Magazine article Politics Magazine

Welcome the Next Wave

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Welcome the Next Wave

Article excerpt

Trying to figure out who invented political consulting is sort of like the debate over who invented baseball. The further we get away from the origins of the game, the less the truth about its genesis matters. What does matter is that the first wave of political professionals--those who established political consulting as an industry--are retiring. This is significant because the industry is so new. Up to this point in American history, there have never been more than a handful of retired political professionals.

Most give Joe Napolitan, Matt Reese and Joe Cerrell credit for creating the "political consultant" career path. But you can go back 2,000 years or more and find smart men giving advice to people in politics.

I gave a speech a few weeks ago about the state of the industry. I told those in attendance that even with the recent spate of consultant retirements, it will be another decade or two before we see our first wave of retirements of political pros who aren't white men. It will be another thirty years before the most prominent Sikh Indian-American political professional, Ravi Singh, retires.

My point is that the world of political consulting is finally looking a lot more like the America we know and less like the all-white country club that South Carolina GOP Chair Katon Dawson once belonged to. We're witnessing the same trend with our readership, which is now more balanced than ever. We can attribute that to an increasing rate of retirements, cheap campaign technology lowering the barriers to entry and of course to Barack Obama.

Until recently, C&E would devote many pages to lionizing the captains of our industry. But in recent times, we have worked to help cultivate and identify a new crop of stars--people you've never heard of but soon will. I was most impressed in 2008 by several politicos who are new to the scene. …

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