Parties and Campaigns An Altered Role
As a significant shift occurred in the 1970s toward candidate-centered campaigning via the media, questions arose about the role of political parties in campaigns. This chapter will explore the uneasy alliance between the parties and the candidates in the campaign arena, looking at five areas in particular. First, political scientists changed their view of the impact of campaigns from having little effect to the notion that candidates can be "sold" like products to a more balanced view of what campaigns can accomplish. Second, the parties have completed the transition outlined in Chapter 2 from having a peripheral role to being an intermediary in campaigns. Third, the role of professionals in campaign organizations is now even more crucial, with duties ranging from designing the structure of the organization to making decisions about strategy. Fourth, the types of messages the candidates present are changing, and now include a proliferation of "negative" campaign commercials. Fifth, candidates are using innovations in technology to get their messages across, ranging from cable television to the Internet.
From a candidate's point of view the purpose of campaigns is simple: Spend enormous sums of money and blanket the airwaves with your message in order to obtain or keep political office. For the society campaigns are as much a means of producing political stability as producing political change. Consensus is reached on what programs are legitimate, as well as on providing an orderly succession to office. Campaigns fill a range of needs for individuals, including watching commercials to see what issues are