Political consulting

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Political consulting is a form of consulting that consists primarily of advising and assisting political campaigns. Although the most important role of political consultants is arguably the development and production of mass media (largely television and direct mail), consultants advise campaigns on many other activities, ranging from opposition research and voter polling, to field strategy and get out the vote efforts.

Origins[edit]

President William McKinley's closest political adviser Mark Hanna is sometimes described as the first political consultant.

Whitaker and Baxter established the first true political consulting firm, Campaigns, Inc.,[1] which focused exclusively on political campaigns in California in the 1930s - 1950s.[2] However, political consulting blossomed with the increasing use of television advertising for campaign communications[3] in the 1960s.[4]

Joseph Napolitan was the first person to describe himself as a political consultant;[5] The New York Times newspaper described him in a 1968 profile as "that newest American phenomenon, the professional campaign manager" and a "pioneering campaign consultant".[6]

In the subsequent years, political consulting has grown in importance in the world and influence and has extended its reach to campaigns at all levels of government. Many consultants work not only for campaigns, but also for parties and political action committees, while some focus on public relations and research work.

Nature of the work[edit]

Political consultants sometimes acting as political strategists,[7] a senior political consultant who promote the election of certain candidates or the interests of certain groups. This is achieved by planning campaign strategies, coordinating campaign staffs, and arranging meetings to publicize candidates or causes.[8]

Political consultants act as public relations specialists, salespeople and managers. By using many forms of marketing-suitable media, including advertising and press releases, political consultants make voters aware of their candidates' party platform.[9]

The political consulting career has expanding throughout the world, journalists have talked about how political consultants has influenced candidates, voters, presidents and governments of different nations.[10] The American political consultants, as James Carville, Joseph Napolitan and David H. Sayers,[11] had traveled to other Continents acting as a consultants to several political campaigns and head of states. For example, Napolitan acted as a consultant of French President Válery Giscard d’Estaing, several Venezuelan presidents, and Costa Rica’s Óscar Arias Sánchez,[12] and Dick Morris "has consulted for candidates in other countries of the western hemisphere, including the campaigns of Fernando de la Rua for President of Argentina, Jorge Batlle for President of Uruguay, Vicente Fox for President of Mexico, and Raphael Trotman for President of Guyana."[13] On the other hand, Latin American political consultants have not just led political campaigns in the countries of their birth, but in the whole Continent as well.[14] That's the case of the Brazilian political consultant João Santana, who simultaneously running three winning presidential campaigns in Latin America: Danilo Medina, in the Dominican Republic; Hugo Chávez, in Venezuela; and José Eduardo dos Santos, in Angola, in the African continent.[15] Or the Venezuelan political strategist JJ Rendon (who lives in United States),[16] and his associates, who has been ranked as one of the top five most prominent Latin American consultants by the U.S.-based publication Campaigns & Elections[17] (Latin American edition)[18] and who is winner 2014 of The Victory Awards[19] for his work as the lead strategist of successful presidential campaigns of Juan Manuel Santos in Colombia (including his reelection campaign in 2014),[20] Porfirio Lobo and Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras[21] and Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico, among others. João Santana has been described by the news magazine Veja as "capable of mapping out the weaknesses of adversaries with an acupuncturist’s precision." While Rendon, has been described by Miami New Times as the "Latin America's Karl Rove".[22]

Criticisms[edit]

Scandals[edit]

As political consulting became more prevalent, they were thrust into the spotlight scandals with journalists devoting considerable attention to their activities. Many successful political consultants, such as James Carville and Newt Gingrich, capitalize on their fame to become professional pundits. Such political consultants routinely appear on television news programs, write books and are treated as social media celebrities.[23]

There are people who accuse political consultants of putting their own interests and images ahead of their clients.[24] Some consultants allege that too many put their financial interests ahead of the campaigns they are hired to serve, taking on many clients, but focusing too much energy on building their own reputations.[25]

Criticism[edit]

Critics of political consulting blame the consultants for a variety of ills of the modern election process,[26][27] Because broadcast media consultants are often paid on commission, consultants are blamed specifically for the rising cost of political campaigns,[28] and the increasing reliance on paid media. "Critics of consulting's influence on politics say that changes to the campaign landscape have further entrenched certain consultants, regardless of their track records".[29] A successful candidate running a low-budget campaign would be a serious economic threat to the political consulting field.[30]

Activist groups charge that political consultants are a major obstacle to participatory democracy and election reform.

Social media in modern campaigns[edit]

Social media have dramatically changed the way in which modern political campaigns are run.[31][32] With younger people entering into the voting population, social media are the platforms on which the politicians need to establish themselves and engage. In a digital age, social media will be more important than traditional media.[33][34]

For example, in Australia 86% of Australians access the Internet, and with a 17,048,864 voting age population (according to IDEA),[35] around 14,662,023 voting population has access to Internet, and 65% of them use social media, which means 9,530,314 Australian voters use social media (The 2013 Yellow™ Social Media Report found that among internet users 65% of Australians use social media, up from 62% last year).[36]

Trade organizations[edit]

The American Association of Political Consultants is the major trade association for political consultants in the United States, with thousands of members. Like similar professional organizations, it propagates a code of ethics and gives out awards.

Magazine of record[edit]

The political consulting industry's trade publication is Campaigns & Elections.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How Politics Became a Business". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  2. ^ "Political Consultant". International Encyclopedia of Communication. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  3. ^ Norris, Pipa Norris. A Virtuous Circle: Political Communications in Post-Industrial Societies. pp. 1, 2, 3. 
  4. ^ "Political Consultant". International Encyclopedia of Communication. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  5. ^ Perlmutter, David. Manship Guide to Political Communication. p. 19. 
  6. ^ Vitello, Paul (2013-12-09). "Joseph Napolitan, Pioneering Campaign Consultant, Dies at 84". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  7. ^ "Political Strategist". Tennessee.Gov. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  8. ^ "Political Consultant Job Description, Career as a Political Consultant, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job". Net Industries. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  9. ^ "Political Consultant Job Description, Career as a Political Consultant, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job". Net Industries. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  10. ^ Romero, Simon (2013-04-05). "A Brazilian Campaign Strategist Expands His Winning Streak". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  11. ^ Binder, David (1995-07-04). "David H. Sawyer Dies at 59; Innovator in Political Strategy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  12. ^ "Joseph Napolitan | American political consultant". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  13. ^ SCHRADER, ESTHER (August 27, 1999). "Mexico Imports American-Style Campaigning". 
  14. ^ "Ex-McCain aide outfoxes Latin America's campaign gurus in Panama race | Fox News". Fox News. 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  15. ^ Romero, Simon (2013-04-05). "A Brazilian Campaign Strategist Expands His Winning Streak". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  16. ^ "Venezuelan spin doctor JJ Rendon lectures the world on Neo-Totalitarianism". latincorrespondent.com. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  17. ^ Lieberman, Jordan (2009). "Revista Politics en español". 
  18. ^ "El estratega político J.J. Rendón ingresa al Salón de la Fama de la Revista Campaigns & Elections en Español". August 11, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Esta es la lista de los finalistas de los Victory Awards 2014 (List of the Victory Awards Finalists 2014)". 2014. 
  20. ^ "Colombia vote: Santos re-elected as president - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  21. ^ "Victoria de Hernandez en Honduras reafirma logros de estratega JJ Rendon (Hernandez´s victory reaffirm achievements of the political strategist JJ Rendon)". 
  22. ^ "J.J. Rendon is Latin America's Karl Rove". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  23. ^ Nagourney, Adam (2007-07-15). "Political Consultants and Strategists - Presidential Election of 2008 - John McCain - Terry Nelson". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  24. ^ Omojola, Oladokun (2008). "Audience Mindset and Influence on Personal Political Branding" (PDF). Audience Mindset and Influence on Personal Political Branding. 
  25. ^ "South Carolina's dirty political reputation outlives reality - CNNPolitics.com". CNN. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  26. ^ Kamber, Victor (2003-02-22). Poison Politics: Are Negative Campaigns Destroying Democracy?. Basic Books. ISBN 0738208728. 
  27. ^ "Most Political Consultants Are Useless". Newsmax. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  28. ^ "Profits Of Politics 2012: Consultants Rake In $466 Million And Counting". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  29. ^ "In The Age Of Super PACs, Political Consultants Can't Fail". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  30. ^ "Rubio Running Low-Budget Campaign". Newsmax. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  31. ^ "Political Campaigns and Social Media — Tweeting Their Way Into Office". source.southuniversity.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  32. ^ "Rand Paul Ready To Run As His Own Meme". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  33. ^ "Social Media is Changing the Nature of Political Campaigns". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  34. ^ "5 Ways New Media Are Changing Politics". US News & World Report. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  35. ^ "Voter turnout data for Australia (Parliamentary) | Voter Turnout | International IDEA". www.idea.int. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  36. ^ "Political Campaign and Social Media". Political Marketing. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]