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In horse racing terminology, a trifecta is a parimutuel bet in which the bettor must predict which horses will finish first, second, and third in exact order. The word comes from the related betting term, "perfecta". A trifecta is known as a tiercé in France and Hong Kong and as a tris in Italy.
It is also used in sports to describe scoring three points at one time (e.g. hat-trick), or succeeding at anything three times in three consecutive attempts, such as in cricket.
It is also used to describe a situation when three elements come together at the same time.
The term has been extended to the realm of politics, where it is used to describe a situation in which an executive of government appoints another elected official to a position and is also allowed to appoint his successor. This process can be chained together; in other words, the executive can appoint an elected official to a position, appoint another elected official to the other's previous position, and finally appoint anyone to the second official's position. The first permutation of this chain is called a "quadfecta".
The trifecta system is seen by many as a loophole in democracy, because it allows an executive to essentially override a choice by the voters. It is sometimes argued that this strategy can be mitigated by the fact that the system requires the agreement of all parties involved. Obviously, however, sufficient inducements, either of a negative or positive kind, can obviously motivate appointed officials to accept positions for reasons other than the public interest. For example, executives have been able to get around this by making the position offered a very financially lucrative or long-term one.
- ↑ Itkowitz, Colby (2010-03-15). "Specter trifecta in DC publication". Morning Call. http://blogs.mcall.com/penn_ave/2010/03/specter-trifecta-in-dc-publication.html.