What is numbers racket?

Famous quotes containing the words racket and/or numbers:

    To dine, drink champagne, raise a racket and make speeches about the people’s consciousness, the people’s conscience, freedom and so forth while servants in tails are scurrying around your table, just like serfs, and out in the severe cold on the street await coachmen—this is the same as lying to the holy spirit.
    Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860–1904)

    The principle of majority rule is the mildest form in which the force of numbers can be exercised. It is a pacific substitute for civil war in which the opposing armies are counted and the victory is awarded to the larger before any blood is shed. Except in the sacred tests of democracy and in the incantations of the orators, we hardly take the trouble to pretend that the rule of the majority is not at bottom a rule of force.
    Walter Lippmann (1889–1974)