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Campaigns on the Cutting Edge

Campaigns on the Cutting Edge

Third Edition
Edited by:

February 2016 | 264 pages | CQ Press
Campaigns on the Cutting Edge evaluates the current trends of today’s campaigns and assesses the innovative changes these well-tuned organizations are making on the presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial levels.  As technology now allows candidates to announce their candidacies online, raise money through web fundraising, and mobilize supporters via smartphones, these increasingly mobile and integrated campaigns face the growing influence of outside interests. The thoroughly updated Third Edition looks at the 2016 election and focuses on the growth of super PACs, the role of big data in campaigns, voter identification laws and their impact, and the ways in which technology increases the volume of information that campaigns use.

Richard J. Semiatin
Chapter 1: Introduction - Campaigns on the Cutting Edge
The New Political Campaign  
The Evolving Campaign: Adaptation by Political Institutions and Groups  
Robert G. Boatright
Chapter 2: Fundraising - The New Rules
Blending New and Old Candidate Fundraising Models  
The Old Model Still Works  
Mixing Old and New Models of Fundraising  
The New World Order of Candidate Fundraising: Candidate Super-PACs  
Does Candidate Fundraising Still Matter?  
From Candidate-Centered to Donor-Centered Politics?  
Tad Devine
Chapter 3: Paid Media in Campaigns - Now and in the Future
Paid Television Advertising  
The Role of Media Consultants  
Writing Campaign Ads  
The Importance of Audio and Video  
Research Based Message Development  
Communicating the Message through Different Ads  
Cutting Edge Changes in Advertising  
The Next Wave: The Future of Media Advertising  
Independent Expenditures  
Michael Turk
Chapter 4: Social and New Media - The Digital Present and Future
The Rise of the Internet and New Media in Campaigns  
New Media and Social Media  
The Role of New Media in Campaigns  
Data Analytics Helps Online Voter Contact  
The Rise of Social Media Platforms  
The Mobile Voter  
The Online Future  
Candice J. Nelson
Chapter 5: Survey Research and Campaigns - Getting to the Future
The Role of Phones in Survey Research  
Online Surveys  
Microtargeting, Modeling, Big Data and Campaigns  
Social Medias  
The Future of Survey Research and Campaigns  
Richard J. Semiatin
Chapter 6: Voter Mobilization - The Future is Now
The Tradition of Parties Delivering Votes  
The Traditional Model of Targeting Voters  
Voter Mobilization in the 21st Century: Recent Developments  
Case Study: Cutting-Edge Methods to Get-Out-the-Vote by the Obama Campaign in 2012  
Republicans Rebound in 2014  
The Cutting Edge of Change: Into the Future with Voter Mobilization  
Tari Renner
Chapter 7: Political Parties - Reinvigorated
Party Revitalization and Ideological Polarization  
Ideological Purists and Pragmatists  
National Party Organizations: Structure  
The Emergence and Institutionalization of the Service Party Model  
Party Leadership and Strategies  
The World Today: Parties Compete with Outside Groups for Resources  
National Party Organizations: Traditional and New Technologies  
Direct Mail and Microtargeting  
GOTV - The Latest Voter Mobilizarion  
Traditional Media and the New Media  
Party Organizations - Alive and Well  
Future Challenges: Demographic Change and Realignment?  
Nina Therese Kasniunas, Mark J. Rozell, Charles Keckler
Chapter 8: Interest Groups, SuperPACs and Independent Expenditures
Traditional Approaches by Interest Groups in Campaigns  
Modern Techniques Employed by Traditional Interest Groups in Campaigns  
The Emergence of SuperPACs  
501(c)(4) Groups and "Dark Money"  
The Cutting Edge of SuperPACs and 501(c)(4) Organizations  
New Technologies Enhance the Power of Interest Groups in Campaigns  
Conclusion: Looking Ahead to Group-Centered Politics  
Joseph Graf, Jeremy D. Mayer, Richard J. Semiatin
Chapter 9: Campaign Press Coverege - Changed Forever
Origins and Development of American Press Coverage  
An Era of Transformation: The Decline of Mainstream Media  
Cutting-Edge Effects on Political Campaign Coverage  
Part I - On the Edge of Change: Politics at the Speed of Light  
Part II - On the Edge of Change: Campaigns as Reporters - Opponent Surveillance  
Part III - On the Edge of Change: Campaigns as Reporters - Opponent Surveillance  
Part IV - On the Edge of Change: Campaign News Coverage in the Hands of Citizens  
Future Challenges  
Peter L. Francia, Wesley Joe, Clyde Wilcox
Chapter 10: Campaign Finance - New Realities Beyond Citizens United
The Evolution and Framework of Campaign Finance Reform  
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act  
Rulings from the Roberts Court on BCRA  
The Impact of the Roberts Court's Decisions on Federal Elections  
The Effects of Campaign Finance Deregulation on Campaign Activities  
Prospects for Legislative Reform: An Overview  
Nearer-Term Prospects: Repairing the Disclosure Regime's Widening "Coverage Error"  
Long-Term Prospects: The Changing Shape of Public Financing Proposals  
Jeffrey Crouch
Chapter 11: Voter Identification Laws - Necessary, Nefarious, or Neither?
What is the Bigger Picture?  
What Are They?  
Which States Have Them?  
How Did the Laws Emerge?  
Why Are They Controversial?  
Current Issues  
What Impact Have Voter ID Laws Had?  
What is Likely to Happen in the Future?  
Susan A. MacManus
Chapter 12: Women and Campaigns - Generational-Based Micro-Targeting and Tackling Stereotypes
A Generational Look at Female Voters  
Women in Campaigns: Less Emphasis on Style, More on Substance?  
Changing Times: Signs the Overemphasis on Style May Be Waning Slightly  
Women Candidates' Efforts to Minimize Style, Maximize Substance  
Women in the Campaign Media  
Developing Targeting Strategies: Perennial Questions  
Techniques for Micro-Targeting Female Voters  
Looking Ahead  
Atiya Kai Stokes-Brown
Chapter 13: Minority Candidates and the New Landscape of Campaigns in the Twenty-First Century
The Changing Face of America and Its Impact on American Politics  
Minority Campaigns and Candidate Behavior  
Campaign Activities of Minority Candidates  
Voter Mobllization of Minorities, Part I - Microtargeting  
Voter Mobilization of Minorities, Part II - Get-Out-the-Vote  
Challenges for Minority Candidates in 2016 and Beyond  
Dick Simpson
Chapter 14: Political Campaigns and Democracy
Money in Campaigns  
The Selling of the Candidate  
Analytics and Privacy  
Media Coverage  
Personal Voter Contact Still Matters  
From Candidate-Centered to Interest Group and Donor-Centered Campaigns  
Leave No Group Behind  
Winning Elections and the Democratic Process  

“The topics covered and the authors involved in Campaigns on the Cutting Edge are impressive. Semiatin has identified strong scholars to share their analyses of contemporary campaign strategy and the result is engaging and resonates with my students.”

Christopher P. Gilbert
Gustavus Adolphus College

Campaigns on the Cutting Edge is very engaging. Its chapters pose real and current questions that students can see unfolding around them in political news every day. It discusses those questions succinctly, with current examples, and avoids pretensions while making good use of the substance of available scholarship. Above all, the book’s voice is accessible, clear and punchy, with a healthy mix of respect and skepticism about the American political system.”

Ralph Begleiter
University of Delaware
Key features


  • New chapter examines how voter identification laws may or may not be affecting the turnout of minority groups
  • Discusses how social media has expanded as a communications source
  • Looks at "big data" utilization for campaigns to find out preferences about voters, from cars to viewing habits on television, to help campaigns target messages to voters 
  • Explores how SuperPACs have become a driving force in candidate promotion, issue promotion, and voter turnout
  • Considers how television still remains the king of advertising despite all the new technology, remaining the best way to reach and persuade large groups of voters
  • Looks at voters increase in use of blogs, social media, and comedy for information
  • Covers the greater overlap in functions now characterizing campaigns as the separation between individual roles such as fundraising, advertising, digital media, and get-out-the-vote becomes more blurred

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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