In the days of the Roman Empire, emperors kept the voters happy by providing them with "bread and circus". They put gladiators, lions and even Christians in the arena to fight to the death. They called this sport!
In modern times, politicians put themselves in the arena with their competitors, in a race to see who becomes the President of the United States. Their weapons are speeches, debates, TV commercials, and articles in the press. Their barbs are verbal ones, but they can kill a candidacy just as quickly as a sword could lop off the head of a gladiator in Ancient Rome.