The Triumph of Campaign-centered Politics

By David Menefee-Libey | Go to book overview

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.


NOTES
1.
Everett Carll Ladd and Charles D. Hadley, Transformations of the American Party System, 2d ed. ( New York: Norton, 1978) were the first to explore effectively the changes of this period and their implications for parties.
2.
Such sentiments may have peaked in 1994, but they still remain quite strong. See the Pew Research Center for The People and The Press's survey, "Compared to 1994: Voters Not So Angry, Not So Interested,"http://www.people-press.org/june98rept.htm ( 15 June 1998). See also Everett C. Ladd, "American Society: Where Are We Headed?" and later articles in a special edition of Public Perspective: A Roper Center Review of Public Opinion and Voting, February/March 1997; and Fred Steeper and Christopher Blunt, "Distrusting Government's Actions: Public Concerns Center on the Lack of a Proper Ethical Base," Public Perspective, October/November 1998, 46-49. For earlier discussion, see The Harwood Group, Citizens and Politics: A View From Main Street America ( Dayton, Ohio: Kettering Foundation, 1991); and Richard Jensen, "The Last Party System and the Decay of Consensus, 1932- 1980," in The Evolution of Party Systems, ed. Paul Kleppner et al. ( Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1981).
3.
For an insightful example, see Jean Bethke Elshtain, Democracy on Trial ( New York: Basic Books, 1995).
4.
Ladd and Hadley, Transformations; John R. Petrocik, Party Coalitions: Realignments and the Decline of the New Deal Party System ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981).
5.
"The American Electorate in Campaign 1998," Public Perspective, April/May 1998, 2-24.
6.
Lyman A. Kellstedt, John C. Green, James L. Guth, and Corwin E. Smidt, "Has Godot Finally Arrived? Religion and Realignment," Public Perspective, June/July 1995, 18-22.
7.
Robert H. Salisbury, "The Paradox of Interest Groups in Washington: More Groups, Less Clout," in The New American Political System, ed. Anthony King, 2d version ( Washington,

-44-

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The Triumph of Campaign-centered Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Parties, Elections, and American Democracy 1
  • Notes 9
  • 2 - The Campaign-Centered Electoral Order 11
  • Notes 27
  • 3 - The Foundations of Campaign-Centered Politics 32
  • Notes 44
  • 4 - Campaign-Centered Politics Leaves the Parties Behind 49
  • Notes 63
  • 5 - Reform and the Search for a New Party-Centered Politics 66
  • Notes 86
  • 6 - Embracing Campaign-Centered Politics 92
  • Notes 112
  • 7 - The New Politics on Capitol Hill 118
  • Notes 148
  • 8 - Campaigns and Parties in the Senate 154
  • Notes 176
  • 9 - The New Conventional Wisdom, Fraying at Its Edges 181
  • Notes 204
  • 10 - The Resilience of Campaign-Centered Politics 211
  • Notes 220
  • Index 223
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