4th Edition

Campaigns and Elections Players and Processes

By Stephen K. Medvic Copyright 2022
    452 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    452 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Stephen K. Medvic’s Campaigns and Elections is a comprehensive yet compact core text that addresses two distinct but related aspects of American electoral democracy: the processes that constitute campaigns and elections, and the players who are involved. In addition to balanced coverage of process and actors, it gives equal billing to both campaigns and elections and covers contests for legislative and executive positions at the national, state, and local levels, including issue-oriented campaigns of note.

    The book opens by providing students with the conceptual distinctions between what happens in an election and the campaigning that precedes it. Significant attention is devoted to setting up the context for these campaigns and elections by covering the rules of the game in the American electoral system as well as aspects of election administration and the funding of elections. Then the book systematically covers the actors at every level—candidates and their organizations, parties, interest groups, the media, and voters—and the macro-level aspects of campaigns such as campaign strategy and determinants of election outcomes. The book concludes with a big-picture assessment of campaign ethics and implications of the "permanent campaign."

    New to the Fourth Edition:

    • Fully updated through the 2020 elections, looking ahead to the 2022 midterms

    • Covers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 election as well as the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol

    • Adds new sections in Chapter 3 on election integrity and the assessment of election administration

    • Reviews recent Supreme Court cases on gerrymandering and faithless electors

    • Expands coverage of social media as a source of news, of the increasingly partisan nature of the media, and of the role of media fact-checking in campaigns and elections

    • Reorganizes the chapters on the various actors so that the chapter on candidates leads directly to the chapter on campaigns

    • Fully updates the resources listed at the end of each chapter

    List of Illustrations



    Chapter 1: Campaigns and Elections in American Democracy

    Chapter 2: Voting Rights and the U.S. Electoral System

    Chapter 3: Election Administration and the Campaign Finance System

    Chapter 4: Political Parties

    Chapter 5: Interest Groups

    Chapter 6: The Media

    Chapter 7: Voters

    Chapter 8: Candidates and Campaign Organizations

    Chapter 9: Campaigns

    Chapter 10: Elections

    Chapter 11: The Permanent Campaign

    Appendix: Constitutional Provisions Directly Related to Elections




    Stephen K. Medvic is the Honorable & Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government at Franklin & Marshall College, USA. His books include Political Consultants in US Congressional Elections; New Directions in Campaigns and Elections; In Defense of Politicians; and Gerrymandering: The Politics of Redistricting in the United States.

    Praise for the Fourth Edition

    "This book methodically describes the institutions and dynamics at the heart of American democracy. It skillfully focuses on the ways in which the participants (e.g., parties, interest groups, consultants, bureaucrats) and the rules interact to select those who will represent their constituencies. This edition of the book addresses fundamental questions about the resilience of democratic practices and norms in the wake of the most recent elections. There is no better assessment of the current state of how the United States conducts its elections and how candidates run their campaigns."

    Kelly Patterson, Brigham Young University, USA

    "Stephen Medvic’s latest edition of Campaigns and Elections continues to explain these events from the perspectives of all the players. Instead of just discussing presidential elections, voters, and political parties, this volume does that and details candidate motivations to run for office at any level, the use of political consultants and election administration. This is the best book on the market for helping students understand all aspects of the campaign and election processes. The writing is engaging, the data is fresh, and the role-play scenarios and discussion questions are great tools for any instructor."

    Robin Kolodny, Temple University, USA

    Praise for the Previous Edition

    "The new edition of Stephen Medvic’s Campaigns and Elections carries the reader through the 2016 election up to the 2018 midterm. In clear and comprehensive writing, the book draws important distinctions between elections and campaigns, notes the complexity of covering the subject in which the process varies so much from state to state and from one level of government to the next, and draws the reader in by examining the roles of all the players—candidates, interest groups, parties, the media, and voters. Medvic skillfully explains how 2016 was unique but still understandable in terms of the process, and sagely speculates on what it tells us for the campaigns and elections to come."

    L. Sandy Maisel, Colby College, USA

    "Stephen Medvic’s textbook is quite an achievement: It is both exhaustively comprehensive and accessible for a college-age audience... This is an excellent and highly recommended text that provides clarity to the confounding issues of campaigns and elections in the US."

    Mark Major, Pennsylvania State University, USA

    "Campaigns and Elections provides a complete picture of campaigns, with great insight into both how campaigns work and what impact they have on election outcomes. Students benefit from the way Medvic clearly and accessibly brings together the broad forces of the political environment: the rules that create constraints and opportunities, the impact of candidates and campaign organizations, and voter behavior. The third edition is updated to reflect social and technological developments, and the ways these have altered the practice of modern campaigns."

    Christopher B. Mann, Skidmore College, USA; former congressional campaign manager, policy/political consultant, and party executive

    "This text is a very impressive study of campaigns and elections in the United States, and a needed contribution to the field. Medvic has done a great job of describing the contemporary situation, while also identifying important questions raised by the electoral process."

    Candice Nelson, American University, USA

    "This is by far the most thorough and nuanced text on this subject: Its comprehensive, yet relatively concise, examination balances coverage of institutions and behavior. My students find the book to be clear and exciting; instructors will appreciate the careful reflection on current events both within the unique US electoral system and in historical context. The third edition tackles the complexity of the 2016 elections and demystifies its outcome, with analysis that is a model for student writing—evidence-based and rich with data but never overbearing or unduly complicated. In short, this book accomplishes what it usually takes two books to cover."

    Stephen Maynard Caliendo, North Central College, USA

    "Detailing the legal and competitive aspects of elections as well as the contending interests of different political actors, the new edition of Campaigns and Elections: Players and Processes is unafraid to ask the thorny normative questions facing American elections and campaigns. 'Free and fair elections' rolls off the tongue easily, but freedom and fairness, as Medvic masterfully details, are contending values that our laws, politicians, and voters struggle to bring into balance. Students will walk away from this book with a systematic, historically driven, and theoretically solid information base to understand our strange system of elections as both scholars and citizens."

    Michael Wolf, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA