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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explains the development of political consultants in American politics and the increasing interaction of consultants and political parties. It starts by reviewing the history and describing the broader role that consultants play in American politics. Next, it describes in more detail specific functions that consultants have taken over for parties and for individual campaigns. It specifically discusses the broader phenomenon of political consultants and American electoral democracy. The two major parties (the Republican Party and the Democratic Party) operate in some quite different ways while both being organized around the units of competition at the federal level. This is true not only for relationships between the three party committees for each party but also in how they interact with consultants. The disputed nexus between political consultants and weak parties is presented. Political parties have played an important coordinating function between the consultants they employ and those retained by candidates.

Keywords: political consultants, American politics, Republican Party, Democratic Party, American electoral democracy, campaigns

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