Run the Other Way: Fixing the Two-Party System, One Campaign at a Time

Bill Hillsman, Author Free Press $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7432-2446-8
Regardless of November tallies, the real winner of this year's presidential race will be""Election Industry, Inc.,"" says Hillman--voters and qualified candidates will lose out. While political reporters, pundits and professors often prescribe treatments for ailing democratic processes during an election year, Hillsman, a seasoned political marketer for such candidates as the late Paul Wellstone, Jesse Ventura and Ralph Nader, brings a unique and righteously outraged perspective to the mix. In this volume--part memoir, part campaign handbook--he attacks the den of Washington, D.C.-based political consultants and party officials (""an inside-the-Beltway collective of toadies, fakes, crooks, character assassins, racketeers, party apologists, false scientists, phony experts, self-aggrandizers, backscratchers, and backstabbers"") and recalls his own strategies for promoting candidates and enfranchising voters. Third party challengers (or even outsider party members like Howard Dean and John McCain), Hillsman says, face incredible obstacles from the Republican and Democratic elite: an onslaught of""toxic"" political advertisements, character assassinations and sound-bite responses to real issues. Sometimes Hillsman's forceful prose, embellished with sardonic zingers, turns from entertaining to repetitive. For instance, after citing a poll of political professionals that revealed 37 percent of them thought it acceptable to use negative advertising to hold down voter turnout and focus on insult rather than on issues, he adds the coda:""Political consultants think that's smart. I think it's despicable."" Ten pages later, he cites the same poll and repeats the coda almost word for word. Flaws aside, though, anyone who shares Hillsman's ire at the current state of electoral politics will enjoy this maverick tract and its wicked upbraiding of establishment campaigning.
Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Paperback - 267 pages - 978-1-4165-6833-9
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-7432-3859-5
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