play the card

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.

play the — card

exploit the specified issue or idea mentioned, especially for political advantage.
This expression comes from the view expressed in 1886 by Lord Randolph Churchill that, concerning Irish Home Rule, ‘the Orange card would be the one to play’.
1998 Edinburgh Student The SNP, who dominate the Scottish independence campaign, argue that they do not play the race card.
See also: card, play