The rest of the chapter covers three elements of campaigning: fundraising, polling, and mobilizing of voter support through endorsements, advertising, and public appearances.
Since the 1950s, politics in the U.S. has undergone a long-run transformation from labor-intensive campaigning (based on people and mass organizations), to capital-intensive campaigning (based on technology and mass communications). The electoral system evolved in the twentieth century with the development of mass media, and it continues to evolve in sometimes surprising directions. Now more than ever, candidates, parties, and interest groups rely on new techniques and technology for political campaigning, in the endless quest for an edge over opponents.
Electoral campaigns in Texas have become increasingly expensive over the past two decades. Changes in campaign technology, national politics, and the state's economic development have together maintained upward pressure on campaign budgets. This chapter's feature Major Party Congressional and Texas Legislative Fundraising conveys how much money state and national legislative candidates now raise to run for office.
Despite the extent to which technological advances have changed the face of campaigning, good old-fashioned campaigning still plays a major role. Campaigns have events to draw attention to their candidates; candidates stand in front of crowds and give speeches (albeit in the hope of reaching not just the audience in attendance, but the news media, too); and campaigns do what they can to throw their opponents off balance or to piggy back on the coverage of others. (For an example of a campaign event and attempts by opponents to get their own coverage, see the slide show of images in the feature box on the right side of this page.)
Lawmakers have attempted, both on the national and state levels, to regulate campaign contributions. But these efforts tend to be of limited effectiveness. The laws are generally lenient. Regulatory enforcement is weak (whether by the Federal Election Commission in federal elections or by the Texas Ethics Commission in state elections). And parties, campaigns, and donors have found ways to circumvent regulations. The following sections look at some of the causes of rising campaign costs, at the regulation of campaign financing and spending, and at the impact of money on elections in Texas.