Post-electoral consulting, political consulting and the legislative process
As political consultants become more prominent figures in congressional campaigns, they are simultaneously expanding their sphere of influence into the policy-making realm. No longer relegated to the limited confines of candidate-campaigns, many consultants remain principal advisors to politicians once in office. In addition, consultants are insinuating themselves into the legislative process by managing single-issue, grassroots movements on behalf of trade associations, corporations and advocacy groups in an effort to affect legislation as it moves through Congress. The flowering of a post-electoral consulting is due, in part, to the advent of the “permanent campaign.” Major policy initiatives have taken on the trappings of campaigns as politicians and interest groups court the public for support. Blurring the distinction between campaigning and governing places a premium on the specialized knowledge consultants possess in fields such as polling, mass marketing, and media relations. Post-electoral consulting raises important questions about the efficacy of applying campaign tactics in a governing context, the nature of political discourse in a mass media polity, and about the role of unelected figures in a representative democracy.