Politics and Unpredictability

Just after the New Year, the political script for 2011 appeared to be set.

Just after the New Year, the political script for 2011 appeared to be set. Buoyed by its new majority in the U.S. House as well as increased numbers in the Senate, the GOP was set to chip away at the Obama administration’s achievements and to make life generally unpleasant for Democrats in Washington. In the opening week of the 112th Congress, House Republicans led their body in a reading of the Constitution and planned a vote the next week to repeal the Obama healthcare reform law that many in their caucus saw as an affront to that text.   Then, the Tucson tragedy changed the script somewhat, and other developments on the international scale—particularly in Egypt and Tunisia—further clouded the picture. As of this writing, it is unclear how events will unfold in post-Mubarak Egypt. One thing that is clear, however, is that the world is already far different from what it seemed to be at the beginning of the calendar year. The takeaway is as old as democracy: Politics very rarely goes according to script. Our goal at Campaigns & Elections is to serve as a guide to practicing politics in an ever changing and unpredictable world.   Our February issue includes a feature from Executive Editor Costas Panagopoulos on innovators whose work promises to be put to work on tomorrow’s campaigns, from biometric tools that can read subjects’ emotions to the latest insights into which messages drive voters to the polls…and which don’t.   Veteran media buyer Joseph Mercurio offers a primer on his art and argues that when it comes to political media, broadcast television is the once and future king. In our cover story, Managing Editor Daniel Weiss mines a fascinating vein of data on the relationship between people’s partisan identity and the television shows they prefer to watch. The findings have potential application to media buying, of course, but are also interesting in their own right.   We also introduce our list of top political players in Nevada in the latest installment of our monthly Influencers feature. Finally, we list the finalists in the competition for C&E’s Reed Awards for excellence in campaign management and execution. Be sure to check out the March issue for profiles of award winners.   Thank you for reading.   Mike Hennessy CEO

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