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Inside Campaigns
Elections through the Eyes of Political Professionals

Second Edition


July 2018 | 368 pages | CQ Press

"Inside Campaigns: Elections Through the Eyes of Political Professionals is essential reading not only for students interested in running campaigns and for journalism students who want to cover politics, but for campaign operatives generally and journalists who want to raise the level of their game. In fact, it’s good reading for everybody."
—Thomas B. Edsall, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

"Much of our useful knowledge sits at the intersection of disciplines.  Inside Campaigns demonstrates that through a skillful combination of political science with management in a highly readable and practical format. A first for this field!"
—Leonard A. Schlesinger, Baker Foundation Professor-Harvard Business School, President Emeritus-Babson College

Inside Campaigns, Second Edition takes readers on a journey into the world of campaign managers. Powered by scores of interviews and surveys of political professionals, the book considers the purpose, potency, and poetry of modern political campaigns in the US. The expert author team draw from years of scholarly research and professional campaign experience to guide readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the ways campaigns are managed, the strategies that are employed, the roles played by both staff and the candidates, and the affects election outcomes have on American democracy. Readers will develop an understanding of what campaigns do and why they matter, as well as gain practical skills for working in a campaign or advocating for a cause. 

 

New to the Second Edition: 

  • A case study created from an in-depth interview with Bernie Sanders’ top digital decision-makers describes how the Sanders’ campaign used digital media to harness the energy of their highly motivated base supporters. This case shows students a real-life campaign decision-making situation, and demonstrates how campaigns use new digital media to drive traditional news media coverage.

  • A unique joint interview with the top media buyers from the Clinton and Trump campaigns reveals how each campaign tracked the other’s advertising and adjusted their own advertising based on competitive tracking information. This interview illustrates to students how modern campaigns use media tracking technologies to monitor their opposition and spend tens of millions of dollars at the presidential level.

  • A top Trump digital manager shares inside details of how the Republican National Committee moved quickly to help build out the Trump digital operations after it was clear that Trump would be the party’s presidential nominee. This insight helps students understand how the Trump campaign answered, “What do we tell them?” by testing messages online, including recycling Trump’s personal tweets in instant messages and emails.

  • The differences between how the Clinton and Trump campaigns managed the news media are highlighted in a case study of one journalist’s experiences covering both campaigns. This case study helps the student build skills for becoming a “spinmeister” who handles day-to-day relationships with the news media. The authors’ research surprisingly reveals that, behind the scenes, Trump was much more available to reporters than Clinton, despite Trump’s continuous public attacks on the “fake news media.”
 
 
PREFACE
 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 
LIST OF TABLES, FIGURES, AND BOXES
 
CHAPTER 1 Losing and Winning: The Craft and Science of Political Campaigns
A TALE OF TWO MANAGERS  
LEARNING AND EXPERIMENTING  
WHY CAMPAIGN MANAGERS DO IT  
WHAT CAMPAIGNS DO  
THE ROLES AND GOALS OF A CAMPAIGN MANAGER  
 
CHAPTER 2 Political Math: How Campaigns Matter
THE FUNDAMENTALS  
THE ROLE OF FUNDAMENTALS: FROM DEMOGRAPHICS TO PARTY ID  
SHARE AND PERFORMANCE  
BLUE WALL MATH  
POLITICAL MATH MAKES WINNING MARGINS  
 
CHAPTER 3 Political Historian and Data Scientist: Charting a Path to Victory through Information and Analysis
THE SECRET BALLOT PROBLEM  
FOCUS GROUPS, POLLS, AND OTHER FORMS OF INFORMATION GATHERING  
WHO ARE OUR TARGET VOTERS?  
HOW DO WE REACH THEM?  
WHAT DO WE TELL THEM?  
HOW ARE WE DOING?  
WHAT ARE OUR OPPONENTS AND ALLIES DOING?  
MICROTARGETING WITH BIG DATA  
 
CHAPTER 4 Entrepreneur and Chief Financial Officer: Launching and Sustaining the Campaign
THE STARTUP  
THE MONEY CAMPAIGN  
HOW MONEY DRIVES DECISIONS  
PAYING FOR THE MESSAGING  
THE NIGHTMARE OF ALL CAMPAIGNS: FUNDRAISING  
CAULEY AND BARACK OBAMA’S SENATE WIN  
THE BEST CANDIDATES ARE GOOD FUNDRAISERS  
 
CHAPTER 5 Team Builder: Embracing the Personal Side of Politics
“A FIERCE TEAM SPIRIT”  
TEAM BUILDING IN TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN  
HIRING THE RIGHT TEAM  
POLITICAL TALENT SCOUTS  
TEAM BUILDER: “A BIG CHEERLEADER”  
 
CHAPTER 6 Ideologist and Policy Wonk: Standing for Something
STEVE BANNON AS TRUMP’S CHIEF IDEOLOGIST  
HILLARY CLINTON AS POLICY WONK  
CAMPAIGN MANAGERS AVOIDING THE POLICY WEEDS  
THE FRUSTRATED POLICY WONK  
 
CHAPTER 7 Marketing Maven: Reaching the Campaign’s Target Audiences
“WHAT ARE THEY DOING?” COMPETITIVE MEDIA TRACKING IN THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL RACE  
WHAT ARE GROSS RATING POINTS? LEARNING THE BASIC MATH OF MEDIA  
HOW MANY GRPS DO WE HAVE?  
HOW MANY GROSS RATING POINTS DO I NEED?  
THE ENDURING LOVE OF TRADITIONAL TELEVISION IN THE DIGITAL AGE  
THE BUSINESS OF POLITICAL TV ADVERTISING  
TODAY’S MEDIA MIX: MORE THAN TV  
 
CHAPTER 8 Producer and Stage Manager: Creating and Presenting the Campaign’s Messages
PRODUCING A 4:00 A.M. MEDIA EVENT  
THE MAKING OF “THE GURU” SPOT  
JAMES CARVILLE’S FIRST WIN  
WHAT DO WE TELL VOTERS?  
HOW THE MESSAGE MATTERS  
WHY CAMPAIGNS “GO NEGATIVE”  
A “HUGGING CONTEST”? WHY NEGATIVE ADS AFFECT ELECTION MARGINS  
WHEN GOING NEGATIVE BACKFIRES  
GOING NEGATIVE IN A PRIMARY  
RESPONDING TO NEGATIVE ATTACKS  
“WHAT DO WE TELL THEM?”  
 
CHAPTER 9 Spinmeister: Navigating the News Landscape
SPINMEISTER TURNED REPORTER  
CAUTIOUS CLINTON VERSUS FREEWHEELING TRUMP  
A FAILURE OF CRISIS MANAGEMENT: “LET HERMAN BE HERMAN”  
INOCULATION: PREPARING FOR BAD NEWS  
HOW DO WE REACH THEM? WHAT DO WE TELL THEM?  
“YOUR BEST FRIEND OR YOUR WORST ENEMY”  
EARNING MEDIA  
DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA  
WORKING AND HELPING THE REFS  
THE CHANGING NEWS LANDSCAPE  
USING NEW MEDIA TO MAKE OLD-MEDIA NEWS  
 
CHAPTER 10 Field General: Waging the War on the Ground
HOW DO WE REACH THEM?  
THE TWO-STEP PROCESS: DECIDING TO VOTE AND VOTING FOR OR AGAINST A CANDIDATE  
“OLD-FASHIONED GRUNT WORK”  
 
CHAPTER 11 Strategy Enforcer: Keeping a Day-to-Day Focus on the Long-Term Path to Victory
CLINTON-GORE 1992: “THE BEST CAMPAIGN EVER”  
KEEPING THE CAMPAIGN TEAM ON STRATEGY  
INHERITING A TEAM, EXECUTING A STRATEGY  
HOW ARE WE DOING?  
STRATEGY ENFORCER IN THE AGE OF SUPER PACS  
FUSING THE STRATEGIC VISION WITH THE CAMPAIGN TEAM  
 
CHAPTER 12 Candidate Caretaker and Confidant: Handling Details and Building Trust
BECOMING INDISPENSABLE  
THE BUFFER AND THE CONCIERGE  
BUILDING TRUST: “JIMMY, HERE’S WHAT WE NEED TO DO”  
BUILDING THE RELATIONSHIP  
HONESTY  
MANAGING THE CANDIDATE’S FAMILY  
LOSING AND WINNING: WHEN THE CAMPAIGN ENDS  
 
APPENDICES
APPENDIX A. THE RISE OF THE CAMPAIGN WEBHEADS  
APPENDIX B. BUBBLE CHARTS: HOW CAMPAIGNS USE CONSUMER RESEARCH DATA TO UNDERSTAND VOTERS  
APPENDIX C. A CASE STUDY EXERCISE IN CAMPAIGN MEDIA PLANNING  
APPENDIX D. A CASE STUDY IN CRISIS MANAGEMENT  
 
INDEX
 
ABOUT THE AUTHORS

“I was impressed not only by the purpose of the authors—to bring real-world perspectives to the study of an immensely important part of the overall topic of campaigns and elections—but also by their fascinating take on the debate over the degree to which campaigns matter.”

Malcolm Cross
Tarleton State University

“The content is built upon what many real professional think is most critical in campaigns. The voice of the campaign professionals comes through.”

Joseph A. Kunkel III
Minnesota State University Mankato

“[The] extensive interviews that the authors did with campaign managers [result] in an insider view that is typically not present in a book written by political scientists.”

Travis Ridout
Washington State University

“Complicating issues are explained clearly for even the novice political science student.”

Adam Silver
Emmanuel College

“The use of testimony and statements from practitioners, who are well-known and less well-known, provides the book with an air of authenticity.”

Adam Silver
Emmanuel College
Key features

New to the Second Edition: 

  • A case study created from an in-depth interview with Bernie Sanders’ top digital decision-makers describes how the Sanders’ campaign used digital media to harness the energy of their highly motivated base supporters. This case shows students a real-life campaign decision-making situation, and demonstrates how campaigns use new digital media to drive traditional news media coverage.
  • A unique joint interview with the top media buyers from the Clinton and Trump campaigns reveals how each campaign tracked the other’s advertising and adjusted their own advertising based on competitive tracking information. This interview illustrates to students how modern campaigns use media tracking technologies to monitor their opposition and spend tens of millions of dollars at the presidential level.
  • A top Trump digital manager shares inside details of how the Republican National Committee moved quickly to help build out the Trump digital operations after it was clear that Trump would be the party’s presidential nominee. This insight helps students understand how the Trump campaign answered, “What do we tell them?” by testing messages online, including recycling Trump’s personal tweets in instant messages and emails.
  • The differences between how the Clinton and Trump campaigns managed the news media are highlighted in a case study of one journalist’s experiences covering both campaigns. This case study helps the student build skills for becoming a “spinmeister” who handles day-to-day relationships with the news media. The authors’ research surprisingly reveals that, behind the scenes, Trump was much more available to reporters than Clinton, despite Trump’s continuous public attacks on the “fake news media.”

 

 Key Features:

  • Case studies from local, state, and presidential campaigns highlight the complex forces that affect campaign decisions and election outcomes and show readers the intricacies of campaign management.
  • Discussions around five questions campaigns face provide a model for understanding what campaigns do.
  • Diverse, in-depth, candid interviews with many of America’s leading influential political leaders who shape political outcomes at the local, state, and national levels give readers a real-world view of campaigns today.
  • Student case study exercises on media planning and crisis management are included in the appendix. 
 

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