Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Political Communication in Action: From Theory to Practice

David L. Helfert
Political Communication in Action: From Theory to Practice
ISBN: 978-1-62637-680-9
ISBN: 978-1-62637-681-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-705-9
2018/305 pages/LC: 2017018649
"This text reads like a novel [and] behaves like a text book.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"A terrific mix of research and experience, filled with wisdom and insight. Helfert has the real stuff down about campaigning, the press, and what it takes to win."— John Daly, University of Texas at Austin

"There is a lot more art than science to effective communication. Helfert pulls back the curtain, blows away the smoke, and breaks the mirrors to dispel the wizardry."— Mark McKinnon, chief media adviser to the George W. Bush campaign

"Written plainly and from experience, this behind-the-scenes 'cookbook' explains contemporary political communication in terms that students and nonscholars will understand, appreciate, and ultimately use."—Ralph J. Begleiter, University of Delaware


From developing effective messages to working with the news media, from writing speeches to tweeting, from crisis communication to the ethics of political communication, and everything in between, Political Communication in Action takes the reader step-by-step through the process.

This approachable new text:

• Covers both theory and real-world practice
• Uses examples and case studies to illustrate key concepts
• Shows what aspects of the process look like when done well, and when done poorly
• Addresses public affairs and advocacy communication, as well as political campaigns
• Explores changes emerging from the 2016 elections

Uniquely, it provides a tour of the communication process as it actually works: in political campaigns, in government from City Hall to Congress and the White House, and in advocacy organizations.


David L. Helfert has more than four decades of experience working in the field of political communication, including service in the Clinton administration (1994‒2000) and as communications director for a congressional committee and two congressmen (2001‒2010). He has taught political communication at Johns Hopkins University and George Mason University and has lectured at the US Naval Academy.


  • Political Communication in Action.
  • Defining Political Communication.
  • The Tools of Political Persuasion.
  • Making Political Communication Effective.
  • Political Issues.
  • Political Research and Communication Planning.
  • Political Speeches.
  • Political Advertising and Television.
  • Political Communication in the Internet Age.
  • Communicating Through the News Media.
  • Communication in an Age of Partisanship.
  • Crisis Communication.
  • The Ethical Line in Political Communication.