A political scandal occurs when a person or set of people who have either power or influence are uncovered to have engaged in pernicious conduct that puts a nation at risk. McCarthyism was an attempt to point out that people in high places had been Communists and that they continued to hold their positions of influence until they were uncovered by McCarthy. Watergate was a scandal because it was uncovered that President Nixon and his men had tried to undermine the American electoral system. Sometimes the evidence of a scandal is unclear, as when McCarthy just flashed sheets of paper proclaiming them to be lists of traitors working in the State Department, and sometimes the details are elaborately spelled out, which happened with the Senate Watergate Committee.

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