POLITICAL SCIENCE

Producing Politics: Inside the Exclusive Campaign World Where the Privileged Few Shape Politics for All of Us

Beacon Jun. 2022. 248p. ISBN 9780807025062. $27.95. POL SCI
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Laurison (The Class Ceiling: Why It Pays To Be Privileged) interviewed 72 politicos of all stripes to provide many fascinating insights and tidbits, including what it’s like to work on a political campaign and whether campaign consultants make a difference. He debunks the idea of puppet masters dictating outcomes. Instead, Americans have tribal allegiances to a political party. He notes that Trump’s 2016 supporters stayed with him in 2020. Campaigns, run by mostly white, college educated elite insiders, work hard to mobilize supporters. Campaigns have a pyramid structure, with a tiny group of professionals, known to each other, determining strategy for many paid and unpaid workers. While the work is grueling, consultants see themselves as carrying out a mission. The book is fairly short, at under 200 pages. It is divided into six chapters, describing the inside operations of campaigns, how advisors got their start, and the impact on democracy. Laurinson’s research and ability to get candid responses from his anonymous subjects is impressive. While academic in tone, the book is accessible and well written.
VERDICT For readers wanting a glimpse into the closed club of political campaign consultants.
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