Winning Elections in the 21st Century

Dick Simpson & Betty O'Shaughnessy

A national cochair of the presidential campaign of Barack Obama when few thought he could ever be elected, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is here to tell you: Yes you can! And the book she recommends for candidates, campaign staff, volunteers, and citizens is Winning Elections in the 21st Century, a handbook for anyone who wants to know how campaigns are run and won today.

Written by longtime political veterans, both former elected officials, Winning Elections is steeped in old-fashioned political know-how and savvy about the latest campaign techniques, methods, and strategies using social media, vote analytics, small donor online fundraising, and increasingly sophisticated microtargeting. Using examples from across the United States, the authors discuss the nuts and bolts of state and local races, as well as "best practices" in national elections. A successful campaign, they assert and evidence confirms, merges the new technology with proven techniques from the past, and their book helps candidates, students, and citizens consider all the opportunities and challenges that these tools provide—never losing sight of the critical role that personal contact plays in getting voters to the polls.

“Every candidate and campaign staffer should have this book. From building an organization to using the power of the Internet to elect better candidates, Simpson and O’Shaughnessy show us how to do everything to win elections.”

—David Orr, Cook County, IL, Clerk

Winning Elections in the 21st Century provides a birds-eye view to observe the inside story of candidates and campaigns. The authors deftly articulate what is missing in many academic books about politics and campaigns—reality. ”

—Richard J. Semiatin, author of Campaigns in the 21st Century

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At the heart of this book is the conviction that we need to win democracy along with elections. Accordingly Simpson and O'Shaughnessy write primarily about campaigns in which the maximum number of citizens participate, as opposed to those determined by a few wealthy individuals and interest groups. People power can prevail with the right candidates, issues, and support—and Winning Elections in the 21st Century shows how.

About the Author

Dick Simpson is professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the co-editor with Dennis Judd of The City, Revisited: Urban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York.

Betty O’Shaughnessy is a visiting lecturer in political science, University of Illinois at Chicago and coauthor of The Struggle for Power and Influence in Cities and States.