Tracing the evolution of political advertising from 1952 through 2016, Darrell M. West returns with his much anticipated Seventh Edition of Air Wars: Television Advertising and Social Media in Election Campaigns, 1952-2016. Integrating the latest data and key events from the 2016 campaigns–including the most provocative presidential campaign in recent decades and the surprising victory of Donald Trump–West provides in-depth examination and insight into how candidates plan and execute advertising and social media campaigns, how the media covers these campaigns, and how American voters are ultimately influenced by them. This new edition includes coverage of social media campaigning, nano-targeting strategies in a fragmented electorate, and thorough analysis of the 2016 presidential campaign, from the candidates’ use of Twitter to concerns over falsehoods and deception, the impact of ads and debates on candidate perceptions, and the risks to democratic elections from new campaign developments.

Playing the Blame Game

Playing the Blame Game

It has become conventional wisdom in recent campaigns that attack ads work. The widespread acceptance of this view explains the frequency of negative campaigns. This perspective, though, ignores some contrary evidence. In 1988, George H. W. Bush was able to dominate the agenda and prime voters with the help of political attacks. Yet it also is clear from other elections that Bush in 1992, Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich in 1996, John McCain in 2008, and Donald Trump in 2016 were the objects of a backlash against negative ads that helped their opponents to attract voters.

From the candidates’ standpoint, negative ads are risky as a strategic device because it is hard to benefit from an attack without ...

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