A political agenda is one when a certain political party, group or individual is interested in furthering a cause, perhaps at the expense of other causes. In some cases, that cause could be for personal gain, as is the case with politicians who are often accused of protecting key voting blocks. In other cases, that could be for a more idealistic reason, such as those who believe an aggressive environmental policy is good for the country and planet.
In many cases, the term political agenda is viewed in a negative context. Often, the term implies that someone has refused to listen to the majority of the population, or at least the voting constituency, and moved forward with an action that most do not approve of. The accusation of a political agenda often may involve conspiracy theories or other conjectures that may have no basis in fact.
There have been a number of political agendas over the years that have been clearly distinguishable and talked about. President John F. Kennedy had a political agenda to return America to superiority in space, and vowed to put a man on the moon. President George W. Bush sought to take a hard line against terrorism. Health care reform was one of President Barack Obama's main points of emphasis. In each of these cases, critics have suggested there were ulterior reasons why these agendas were chosen.
If a group or individual is successful in getting a political agenda pushed through, they may still have to deal with the consequences of that situation. Not all political agendas prove to be unpopular. Putting a man on the moon was embraced by many in the United States during the 1960s, even at a time when the Vietnam War and other social issues threatened to tear the country apart. The future success of the politician pushing the agenda is often determined by the way that agenda is received.
To get a political agenda passed, several things often need to happen. First, the proponent of the agenda must make a case as to why it is needed. Then, he or she must amass a fair amount of support for it from others. Finally, he or she must use a public relations and education campaign to explain to the voters why there must be a change. Though the politician may not need broad-based support to get the political agenda passed, the more support, the less political capital he or she must spend in the process.