Princeton University Library Catalog

Democracy for hire : a history of American political consulting / Dennis W. Johnson.

Author:
Johnson, Dennis W. [Browse]
Format:
Book
Language:
English
Published/​Created:
  • New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2017]
  • ©2017
Description:
xiii, 591 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Summary note:
  • "Though they work largely out of the public eye, political consultants-"image merchants" and "kingmakers" to candidates-play a crucial role in shaping campaigns. They persuaded Barry Goldwater to run for president, groomed former actor Ronald Reagan for the California governorship, helped derail Bill Clinton's health care initiative, and carried out the swiftboating of John Kerry. As Dennis Johnson argues in this history of political consulting in the United States, they are essential to modern campaigning, often making positive contributions to democratic discourse, and yet they have also polarized the electorate with their biting messages. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, political campaigns were run by local political parties, volunteers, and friends of candidates; but as party loyalties among voters began to weaken, and political parties declined as sources of manpower and strategy, professional consultants swept in to carry the day. Political consulting emerged as a profession in the 1930s with writers Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker, the husband and wife team who built their business, in part, with a successful campaign to destroy Upton Sinclair's 1934 bid for governor of California. With roots in advertising and public relations, political consulting has since developed into a highly professionalized business worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In fact, some of the top campaign consulting outfits have more recently come full circle and merged to create new public relations firms, serving not just candidates but also shaping public advocacy campaigns for businesses and nonprofits. Johnson, an academic who has also worked on campaigns alongside the likes of James Carville and pollster Peter D. Hart, suffuses his history with the stories of the colorful characters who have come to define the profession of consulting, from its beginning to its present. This will be the most complete and sweeping story of the profession to date. Moving beyond the making of a political business, this book also describes the very contours of modern American politics."-- Provided by publisher.
  • "During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, political campaigns were run by local political parties, volunteers, and friends of candidates; but as party loyalties among voters began to weaken, and political parties declined as sources of manpower and strategy, professional consultants swept in to carry the day. Political consulting emerged as a profession in the 1930s with writers Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker, the husband and wife team who built their business, in part, with a successful campaign to destroy Upton Sinclair's 1934 bid for governor of California. With roots in advertising and public relations, political consulting has since developed into a highly professionalized business worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In fact, some of the top campaign consulting outfits have more recently come full circle and merged to create new public relations firms, serving not just candidates but also shaping public advocacy campaigns for businesses and nonprofits. Johnson, an academic who has also worked on campaigns alongside the likes of James Carville and pollster Peter D. Hart, suffuses his history with the stories of the colorful characters who have come to define the profession of consulting, from its beginning to its present. This will be the most complete and sweeping story of the profession to date. As such it tells not just the making of a political business but the very contours of modern American politics."-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 485-576) and index.
Contents:
Part I: Early business of political consulting, 1930s-1960s -- In the beginning, Whitaker and Baxter -- Measuring public opinion, 1930s-1960s -- Radio, television, and campaigning, 1920s-1960 -- The pioneers -- Consultants and presidential campaigns, 1964 and 1968, and consulting abroad -- Part II: The expansion and growth of consulting, 1970s-1980s -- Money, campaigns and the next generation of consultants -- The evolution of polling -- The media revolution -- Voter contact: targeting, direct mail, and phone banks -- Consultants and presidential campaigns, 1972, 1976, and 1980 -- State and local elections, ballot issues -- Consultants and presidential campaigns, 1984 and 1988 -- Part III: Transformation of consulting and challenges ahead, 1990-present -- A new generation of consultants -- Consultants and presidential campaigns, 1992 and 1996 -- Technological advances -- Consulting, issue campaigns and government affairs -- Consultants and presidential campaigns, 2000 and 2004 -- Consulting internationally -- Consultants and presidential campaigns, 2008 and 2012 -- Outside groups,plutocrats and dark money; consultants and the 2016 presidential campaign -- Political consulting today -- Appendix A: Key consultants and senior advisers for presidential candidates, 1952-2016 -- Appendix B: American Association of Political Consultants hall of fame inductees.
Subject(s):
Form/​Genre:
History.
ISBN:
  • 9780190272692 ((hardback))
  • 0190272694 ((hardback))
  • ((updf))
  • ((epub))
LCCN:
2016009381
OCLC:
945231166
Other views:
Staff view