Playing Hardball: Campaigning for the U.S. Congress / Edition 1

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Overview

The books in this series are intended to bridge the gap between academic scholarship and the popular demand for knowledge about politics. They illustrate empirically-supported generalizations from original research and the academic literature using examples taken from the legislative process, executive branch decision making, court rulings, lobbying efforts, election campaigns, or protest movements. The goal of the series is to convey the best that contemporary political science research has to offer in ways that will engage individuals who want to know about real politics in America.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130271334
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 10/26/2000
  • Series: Real Politics in America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.73 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL S. HERRNSON is director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship and professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington and Party Campaigning in the 1980s. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on political parties, interest groups, Congress, and elections. Professor Herrnson is a former American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow and is the recipient of several teaching awards. He received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE

This volume examines the most important aspects of congressional election campaigns, ranging from the decision to run to campaign strategy to political reform. It consists of a collection of cutting-edge studies written by scholars who are experts in campaigns and elections. Many of the authors have had significant experience working in political campaigns. The studies use new data sets to analyze candidate emergence, campaign fundraising, strategy, television advertising, and fieldwork. They combine quantitative data analysis with descriptions and examples drawn from real politics. Collectively, they document some of the underlying biases in the contemporary election system; analyze their implications for campaigns waged by challengers, incumbents, and candidates for open seats; and explore the prospects for reform.

Contemporary political science scholarship lays a firm foundation for comprehending the underlying dynamics of congressional elections, but it could be more successful in presenting this information to students and the general public. Results generated from formal models, statistical analyses, case studies, and systematic comparisons—the basic tools of the discipline—are often not accessible to practitioners or the general reader. In congressional elections, it is not always possible to explain campaign decision making using any one of these approaches. It is also unwise to try to interpret the decisions of voters without first examining the efforts of campaigners who seek to influence their vote. Candidates and potential candidates, donors and potential donors, campaign strategists and communications experts possess a variety of goals,perspectives, and views about what are appropriate tactics in congressional elections. The best way to examine congressional election campaigns is from the inside out, first by examining the motives and goals of those who participate in campaigns, next by analyzing how they mount their campaign efforts, and only after that assessing the campaigns' impact on contributors and voters.

The chapters that follow bridge the gap between academic scholarship and the popular demand for knowledge about politics. The goal of this book is to provide readers with a manageable perspective on congressional elections and real life American politics, enhancing their ability to make the connections between the theory and practice of politics. The chapters illustrate empirically supported generalizations from original research and the academic literature using examples taken from the electoral process. The decisions of individuals who participate in campaigns can have tremendous consequences for Americans and citizens of other nations. The same is true of the officials they elected, party leaders, interest group lobbyists, voters, and protesters who try to influence the actions of those in government.

This volume could not have been completed without the assistance of many individuals and organizations. First and foremost, thanks are due to the scholars who contributed the chapters. They tolerated my exhortations to put aside the "rules" of writing they learned in graduate school, to make their chapters interesting and accessible to a broad audience, and to give readers a sense of what it is like to participate in real politics. Next, I wish to thank Beth Gillett Mejia of Prentice Hall, Kari Callaghan Mazzola of Big Sky Composition, and Virginia Rubens for transforming the manuscript into a book. Finally, I wish to thank The Pew Charitable Trusts for sponsoring the Campaign Emergence and Candidate Outreach Project, which funded much of the research presented in this volume. The opinions expressed in this book are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Paul S. Herrnson

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction.

2. Quality Challengers to Congressional Incumbents: Can Better Candidates be Found?

3. Competing for Cash: The Individual Financiers of Congressional Elections.

4. Are Professional Campaigns More Negative?

5. Going Negative: Attack Advertising in the 1998 Elections.

6. Campaign Strategy and Direct Voter Contact.

7. Elections are More than Just a Game.

Index.

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Preface

PREFACE

This volume examines the most important aspects of congressional election campaigns, ranging from the decision to run to campaign strategy to political reform. It consists of a collection of cutting-edge studies written by scholars who are experts in campaigns and elections. Many of the authors have had significant experience working in political campaigns. The studies use new data sets to analyze candidate emergence, campaign fundraising, strategy, television advertising, and fieldwork. They combine quantitative data analysis with descriptions and examples drawn from real politics. Collectively, they document some of the underlying biases in the contemporary election system; analyze their implications for campaigns waged by challengers, incumbents, and candidates for open seats; and explore the prospects for reform.

Contemporary political science scholarship lays a firm foundation for comprehending the underlying dynamics of congressional elections, but it could be more successful in presenting this information to students and the general public. Results generated from formal models, statistical analyses, case studies, and systematic comparisons—the basic tools of the discipline—are often not accessible to practitioners or the general reader. In congressional elections, it is not always possible to explain campaign decision making using any one of these approaches. It is also unwise to try to interpret the decisions of voters without first examining the efforts of campaigners who seek to influence their vote. Candidates and potential candidates, donors and potential donors, campaign strategists and communications experts possess a variety of goals, perspectives, and views about what are appropriate tactics in congressional elections. The best way to examine congressional election campaigns is from the inside out, first by examining the motives and goals of those who participate in campaigns, next by analyzing how they mount their campaign efforts, and only after that assessing the campaigns' impact on contributors and voters.

The chapters that follow bridge the gap between academic scholarship and the popular demand for knowledge about politics. The goal of this book is to provide readers with a manageable perspective on congressional elections and real life American politics, enhancing their ability to make the connections between the theory and practice of politics. The chapters illustrate empirically supported generalizations from original research and the academic literature using examples taken from the electoral process. The decisions of individuals who participate in campaigns can have tremendous consequences for Americans and citizens of other nations. The same is true of the officials they elected, party leaders, interest group lobbyists, voters, and protesters who try to influence the actions of those in government.

This volume could not have been completed without the assistance of many individuals and organizations. First and foremost, thanks are due to the scholars who contributed the chapters. They tolerated my exhortations to put aside the "rules" of writing they learned in graduate school, to make their chapters interesting and accessible to a broad audience, and to give readers a sense of what it is like to participate in real politics. Next, I wish to thank Beth Gillett Mejia of Prentice Hall, Kari Callaghan Mazzola of Big Sky Composition, and Virginia Rubens for transforming the manuscript into a book. Finally, I wish to thank The Pew Charitable Trusts for sponsoring the Campaign Emergence and Candidate Outreach Project, which funded much of the research presented in this volume. The opinions expressed in this book are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Paul S. Herrnson

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