Thursday, March 01, 2012

Jump on the bandwagon

This term refers to people who join a growing movement in support of something or someone, usually in an opportunist way, when the movement becomes successful. This is very popular during election campaigns.

P.T. Barnum bandwagon
The term bandwagon originates from the 19th century in reference to the wagon that carried the band (people were really inventive when it came to names back then). These wagons were popular with the traveling circuses that traveled throughout the U.S. Many politicians noticed that circus workers were skilled at attracting attention so they decided to incorporate the highly decorated bandwagons into their election campaigns.

As the bandwagons went down the street many would jump on the bandwagon in order to show their support. Eventually the term switched to a more metaphorical use when bandwagons as a campaigning tool became less popular.

In an election campaign if you are tempted to jump on the bandwagon just remember your principles and don’t bow to popular demand. On the other hand, if you prefer, you can just imagine yourself at the circus since we all know that is what most election campaigns end up being.

Thank you to Darren for the suggestion.