Dishonest politics was used

Unfortunately, dishonest politics (was, were) used to win the election.

Which to select and why?


“…politics was used…” because politics is usually treated as a singular noun similar to “news”.


I would go for the plural (were) because, here, the word ‘politics’ means political manipulations or activities. Usually, it is treated as the name of a subject of study or a domain of service or occupation, in which case it is used with the singular verb.


I tend to think of politics as the collection of political actions and philosophy, and so it would be singular.

The term dishonest politics is a bit confusing to me because I think of politics not as just a collection of actions, but including the politician’s philosophy and goals. Here, I think the writer is talking about specific political actions that were part of the campaign, and maybe that would be a better term. Others terms could be dirty politics and dirty tricks,

(I’m surprised nobody proposed that dishonest politics is redundant. I certainly wouldn’t say that, of course.)