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The 2012 Presidential Campaign

A Communication Perspective

Edited by Robert E. Denton Jr. - Contributions by Henry C. Kenski; Kate M. Kenski; Rachel Holloway; Ben Voth; Craig Allen Smith; John C. Tedesco; Scott W. Dunn; Gwen Brown; Jeffrey P. Jones; John Allen Hendricks; Joseph M. Valenzano III and Jason A. Edwards

Presidential campaigns are our national conversations – the widespread and complex communication of issues, images, social reality, and personas. Political communication specialists break down the 2012 presidential campaign and go beyond the quantitative facts, electoral counts, and poll results of the election, to make sense of the “political bits” of communication that comprise our voting choices. The contributors look at the early campaign period, the nomination process and conventions, the social and political contexts, the debates, the role of candidate spouses, candidate strategies, political strategies, and the use of the Internet and other technologies. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 220Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-1674-7 • Paperback • July 2013 • $41.00 • (£27.95)
978-1-4422-1675-4 • eBook • July 2013 • $39.00 • (£24.95)
Robert E. Denton, Jr. holds the W. Thomas Rice Chair of Leadership Studies in the Pamplin College of Business and serves as head of the Department of Communication at Virginia Tech.
Chapter 1: The Presidential Nominating Conventions and the American Dream: Narrative Unity and Political Division. Rachel Holloway
Chapter 2: Change in the Communication Demands of Spouses in the 2012 Nominating Convention, Gwen Brown
Chapter 3: Presidential Debates 2012, Ben Voth
Chapter 4: “His to Lose”: Strategic Keys to Challenging the Incumbent in 2012, Craig Allen Smith
Chapter 5: Political Advertising in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, John C. Tedesco & Scott W. Dunn
Chapter 6: “Death by Taxes”: A Post-mortem on Romney’s Tax Return Apologia, Joseph M. Valenzano III & Jason A. Edwards
Chapter 7: Presidential Campaigns as Cultural Events: The Convergence of Politics and Popular Culture in Election 2012, Jeffrey P. Jones
Chapter 8: The New Media Campaign of 2012, John Allen Hendricks
Chapter 9: Explaining the Vote in the Election of 2008: Obama’s Re-election, Henry C. Kenski & Kate M. Kenski
About the Contributors
This is a comprehensive analysis of Campaign 2012, from the growing political role of candidates’ wives, to the dysfunctional presidential debates, to Romney’s rhetorically challenged response to attacks, to the increasingly sophisticated use of social media. The volume is important reading for anyone who wants to stay current in presidential campaign communication.
John H. Parmalee, professor and Chair, Department of Communication, University of North Florida, and author of Politics and the Twitter Revolution

By any measure the 2012 Presidential campaign was bound to be an unusual national spectacle. An African American President presiding over a struggling economy was vulnerable. The GOP foundered early in uncharacteristic disarray. And the interests of voters usually thought to be on the margins of the electorate—African Americans, Latinos, and younger women—would eventually converge to give Barack Obama a comfortable victory. Critical assessments of national campaigns always benefit from multiple voices and perspectives. In this perceptive collection, Robert E. Denton Jr. presides over a penetrating and original examination of these and other forces using his own slate of seasoned political scholars. The nine essays in The 2012 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective match the readability of conventional journalistic narratives, but easily surpass them in providing critical insights on a host of presentational variables: the drama of the presidential debates, the surrogacy of the candidates’ spouses, social media magnifying various triumphs and gaffs, advertising offensives in a handful of states, and fateful rhetorical choices made by each side in the run-up to November 6th. Few accounts of the 2012 campaign have been so detailed and thorough in assessing the candidates’ messages.

Gary C. Woodward, The College of New Jersey and author of the Perfect Response and Center Stage: Media and the Performance of American Politics

Robert Denton has once again brought together a team of political communication scholars who apply a wide range of theories and methods to analyzing a presidential campaign. From traditional speeches by candidates and their wives to twitter reactions from citizens, every type of campaign communication is explored. Denton's observation in his introduction that the more presidential campaign communication changes, the more it remains the same is evident throughout each chapter's analysis. The need for apologia, the dominance of the American Dream in presidential rhetoric, complaints about debate formats and their limitations--both old and new--or increased reliance on negative advertising are not new themes in analyzing these quadrennial events. However, the authors demonstrate that context matters and that each plays out in some unique way in 2012.
Diana B. Carlin, Saint Louis University, Professor Emerita

In his preface to The 2012 Presidential Campaign, Robert E. Denton reflects that he has edited a book on the presidential election for every campaign dating back to 1992. Each of these elections, he argues, was both unique and very much the same as preceding contests. The chapters selected for the 2012 iteration reflect that dialectic—the contributors both explore subject matter that is particular to this cycle and place the election in appropriate historical context. Some of the chapters are exemplary, most are useful, and as a collection the edited volume holds up nicely alongside its predecessors in Denton’s series.
Presidential Studies Quarterly