An Analysis of the Campaign Context in the U.S.: How did Political Parties Use Social Media in the 2014 Midterm Election Campaign?

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<p>Contextual factors influence the ways in which social media are used in elections. By observing the 2014 U.S. midterm election campaign, this paper will consider the impact of social media on political parties, the new professionalization of campaigns, and campaign finance reform. It will first address political parties' use of social media in the election campaign. Second, it will discuss which new trends in the professionalization of campaigns have been instigated by new media. Third, it will examine the role of super PACs and 501 (c)(4) organizations in the current campaign finance regulatory regime. These questions will be tackled in this paper based on interviews with those who played a firsthand role in the campaigns, newspapers, professional journals, and official documents, including political parties' websites. In conclusion, it will reveal three significant contextual factors to consider in the polarized social media environment of American election campaigns. One is that political parties use social media to advertise their campaigns to voters, while they still prefer to use e-mails as a fundraising source. Another is how the changing media environments affect media consultants and other types of political consultants. The more digital technology advances, the more the circumstance of political consultants changes. The other factor is that super PACs play an important role in providing plentiful campaign finance for candidates, although there are regulations banning coordination with individual candidates' campaigns under the current regulatory system. Thus, in the American election system and fundraising mechanism, will American political parties really have more presence in the election campaigns by using digital media? To further research on this topic, this question needs to be considered in depth.</p>


  • Journal of Socio-Informatics

    Journal of Socio-Informatics 9(1), 16-28, 2016

    The Society of Socio-Informatics


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