Whether it's the rise of craft beer and ride-sharing apps, the decline of unions, or the emergence of selfies, cultural and consumer trends that define the millennial generation can tell us surprising things about where America—and the Republican Party—is heading.
The American electorate is undergoing a radical and rapid transformation, and politicians are struggling to keep up with the changes. Cultural shifts and emerging technologies are reshaping how a new generation of voters considers issues, and are providing new avenues for voter contact and persuasion. Luckily, we have Kristen Soltis Anderson to explain how these converging developments are revolutionizing the science of elections and American politics in general.
In The Selfie Vote, Anderson, a pollster and political consultant, examines how these hot-topic trends are influencing the way America votes. Blending observations from focus groups with personal stories and polling results, she introduces us to tech-savvy political consultants and shows how these young, cutting-edge campaign operatives are using data mining and social media to transform electoral politics.
Just as data analytics have reshaped the consumer landscape, they have also made it possible for political campaigns to know you as a consumer—not just that you are a Democrat, or that you live on Spruce Street, or that you voted in the last presidential election. They can know if you like technology; if you have high-end culinary tastes; if you have a gun; if you like to knit; and, as a result, they can make very good educated guesses about if and how you'll vote.
Today's campaign consultants are poring over your purchasing history and mining your Facebook page for clues to your values and preferences. And for each of these relatively minor lifestyle or consumer choices people make, there are bigger ones—the decision to own a home, go to church, buy a car, join a union, invest in stocks, get married—that speak volumes about who we are and what we value and believe. Following these trends can tell us a lot about where our nation's politics are heading.
The best operatives take a page from advanced marketing techniques. That piece of campaign mail you got last week talking about how a particular candidate slashed education funding? Your next door neighbors probably didn't get the same brochure.
Anderson's illuminating, fact-based, and highly readable book busts established myths about campaigns and elections while offering insights into what's ahead—and what it will mean for the future of American politics.