Local party viability, goals, and objectives in the information age

Daniel M. Shea, J. Cherie Strachan, Michael Wolf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Building on a sea change that began in the 1960s, the means of political engagement have continued to evolve at a rapid pace over the past decade. New methods of mobilization were wielded by inventive, ambitious candidates-as deftly illustrated by President Barack Obama’s efforts to reach young voters via his “net-roots” campaign-but also by a myriad of new organizations flush with cash in the wake of eroding campaign finance regulations (Shea 2010; Johnson 2011; Thurber and Nelson 2010). The ability to narrowcast carefully targeted voter messages, once a resource-, labor-, and time-intensive endeavor, has come to fruition with the ease of new technologies. Now, voters are just (if not more) apt to receive a text message, e-mail or tweet directly from a candidate or an advocacy group than they are to answer a knock on the door or receive a phone call from a party activist. As candidate-centered-or as Shea (1996) 104has termed them, consultant-driven-campaigns take even deeper root in the American electoral process, and the array of well-heeled advocacy groups attempting to influence electoral outcomes continues to multiply, one might question what, if any, distinct functions are left for local party organizations in a process that they once dominated. Local parties, at the front lines of voter mobilization for nearly two centuries, once again face a dramatically shifting context that appears to further challenge their political relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Parties Respond
Subtitle of host publicationChanges in American Parties and Campaigns, Fifth Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages103-132
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780429962943
ISBN (Print)9780813346007
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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