三軌条方式参照)はアメリカで用いられる言葉。議員や公務員が切り出すと常に物議を醸し非難されるような政策。電車の線路には、一部の地下鉄など電力を供給するために軌道脇に通電したレール(第三軌条)を設けているものがある。これに触れて感電することになぞらえ、非難を浴び政治的な地位を失いかねない政策をサードレールと呼ぶ。アメリカ以外にも(サードレールと呼ばれることはないが)同様の政策は各国に存在し、たとえば下記のうちの「社会保障の削減」「規制の対象になっている化学物質(麻薬の類)の合法化」は日本でも同様に政治的地位を失いかねない政策である。 (ja)
  • O ''terceiro trilho da política'' é uma metáfora para qualquer assunto tão polêmico que é "carregado" e "intocável" na medida em que qualquer político ou funcionário público quem ouse abordar o assunto, invariavelmente, sofre politicamente. É mais comumente usado na América do Norte. Apesar de comumente atribuído a Tip O'Neill, Orador dos Estados Unidos câmara dos deputados durante o governo Reagan , parece ter sido cunhado pelo ajudante de O'Neill, Kirk O'Donnell, em 1982, em referência à Segurança Social. A metáfora vem do terceiro trilho de alta tensão em alguns sistemas de trens. Tocar nele geralmente resulta em eletrocussão, e o uso do termo na política relaciona-se com o risco de "morte política" que um político teria de enfrentar, por abordar certos assuntos. (pt)
  • 第三轨道政治,又被称为第三轨道问题(Third Rail Issues),或简称第三轨道(Third Rail),是指政治上极具争议的问题,不能碰。任何政治人物如触碰这类问题,将不可避免地付出政治上的昂贵代价。在美国,这类问题包括社会安全系统的改革、批评以色列、枪支管制,等等; 在加拿大,这类问题包括健保制度的改革;在台湾,类似于“第三轨道”的问题有如统独问题。此短语源于铁路上的第三轨,因其承载高电压,如果不慎接触,将触电甚至丧命。故触及第三轨道问题又有“政治自杀”之说。 (zh)
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  • サードレール(third rail、三番目のレールの意、第三軌条方式参照)はアメリカで用いられる言葉。議員や公務員が切り出すと常に物議を醸し非難されるような政策。電車の線路には、一部の地下鉄など電力を供給するために軌道脇に通電したレール(第三軌条)を設けているものがある。これに触れて感電することになぞらえ、非難を浴び政治的な地位を失いかねない政策をサードレールと呼ぶ。アメリカ以外にも(サードレールと呼ばれることはないが)同様の政策は各国に存在し、たとえば下記のうちの「社会保障の削減」「規制の対象になっている化学物質(麻薬の類)の合法化」は日本でも同様に政治的地位を失いかねない政策である。 (ja)
  • 第三轨道政治,又被称为第三轨道问题(Third Rail Issues),或简称第三轨道(Third Rail),是指政治上极具争议的问题,不能碰。任何政治人物如触碰这类问题,将不可避免地付出政治上的昂贵代价。在美国,这类问题包括社会安全系统的改革、批评以色列、枪支管制,等等; 在加拿大,这类问题包括健保制度的改革;在台湾,类似于“第三轨道”的问题有如统独问题。此短语源于铁路上的第三轨,因其承载高电压,如果不慎接触,将触电甚至丧命。故触及第三轨道问题又有“政治自杀”之说。 (zh)
  • The third rail of a nation's politics is a metaphor for any issue so controversial that it is "charged" and "untouchable" to the extent that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject will invariably suffer politically. The metaphor comes from the high-voltage third rail in some electric railway systems. It is most commonly used in North America. Though commonly attributed to Tip O'Neill, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives during the Reagan presidency, it seems to have been coined by O'Neill aide Kirk O'Donnell in 1982 in reference to Social Security. (en)
  • O ''terceiro trilho da política'' é uma metáfora para qualquer assunto tão polêmico que é "carregado" e "intocável" na medida em que qualquer político ou funcionário público quem ouse abordar o assunto, invariavelmente, sofre politicamente. É mais comumente usado na América do Norte. Apesar de comumente atribuído a Tip O'Neill, Orador dos Estados Unidos câmara dos deputados durante o governo Reagan , parece ter sido cunhado pelo ajudante de O'Neill, Kirk O'Donnell, em 1982, em referência à Segurança Social. (pt)
rdfs:label
  • Third rail of politics (en)
  • サードレール (政治用語) (ja)
  • Terceiro trilho da política (pt)
  • 第三轨道政治 (zh)
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