For better or worse, political image is now more important to electoral victory than a spontaneous exchange of conflicting views over matters of substantive policies. Campaign managers, polling specialists, and communication consultants define issues, set agendas, and explore policy options primarily for electoral gain. In short, campaign contrivances replace substance at all phases and levels of electoral contests. Political estrangement, as illustrated by declining voting levels, may well be a by-product of deceptive political consultant and political journalistic practices rather than Americans being frustrated by insoluble problems. In The Political Persuaders, Dan Nimmo analyzes and critiques the emerging political industry of professional political management and consulting. His volume was the first book-length treatment to do so; it is a seminal work on the subject for both academic scholars and political practitioners. In his new introduction, Nimmo hones his critique in light of the past thirty years and its effects on campaign organization, research, and communication. He assesses changes in campaign technology, stable and shifting practices of candidate marketing, and the consequences for democratic governance inherent in professionally mediated campaigns at the close of the twentieth century. Nimmo succinctly reviews his well-nigh prophetic conclusions, determining that trends discovered in 1970 not only persist, but continue to intensify with a vengeance. Although evolving campaign techniques claim to involve citizens in the electoral process, the actual involvement is more cosmetic than real-this, Nimmo argues is the principle source of deepening popular disappointment and a general political apathy. This timely volume should be read by political scientists, policymakers, and those in the fields of mass communication and journalism. Dan Nimmo has been a professor of political science, journalism, and communication at various institutions, notably the University of Missouri, University of Tennessee, and the University of Oklahoma. He is currently distinguished visiting professor of political science at Baylor University. He is the author or editor of many works including Popular Images of Politics and Newsgathering in Washington.
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