Political Consulting

Republican consultant Mark Goodin in the documentary "A Perfect Candidate."

FRQ #1, Concept Application.


The following passage is a commentary from Washington Monthly.

“[T]he campaign consulting industry has conned an entire class of donors and candidates. . . These days, pretty much every candidate who runs for office does so with a professional consultant. . . . In 1930s California, the first dedicated political consulting firm, Campaigns Inc., was born. It used modern marketing techniques primarily to help business groups and trade associations. . . . By 1978, half of all House candidates had hired a consultant or a pollster . . . By 1989, an estimated 12,000 people earned a living in the consulting industry. . .  .

Consultants package their candidates for television: simple themes, big on the personal biography while hitting your opponents’ character hard. Such a campaign waged primarily in high-production, short-duration television spots can never be a genuine war of ideas, or a space for experimentation and innovation. Moreover, as direct mail and other forms of micro-targeting have proliferated, candidates have been advised to slice and dice themselves into different ways to appeal to as many different demographic groups as possible.”

—Lee Drutman, Washington Monthly, 2016


(A) Describe an action political consultants can take to enhance their client’s chances of winning an election.

(B) In the context of this scenario, explain a candidate’s reliance on political consultants or pollsters.

(C) Explain the benefits or drawbacks to this scenario regarding political consulting as a linkage institution.