THE NEXT HURRAH: The Communications Revolution in American Politics by Richard Armstrong

THE NEXT HURRAH: The Communications Revolution in American Politics

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A comprehensive survey of a new wave in politics--the high-tech methods used to sell candidates to the public--by an insider, direct-mail specialist Armstrong, who has created mail campaigns for Gerald Ford. Armstrong takes us through the vagaries of direct mail in its many guises, including fund-raising, ""milking the lists"" (i.e., taking a loss on original mailings, then hitting up the respondents again and again, thus increasing the ultimate percentage of response), and persuasion mail (""the water moccasin of politics""). He demonstrates how conservatives and Republicans benefit most from direct mail (""The Democrats have never understood the importance of reinvesting in their direct mail program""), and then ventures into some other high-tech areas that are changing the way candidates reach the voters. These include telemarketing (in which samplers have the luxury of cutting off a poorly responding list), cable television (inexpensive, often the sole source of viewing for particular ethnic groups), satellites (offering the candidate a means of appearing in many states at once without the exhaustion of physical travel), computers (offering multifaceted possibilities on honing-in on voter groups via databases, geodemographics, etc.), and telecommunications (including the use of local area networks, computer bulletin-board systems, electronic mail, electronic funds transfer for fund-raising, fiber optics, bidrectional cable, teletext, etc.). Finally, Armstrong sees potential danger in this voter-targeting, with easily swayed voters, inundated by propaganda while alone in their rooms, losing the advice, good sense, and general constraint of their neighbors. Overall, one of the best books on the ramifications of the electronic political process since McGinniss' The Selling of the President.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1988
Publisher: Beech Tree/Morrow