Winner, 2015 Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award, presented by the National Communication Association
With Barack Obama’s electoral victories, scholars and political watchers have marveled at the ways campaigns are using digital communication technologies (DCTs) in their strategy toolkit in the United States. Yet since 1996 presidential campaigns have been experimenting with ways to use DCTs to their advantage.
This book tells the stories of the practices of campaigning with DCTs between 1996 and 2012, looking at winners and also-rans.
The stories provide rich details of the variety of factors that contribute to the success or failure of candidates, including (but not only) digital media.
The stories also show how political campaigns over five election cycles transitioned from the paradigm of mass-media campaigning to networked campaigning. That is, campaigns shifted from efforts at mass persuasion to efforts of two-step flow persuasion: identifying super-supporters and giving them the right tools and messages to take to their social network, mobilizing their involvement with the campaign and securing voters on Election Day.
In Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age, Stromer-Galley argues that the specific DCT affordance of interactivity helps make clear that the imperative of political campaigns is to craft strategic messages that motivate segments of the electorate to mobilize for a candidate.
Although democracy in the broadest sense is about broad participation among members of the citizenry, in which all voices are equal, paradoxically, political campaigns (especially at the presidential level) are undemocratic affairs.
*Book description from publisher