Party Campaigning in the 1980's / Edition 1

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Overview

Are American political parties on the way out? Political action committees (PACs) currently compete with parties for influence over candidates and voters; persuading a more independent and volatile electorate requires new tactics; technological innovations afford more sophisticated means to appeal for support. Many political observers express doubts about the ability of political parties to adapt to these changes and to survive, but Paul Herrnson instead suggests their survival and resurgence in this balanced assessment of party activities in congressional elections.

Drawing on extensive interviews and survey data collected from nearly five hundred recent House and Senate candidates, campaign advisers, party officials, PAC executives, and journalists, Herrnson evaluates the roles of the national parties. He finds that from the perspective of party executives, they provide important campaign services and function as the key brokers between candidates, PACs, and other campaigners. For PAC officials, the national parties serve as important sources of strategic campaign information and cues for decision-making. For the candidates themselves, their parties function as appendages and accessories to their own campaign organizations.

Herrnson provides rich detail on party development and party campaign activity to predict the future of congressional elections and of the party-in-government and the party-in-the-electorate. Political practitioners as well as scholars will welcome this fresh, new contribution to a significant political controversy.

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Editorial Reviews

Ohio State University
Little attention has been paid to the role of parties in congressional elections, largely on the unexamined assumption that they had no role... Herrnson has inquired about the activities of the national parties in supporting the congressional campaign efforts of their partisans. And, he has sought to get at the importance of party campaign efforts from the candidates' eye view. He finds a considerable effect... [and] throws new light on the role of the contemporary political parties in American electoral politics.
Madison University of Wisconsin
Paul Herrnson's excellent study provides a wealth of information from campaign participants and statistical sources about the greatly enlarged activities of national party committees in congressional elections during the 1980s, and it places these activities in an analytical framework suggesting that parties have adjusted to candidate centered politics by becoming useful intermediaries rather than dominant role-players. The book thus contributes significantly to a realistic understanding of late-twentieth-century American politics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674655256
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1988
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul S. Herrnson is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Two Traditional Conceptions of Parties as Campaigners

2. Institutionalized National Parties

3. Party Campaigning from the Washington Perspective

4. Party Campaigning as Perceived by the Candidates

5. Prospects for the Parties

Appendix A. Methodology

Appendix B. Questionnaire

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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