search based information they have the money to buy. A whole campaign consulting industry has emerged in the past thirty years to provide the core services of category politics. 50 This politics is also best known today because we see it everywhere. The mass media--television, radio, direct mail--are particularly powerful vehicles for the products of category politics, because they can reach people individually in their homes, away from distracting social groups.
Category politics is the dominant method of the campaign-centered electoral order. It is also a method that enables the insulation raised earlier in this chapter. When mediation between citizen and candidate or government official is primarily controlled by the latter, policymaking elites gain autonomy from electoral pressures. And to the extent that our political parties engage in this kind of politics, they may be hastening their own destruction.