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[翻译]Words and Their Stories - How to Win an Election

来源:慢速英语   时间:2017-02-19 09:00:44

And now the VOA Learning English program -- Words and Their Stories.

On this show, we explore common expressions in American English.


Today we talk about expressions related to the biggest contest in the United States – the election of the American president.


Well, except for the first election. That was not much of a contest. On February 4, 1789, all 69 members of Congress voted for George Washington.

好吧,除了第一届选举,那次选举算不上一场大赛。1789年2月4日,所有69名国会议员投票给了乔治·华盛顿(George Washington)。

Supposedly, Washington didn’t even want to be president. John Adams was the runner-up. So, according to the rules at the time, Adams became Washington’s vice president.

据说华盛顿甚至不想成为总统。约翰·亚当斯(John Adams)是票选亚军。所以根据当时的规则,亚当斯成为了华盛顿的副总统。

Elections these days are much harder to win. They can last for years and cost millions and millions of dollars. So it is not surprising that there are many expressions to describe the race for the White House. That expression, in fact, is one of them.

如今的选举要赢很难。它们会持续多年并花费数百万美元。所以毫不奇怪,有很多表达来描述美国总统竞选(Race for the White House)。Race for the White House其实就是其中之一。

We often call political elections races, a word you probably know from sports. Many expressions we use for political campaigns are borrowed from sports competitions. In fact, sometimes we just cut to the chase and call the presidential election, a horse race.

我们通常称政治选举为races(竞选),一个你可能从运动中认识到的词汇。我们用于政治运动的很多表达都来自于体育比赛。事实上,我们有时候直接开门见山(cut to the chase)称总统选举为horse race。

If the race is close, we can say the candidates are neck-and-neck. This horse racing term means the two candidates are nearly tied in the polls and a winner is difficult to predict. We call such a race – political or otherwise – a dead heat.

如果竞选非常接近,我们就说候选人是齐头并进(neck-and-neck)。这个赛马术语是指两名候选人在民调上非常接近,很难预测谁会获胜。我们称这类无论是政治上还是其它方面的比赛为难分胜负(dead heat)。

After winning his election, President Donald Trump meets other world leaders. Here, he is pictured with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In the early part of an election cycle when a party is picking its nominee, usually many candidates are in the running. Sometimes a candidate pulls away from the pack and becomes the clear favorite.

在选举周期的早期阶段,当一个党派开始选择提名人,通常有很多候选人参与竞争(in the running)。有时候一位候选人会遥遥领先(pull away from the pack)成为热门人选(clear favorite)。

These two terms also come from horse racing. So does down to the wire.

以上两句术语也都来自于赛马。down to the wire(直到最后一刻)这句也是。

In a horse race, the horses race to the finish and run through a wire as they cross the finish line. A presidential race that is down to the wire is very close. The only way to know the winner is to wait for all the votes to be counted.


If a candidate wins the election by a large margin -- that is to say won by many, many votes -- he or she has won hands down. We also say the race was a landslide. Or you could say the race was simply no contest.

如果一位候选人大幅度赢得选举,也就是说赢了很多票,他(她)就是赢得一场唾手可得(hands down)的选举。我们也称这种竞选为一边倒的选举(landslide),或者你也可以说这场竞选毫无竞争( no contest)。

These expressions all mean a candidate won easily.


But if a candidate loses an election by a big margin, we could say that campaign got blown out of the water, as if by a submarine torpedo. Or we might say simply that the candidate got crushed at the polls. More informally, we might also say the candidate got beat like a rug, which is visually entertaining.

但是如果候选人大幅度输掉选举,我们可以说这场竞选被击溃(blow out of the water),就像被潜艇鱼雷击溃了。或者我们可以简单地说,这位候选人在投票中被击垮了(get crushed at the polls)。如果更为不正式,我们则可以说这位候选人一败涂地(got beat like a rug),这通常颇具视觉娱乐效果。

Some candidates lose an election because they are unwilling to toe the party the line. In other words, they refuse to go along with the rules and standards of their own political party. This may upset the candidate’s base -- the people who usually support that party.

一些候选人输掉选举,因为他们不愿意顺从该党派的路线(to toe the party the line)。换句话说,他们拒绝遵循自己政党的规定和标准。这可能会惹怒候选人的选民基础,也就是通常支持该党派的人群。

The opposite of toeing the party line is reaching across the aisle. In the U.S., the two major parties are the Democrats and the Republicans. In this expression, the “aisle” refers to the actual physical walkway that divides the legislative halls. Members of the two parties sit on opposite sides.

与不顺从该党派路线相反的是跨越两党分歧(reach across the aisle)。美国两个主要政党是民主党和共和党。在这句表达中,aisle是指划分立法厅的实际物理通道,两党成员各坐一边。

So “to reach across the aisle” means to make an effort to negotiate with members who are not in your party. Many politicians win elections because of their willingness to work with members of the opposing party. On the other hand, some politicians lose for the same reason.

因此,to reach across the aisle是指努力与非党内成员谈判。很多政治家赢得选举,就是因为他们愿意与反对党成员合作。另一方面,一些政客也因为同样的原因输掉选举。

Voters can, sometimes, be very difficult to predict.


And that brings us to the end of another Words and Their Stories.

I’m Anna Matteo.