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.

Communications and Democratic Elections

Communications and Democratic Elections

In this book, I have investigated political communications from a number of perspectives: What is the strategic use of commercials and social media? How do the news media cover communications? What impact do campaign messages have on viewers? In brief, I found that communications influence how voters learn about the candidates, what they identify as priorities, and attributions of blame. Messages have their strongest impact with little-known candidates and electoral settings of low visibility and in situations in which journalistic coverage reinforces the message. The timing and content of appeals and decisions on when and where to attack shape viewer responses.

This chapter examines the implications of these results for democratic elections. They are a means by which ...

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