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The Campaign Consultant Trap

Morton Blackwell, the fabled conservative organizer (founder of the Leadership Institute) has produced an article at The Daily Caller that beautifully describes the trap that political candidates fall into when they entrust their election hopes to professional campaign consultants.

Mr. Blackwell won his spurs long ago in the Reagan Revolution and now teaches his skills to young 'uns. In this article he describes the typical trajectory of a campaign consultant. Someone starts out working on a campaign, gets assigned serious responsibilities, is well-appreciated. Next he handles a campaign mostly by himself. Then, if successful, he suddenly finds that he is regarded as a pro.

By the third or fourth campaign, the operative has been deemed an expert and goes into campaigns as a business.

The problem? The professional campaign consultant often gets a commission of 15 percent on the campaign advertising budget. That is the basis of his living, and the bigger the budget, the better he does. It doesn't take long before the ad buys become the main focus of the campaign, especially since the grass roots organizing aspect of politics takes lots of time-consuming attention and really can't be accomplished in just one election cycle. It's so much easier to get the candidate to raise lots of money so the election can be won or lost in paid media.

It is a system that works well for the campaign pros, and not so well for the candidates and their followers.

You can email brucechapman@discovery.org

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