Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century: Activism, Big Data, and Dark Money, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century

Activism, Big Data, and Dark Money, 2nd Edition

By Dennis W. Johnson


153 pages

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In view of the 2016 US election season, the second edition of this book analyzes the way political campaigns have been traditionally run and the extraordinary changes that have occurred since 2012. Dennis W. Johnson looks at the most sophisticated techniques of modern campaigning—micro-targeting, online fundraising, digital communication, the new media—and examines what has changed, how those changes have dramatically transformed campaigning, and what has remained fundamentally the same despite new technologies and communications.

Campaigns are becoming more open and free-wheeling, with greater involvement of activists (especially through social media) and average voters alike. At the same time, they have become more professionalized, and the author has experience managing and marketing the process. Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century illustrates the daunting challenges for candidates and professional consultants as they try to get their messages out to voters. Ironically, the more open and robust campaigns become, the greater is the need for seasoned, flexible, and imaginative professional consultants.

New to the Second Edition

  • Includes coverage of the 2012 and 2014 elections, looking ahead to 2016.
  • Updates coverage of campaign finance since the landmark Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
  • Adds to the discussion of demographic and technological changes in elections since 2012.



"Dennis Johnson has done it again in his coverage of the fundamentals of modern campaigning from raising money to communicating with voters and measuring public opinion to identifying voters and turning them out on Election Day. More important, however, is his examination of innovative new techniques and new developments in these fundamental areas from online tools like social networks and the use of 'big data' to the importance of Super-PACS and micro-targeting. Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century is a must-read for anyone interested in the most current trends in American campaigning."

-- David Dulio, Oakland University

"Dennis Johnson does a great job of explaining how communications technology and data analytics have transformed modern campaigning. In a clear, concise manner, he shows how the fundamental role of campaigns has remained while the tactics have changed – and in a way that invites citizens to engage in politics directly. This book will help anyone with an interest in campaigns understand what is going on in the world of politics today."

-- Robin Kolodny, Temple University

"The second edition of Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century sets a new standard for understanding the electoral process in the modern era. It is overflowing with astute insights on how the dynamics of the election process play out in the American context. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough."

-- Brian Frederick, Bridgewater State University

"Dennis Johnson pulls back the curtain on a process - election campaigning - that simultaneously fascinates and baffles most citizens. In Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century, Johnson uses important historical examples and draws upon the latest scholarship to explain how every element of a campaign operates. Those who want to understand American political campaigns should start by reading this book."

-- Stephen K. Medvic, Franklin & Marshall College

"Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century takes a scholarly, methodical approach to the whiz-bang world of electoral politics. Examining the recent history of campaign technology and organization, Johnson reveals the state of the art – and anticipates the future. This book is sure to help scholars, practitioners, and students better understand one of the central forces driving American democracy."

-- Michael Burton, Ohio University

Table of Contents

1. The Modern Campaign 2. Communicating with Voters: The New Media 3. Communicating with Voters: The Old Media 4. Fundraising 5. Independent Voices 6. Taking the Pulse of the Electorate 7. Voter Identification, Contact, and Mobilization 8. Campaigning in the Next Decade

About the Author

Dennis W. Johnson is professor of political management at the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University. In addition to speaking and writing extensively, for ten years he owned his own political research consulting firm.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Elections
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Executive Branch