3rd Edition

Campaigns and Elections
Players and Processes

ISBN 9781138058453
Published November 15, 2017 by Routledge
424 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

USD $89.95

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Book Description

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

  • Fully updated through the 2016 elections.
  • Questions the "party decides" theory of the nomination process in light of the Trump Republican candidacy.
  • Covers campaign finance laws and practice emanating from both Citizens United and McCutcheon.
  • Critically examines restrictive voting laws in place for the first time in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Looks at new automatic voter registration as well as registration removals.
  • Expands coverage of media effects on campaigns at every stage, including social media.
  • Draws upon recent research on new campaign technologies and of the science of campaigning.

Table of Contents


1. Campaigns and Elections in American Democracy

2. Rules and Regulations I: Voting Rights and the U.S. Electoral System

3. Rules and Regulations II: Election Administration and the Campaign Finance System

4. Candidates and Campaign Organizations

5. Political Parties

6. Interest Groups

7. The Media

8. Voters

9. Campaigns

10. Elections

11. Conclusions

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Stephen K. Medvic is The Honorable & Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government at Franklin & Marshall College. His books include Political Consultants in U.S. Congressional Elections, Shades of Gray: Perspectives on Campaign Ethics, New Directions in Campaigns and Elections, and In Defense of Politicians.


Praise for the Third Edition

The new edition of Stephen Medvic's textbook is quite an achievement: It is both exhaustively comprehensive and accessible for a college-age audience. The book examines all aspects of national, state, and local campaigns and elections in clear and easy-to read prose. Overall, 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

The new edition of Stephen Medvic's Campaigns and Elections carries the reader through the 2106 election up to the 2018 midterm. In clear 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

The third edition of Stephen Medvic's 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. This new 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; Former congressional campaign manager, policy/political consultant, and party executive

This new edition of Stephen Medvic’s 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

Stephen Medvic’s Campaigns and Elections 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

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 Stephen 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