Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy: An International Study of Innovations in Electoral Campaigning and Their Consequences

Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy: An International Study of Innovations in Electoral Campaigning and Their Consequences

Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy: An International Study of Innovations in Electoral Campaigning and Their Consequences

Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy: An International Study of Innovations in Electoral Campaigning and Their Consequences

Synopsis

This important new text brings together an outstanding group of international scholars to look at the current state of electoral politics around the world. Elements of the modern (or American) model of election campaigning have been adopted in many countries in recent years--including the use of mass media, the personalization of campaigns, use of public opinion polls, and a general professionalization of campaigns--and conditions would seem to favor the spread of that model. Contributors to this volume, from established democracies, new and restored democracies, and democracies facing destabilizing pressure, examine the extent to which electoral politics in their countries have been affected by the emergence of high-tech professional campaigns. Countries examined provide a cross-section of today's democracies, including the United States, Britain, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Poland, Spain, Israel, Italy, Argentina, and Venezuela. The work will be of interest to scholars and students alike in political communication, political parties and elections, and comparative politics.

Excerpt

Dan Nimmo

In January 1994, the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) celebrated its 25th anniversary in its annual conclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. the venue was glittering: Bally's Casino Resort at the heart of the neon-hued, self-indulging Las Vegas Strip. Glittering, and also fitting. It seemed altogether appropriate that the profession that had done so much to advance campaign politics as Big Time Entertainment should offer its celebrated media consultants luxurious accommodations for congratulating one another between visits to glitzy stage productions, pollsters to discuss their probability samples and focus groups between visits to croupiers, and fund-raisers (no strangers to one-armed banditry) to ponder the odds of fortune while playing the gaming tables and slot machines. What a quarter of a century earlier had been but a convening of a mere fifty owners of cottage industries gathering in the Plaza Hotel in New York City, had become the only national association for political-consulting professionals.

In describing and analyzing the role and consequences of modern campaigning for the government and politics of democratic nations, it is appropriate to take note of the silver anniversary of the aapc, and that of the iapc (International Association of Political Consultants), that predated the AAPC's formation in 1969 by two weeks. Although the mix of campaign and media politics has been in a state of continuous flux throughout the twentieth century, producing a shift from partisan to merchandising and crusading campaigns (Jensen, 1980), the telepolitical era of casting, staging, orchestrating, and scripting of campaigns in the United States coincides neatly with the emergence of professional campaigning into young adulthood during the last quarter of a century (Nimmo, 1993).

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