A new understanding of what really matters in our elections
Prevailing wisdom holds that the pivot of American political campaigns has shifted over the past century from the parties to the candidate. David C. W. Parker challenges this conventional notion, arguing that campaigns center on neither orientation but are, more simply, resource dependent.
The Power of Money in Congressional Campaigns examines the historical development of party, interest-group, and candidate power in the American congressional election process. Parker takes a broad view of the electoral terrain, considering both primary and general elections, and discerns distinct patterns emerging during the twentieth century. He proposes a new theoretical model based on the need for candidates to accumulate enough financing and reputation to compete successfully, showing the importance of the rules governing this process.
Analyzing case studies of elections over more than a century, Parker argues that campaign behavior boils down to the determination to gather the resources needed to win. He shows that changes in electoral rules over time have affected the strategies candidates and parties use to accumulate campaign resources. He also suggests how the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 may influence the relationships among political actors and affect the quality of democratic discourse.
Unlike many studies of the election process, this book provides a broad understanding of why candidates, parties, and interest groups pursue particular strategies. The Power of Money in Congressional Campaigns is a corrective analysis of how candidates campaign, and how Americans choose their leaders.