Communication Consultants in Political Campaigns: Ballot Box Warriors

By Robert V. Friedenberg | Go to book overview

campaigning, and with the growth of political debates came the growth of political debate consultants. Such consultants often offer a host of related speech training to candidates. Commonly, debate consultants are specialists within larger speech and media training firms which help candidates to communicate effectively on television.

In sum, the contemporary era has witnessed a striking reduction in the influence of parties, major changes in the financing of elections, and dramatic changes in campaign technology. Each of these changes has facilitated the growth of political consulting. As the twenty-first century beckons, it is fair to say that political consultants have emerged as perhaps America's most sophisticated communicators. In the remaining chapters we shall examine their methods.


NOTES
1.
Robert J. Dinkin, Campaigning in America: A History of Election Practices ( Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1989), pp. 1-3.
2.
See Curtis P. Nettles, The Roots of American Civilization: A History of American Colonial Life ( New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1963), pp. 502-503 on the development of newspapers in colonial America.
3.
This incident is briefly discussed in Dinkin, Campaigning in America, p. 3.
4.
For a brief history of the growth of the franchise in American history, see Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Packaging the Presidency ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 4-5. For our purposes it is sufficient to note that following the Revolution, approximately 6% of the population could vote. That number grew rapidly as new states were added that did not impose property qualifications on voting and older states dropped the property requirement. Women were granted suffrage in 1920 by the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Although blacks were granted suffrage in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, it was not until the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s (which struck down state laws that had effectively disenfranchised blacks for years) that blacks were truly franchised.
5.
See Dinkin, Campaigning in America, p. 5 for a brief discussion of these two debates. Curiously, with the exception of presidential campaigns, political debates were reasonably widely used in campaigns for virtually every level of public office in our national history.
6.
All of the details in these paragraphs concerning Beckley's activities are drawn from Noble E. Cunningham Jr., "John Beckley: An Early American Party Manager," William and Mary Quarterly 13 ( January 1956): 40-52.
7.
Ibid.
8.
I take as a point of departure for this section Kathleen Hall Jamieson's analysis of the conditions necessary for widespread use of political advertising. Although I have added to her discussion and adapted it to my purposes in dealing with political consultants, I am indebted to her analysis for providing me an exceedingly useful paradigm from which to build. See Jamieson, Packaging the Presidency, p. 4.

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