• Hardcover: 296 pages
    • Publisher: OUP USA (28 Jan. 2016)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0190217197
    • ISBN-13: 978-0190217198

    Building a Business of Politics: The Rise of Political Consulting and the Transformation of American Democracy 

    Since the early twentieth century, political races in the United States have relied on highly paid political consultants to carefully curate the perceived personalities of hopeful politicians, to advise candidates using polling and analytics, and to affect voters' perceptions with marketing and advertising techniques. Much of the $1.3 billion spent in the 2012 presidential election went to these consultants who control virtually every aspect of the campaigns from polling, fundraising, and media to more novel techniques of social media and micro-targeting. These consultants play a larger role in our political races than ever before-determining not only how the public sees politicians, but also how politicians see the public. 

    In Building a Business of Politics¸ author Adam Sheingate traces the history of political consultants back to the Progressive Era at the turn of the twentieth century, when reformers viewed increased publicity as a positive way to further open politics up to public scrutiny. Through the following century, the addition of publicity to politics transformed political races into a very profitable business. Consultants command a hefty fee from politicians and in turn leverage the perceived message of the politician into increased special interest group campaign donations. In fact, critics often blame these consultants for the state of politics today. 

    The implications of this system on the state of American democracy are significant: the rise of the permanent campaign brings with it the rise of a permanent campaign industry, thus affecting the priorities of politicians. A professional political class stands between the voters and those who claim to represent them, influencing messages on both sides. This book shows how the character of our politics depends on who controls these vital aspects of democratic practice, and what this means for the future of our political system.


    1.) The Business of Politics
    2.) Publicity and the Public
    3.) Professional Propaganda
    4.) The Art and Science of Politics
    5.) A Business Takes Shape
    6.) Advertising Politics
    7.) The Consolidation of Control 
    8.) The Business of Digital Politics
    9.) The Evolution of Political Work

    Appendix: Estimating the Size of the Political Consulting Industry

     Adam Sheingate

    Adam Sheingate is an associate professor and chair of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. His most recent book is Building a Business of Politics: The Rise of Political Consulting and the Transformation of American Democracy. His is also a co-editor of theOxford Handbook of Historical Institutionalism and the author of the Rise of the Agricultural Welfare State: Institutions and Interest Group Power in the United States, France, and Japan as well as journal articles and book chapters on American political development, historical institutionalism, and comparative public policy.
     Sheingate teaches courses on American politics and institutions at the graduate and undergraduate level, including a popular seminar on the politics of food. Prior to joining the Johns Hopkins University faculty, Sheingate was a Prize Research Fellow in Politics at Nuffield College, Oxford. He is also a past-recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar Award in Health Policy Research at the University of California-Berkeley, and he served as the Mary Ball Washington Professor in American History at University College Dublin.