divide and govern

divide and govern

To gain or maintain power by fomenting discord among people so that they do not unite in opposition. Sometimes used as a modifier before a noun. The despot held onto power by dividing and governing, keeping any would-be opponents fractured and powerless through effective disinformation campaigns. The extremist faction has taken a distinct divide-and-govern approach. They turned the other parties against each other, giving them the chance to rise to power.
See also: and, divide, govern
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.