- Dwight Dudley lead over Bill Young in HD 68 drops to single point
- Rick Scott lead widens 44% to 39% against Charlie Crist in new WFLA poll
- GOP HD 65 hopeful Chris Sprowls opens six-point gap with Carl Zimmerman
- New Charlie Crist ad knocks “Shady” Rick Scott’s education cuts
- Universities want boost in aid for needy students
- Jeff Brandes endorses Bill Young for House District 68
“No single development has altered the workings of American democracy in the last century so much as political consulting”
When you are done reading about just how much Stuart Stevens is screwing up Mitt Romney’s campaign or Kevin Cohn’s insistence that this is THE week to watch presidential polls, be sure to read the Jill Lepore’s look at how political consulting became a business.
Political consulting is often thought of as an offshoot of the advertising industry, but closer to the truth is that the advertising industry began as a form of political consulting. As the political scientist Stanley Kelley once explained, when modern advertising began, the big clients were just as interested in advancing a political agenda as a commercial one. Monopolies like Standard Oil and DuPont looked bad: they looked greedy and ruthless and, in the case of DuPont, which made munitions, sinister. They therefore hired advertising firms to sell the public on the idea of the large corporation, and, not incidentally, to advance pro-business legislation. …
“No single development has altered the workings of American democracy in the last century so much as political consulting, an industry unknown before Campaigns, Inc. In the middle decades of the twentieth century, political consultants replaced party bosses as the wielders of political power gained not by votes but by money. … Political management is now a diversified, multibillion-dollar industry of managers, speechwriters, pollsters, and advertisers who play a role in everything from this year’s Presidential race to the campaigns of the candidates for your local school committee. … But for years Whitaker and Baxter had no competition, which is one reason that, between 1933 and 1955, they won seventy out of seventy-five campaigns. The campaigns they chose to run, and the way they decided to run them, shaped the history of California, and of the country.