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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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