Wedge Issue Law and Legal Definition

Wedge issue is an issue that a politician might raise in order to drive a wedge between different groups within his opponent's supporter base.

Wedge issues can be advertised, publicly aired, and otherwise emphasized by an opposing political group, in an attempt to weaken the unity of the divided group, or to entice voters in the divided group to give their support to the opposing group. The use of wedge issues gives rise to wedge politics.

An example of a wedge issue might be same-sex marriage: Republicans might propose to ban it in order to attract voters who support the Democrats on most economic issues, but who feel strongly about social issues. Conversely, Democrats might highlight their more liberal position on abortion, in an attempt to win over pro-choice Republicans.