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What would be a single word for the process in which political parties (or other groups that have something to gain) embrace and extend (and maybe corrupt) the ideas of a political movement that started and grew outside of the regular channels? Recuperate?

  • This question appears to be off-topic because it asks for a term covering disparate ideas. – Edwin Ashworth May 4 '14 at 22:44
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Perhaps you want the word co-opt.

Merriam-Webster gives:

a : to take into a group (as a faction, movement, or culture) : absorb, assimilate. the students are co–opted by a system they serve even in their struggle against it — A. C. Danto

b : take over, appropriate. a style co–opted by advertisers

Appropriate (as a verb, pronounced with a long final a, to rhyme with state) may also serve your purpose.

Recuperate is almost always used to mean "to recover from an illness". Its alternate meaning of "to recover something that was lost" doesn't fit here either. Merriam-Webster also gives "to bring back into use or currency : revive" but that seems very uncommon, and is no better.

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    And major political parties the world over are very good at co-opting movements that threaten to split their core of support. This may be more pronounced in the US where the "winner takes all" structure of electrons casuses a tendency toward having exactly two major parties at any given time. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten May 5 '14 at 3:18
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    @dmckee: The structure of electrons? Well, you're the particle physicist, so I'll take your word for it... – Nate Eldredge May 5 '14 at 16:33
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If you want to focus on the "corrupt" portion, you could use bastardize:

to modify especially by introducing discordant or disparate elements
from m-w.com

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Also to to adopt may fit you description:

  • To take up and make one's own: adopt a new idea.
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Consider "pick up" and "seize upon."

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