Political Campaigns in the United States  book cover
1st Edition

Political Campaigns in the United States

ISBN 9781138181861
Published February 23, 2016 by Routledge
224 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A Choice Highly Recommended Title—January 2017

This book is an interpretive analysis of political campaigns in America: instead of focusing on how campaigns are designed and run, it investigates the role campaigns play in our American politics, and the close symbiosis between campaigns and those politics. The text examines how campaigns are an important manifestation of how we "do" politics in this country.

Hallmarks of this text include:

  • showing how campaigns can undermine our democracy and asking how democratic they—and by extension, our politics--really are;
  • demonstrating that the ability of the media to accurately, fairly, and deeply report on campaigns has been severely compromised, both because of the growing "distance" between campaigns and media outlets and because of the structure of "Big Media" corporate ownership and its tight relationship to "Big Money." It asks important questions about the media including:

  1. How do the media, reporters in particular, cover campaigns? What pressures and forces shape what and how they present campaigns?
  2. What is the impact of the ever-increasing chasm separating campaigns and the media?
  3. How does the close tie between corporate mainstream media and Super PAC money affect campaign coverage?
  4. How does the ability of campaigns and media to segment voters into ever-smaller slices influence how campaigns are covered?

  • tracking the continuing growth of unregulated, private, unaccountable "dark money" in campaigns as a threat to our democratic elections and politics. Democracy rests fundamentally on transparency and accountability – sunlight – and our campaign laws and norms now allow and encourage exactly the opposite, largely because of decisions by the United States Supreme Court.

Table of Contents

1. Political Campaigns in America  2. American Political Campaigns in Historical Perspective  3. Candidates and Campaigns  4. The Campaign Industry  5. Campaigns and the Media  6. Campaign Finance  7. Conclusion: Campaigns and American Democracy

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Richard King Scher is Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida, Gainesville.


"Prof. Richard Scher takes a deep dive into the campaigns that drive our politics, and he asks fundamental questions about the electioneering process. Students and readers of all stripes will find the book fascinating -- and good preparation for interpreting what candidates and the news media say and do each political season."

-- Larry J. Sabato, University of Virginia Center for Politics

"As we strive to meet the permanent need to govern in a time of the permanent campaign, Professor Richard King Scher’s book provides important insights into the politics of campaigns."

-- Mark R. Kennedy, George Washington University

"Richard King Scher does a superb job of demystifying the American political campaign process for the reader. He provides a comprehensive and keen analysis of modern politics and the prominent role that political consultants, media outlets, and big money play in campaigns and elections."

-- John Allen Hendricks, Stephen F. Austin State University

"Political Campaigns in the United States is an excellent introduction to how American political campaigns work and how they have evolved with the increased role money, media, and an expanded professionalized campaign industry. Scher argues that contemporary campaigns are undermining American democracy by turning them over to a campaign industry that is closely allied with 'big money' and corporate interests, thus undermining the role of everyday voters. He calls for reforms in campaigns, which will bring more transparency, accountability, fairness, and responsiveness which will bring back more vitality and trust in our democracy."

-- James A. Thurber, American University