What does a litmus test mean in politics?
Can you please give a good example?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
It means having a specific position on one particular issue that must be met in order for the person/bill/whatever to be even considered.
The most common example would be whether the President uses the abortion issue as a "litmus test" when selecting a nominee for a Supreme Court position. So, if he IS using the abortion issue as a litmus test he would only consider selecting a nominee who has clearly demonstrated that they will legislate in favor of outlawing abortion.
- sagacious_nessLv 71 decade ago
As others have said, using an issue as a 'litmus test' means using that issue as the basis for a decision. An example can be found in Article VI of the Constitution, which prohibits the use of religion as a basis qualify or disqualify a person for office:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."Source(s): US Constitution and Bill of Rights: http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constituti...
- Anonymous1 decade ago
In common usage it means that a person must have a particular view on a particular subject in order to be considered for a position. Many people have a litmus test for their presidential candidate: abortion, one way or the other; gay rights, one way or the other; for the war, against the war, whatever. If ONE issue would cause you to vote for or against a candidate, that is commonly considered a litmus test.
I hope this helps.
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
A "litmus test" is a chemistry lab test use to sort acids and bases. It is an obvious reaction and an old one. Of itself, it has nothing to do whatever with politics.
The term "litmus test" has been applied to several non-science situations and it merely means that something will be shown to be true or false in a given situation. When you read it, consider it only as you would consider the word "test" since the word "litmus" would have no actual meaning except to infer that the test would be considered a "serious" test or an "ultimate" test or a "final" test.
 r u randy? 
- Dan the TEA ManLv 61 decade ago
A litmus test means that you one overriding issue (abortion, for example) and you judge all candidates by their position on that one issue.
The phrase "litmus test" actually comes from the world of chemistry. Litmus paper is used to determine if a liquid is acidic, alkaline, or neutral.
- Bon MotLv 61 decade ago
It's basing your vote on a single issue. For instance, you vote for someone because they promise to totally abolish abortion. You may be willing to concede on other issues, but that is the one issue that you are steadfast on. Only a candidate that supports totally abolishing abortion passes your litmus test.
- Anonymous4 years ago
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Religion doesn't need to be taken out of government but those who are elected in political office need to be aware of not letting their own personal beliefs cause them to judge others or pass legislation that would negatively affect someone who doesn't believe what they believe. There needs to be a separation of church and state, not a disassociation. Meaning we can have both, but we can't let personal religious beliefs guide political or judicial decisions. Now I'm talking about religion, not morality. Obviously we want morally strong people who are compassionate, caring, and have a sense of values to make those important decisions. For most people that sense of morality comes from religious beliefs. But there are plenty of atheists and agnostics with strong moral convictions who are just as capable as anyone else of leading us, just as there are plenty of religious people with twisted beliefs that would lead us down a path of destruction. This is purely hypothetical but let's say Mitt Romney is elected and because he's a Mormon who doesn't consume alcohol he decides to bring back prohibition. That's what I mean about not letting religious beliefs control political or judicial decisions.
- 1 decade ago
I understand it to be a sort of practical (political) "testing the water" of something that has been previously untried.
An example would be someone inexperienced who decided to run for local or national office. In this case the "litmus test" would be the vote or first round of voting.
It could also describe a new political policy of decision that was to be implimented.