Campaigning as an Industry: Consulting Business Models and Intra-Party Competition
American political campaigns have become a multi-billion dollar industry. Rather than assume that only political factors affect the campaigns that voters see, scholars must assess the importance of the business incentives associated with political consulting. Economic competition does not match political competition; firms compete for clients within the two major parties, against their political allies. I argue that the supply of firms in each party, the revenue models in the industry, the diversification of client types, and the cooperative structure in each party all may affect political campaigns. The way the industry operates and the different patterns of behavior within each party create incentives and practices that may alter campaigns in response to economic factors having little to do with optimal political strategy. Using two original surveys and a network analysis, I analyze how the industry is changing and how consultants in each party cooperate and compete.
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