Political Professionals and American Democracy

campaign ads trump clinton

Americans are indundated with campaign communications–who are the people behind it all and what are the tactics they use?


Every two years, when national elections come around, Americans are inundated with campaigns’ communications: they see political advertisements on television and online, hear speeches and more ads on the radio, get countless flyers in the mail, receive robo-calls and live calls, and may even find a canvasser knocking on their doors. 

Political campaigns are a key way people are connected to politics; they are the moments in a democracy when politicians and their parties have the most incentive to communicate directly with potential voters, and when voters must make a decision about whom to support. I believe that campaigns’ influence goes beyond how people vote; campaigns also create a large part of the political culture through which individuals come to understand democratic politics.

It is essential, then, to understand how national-level campaigns make decisions about the strategies and tactics they will use. The people who know the most about this are those who have made their careers working in political campaigns — professional campaign staff and political consultants.

The book based on this project will be published with Beacon Press in 2022.