We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Political Consultant?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Historical Index is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Historical Index, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A political consultant is a type of management consultant who focuses on the campaigns of political figures. He or she can be looked at as a sort of advertising executive, but instead of selling a tangible product or service, they are selling the idea of a person as a candidate. Although these consultants exist throughout the world, in the United States specifically, a fairly massive industry has built up around political consulting.

Political consulting is not a new thing in the American political landscape. Early political advisors, such as President McKinley’s close confidante Mark Hanna, acted in much the same capacity as modern consultants. In the 1930s the firm Campaigns, Inc. was formed by Whitaker and Baker, focusing exclusively on political campaigns in their marketing work. In the 1960s, with the advent of massive television campaigns, the work of the political consultant grew exponentially, and people like Joseph Napolitan began actively describing themselves with this phrase.

With the continued growth of media in political campaigns, and the increasingly important role that message management and spin plays in handling campaigns, political consulting is becoming an ever more and more integral part of campaigns. Nearly all political campaigns, from the most basic city council campaign to the Presidential campaigns, employ at least one political consultant, and larger campaigns may employ dozens. Although it is undeniable that the consultant is a necessary part of a modern campaign, many people level criticisms at the role especially as it becomes more visible to the public.

Traditionally, the political consultant was responsible primarily for simple marketing aspects of a campaign, such as ad buys and crafting the ads. In recent years, however, as campaigns have become more focused, he or she is likely to be actively involved in crafting the message of the campaign. Speeches will be run by him or her, and the candidate will likely be drilled on talking points to address any questions that may come up in non-scripted events. Bearing, set dressings, and even outfits may all be run by the consultant, who can evaluate how every small thing will impact a candidate’s perception in the public eye.

One of the largest criticisms aimed at political consulting is that more and more consultants see themselves as personal celebrities, and often put the needs of their clients second to their own needs. This has become especially true as 24-hour news networks have grown and find themselves needing political experts. A political consultant is the obvious choice to fill the role of commentator, so many consultants end up with jobs commenting on politics, which many charge impedes their ability to serve their candidates completely. This can also be seen in the proliferation of book deals for political consultants, where candidate secrets may be revealed in order to help bolster book sales.

Another major critique is that political consultants have a vested interest in a certain type of partisan politics, where they flourish. This encourages them to push campaigns run in a negative style, with a few set agendas. People argue that the dynamic discourages public participation, and critics label the system one of political insiders dictating policy for an entire party.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By latte31 — On Oct 01, 2010

BrickBack- I think that Democratic political consulting firms are used in general elections in order to get more Democrats elected.

Usually they offer a strategy for the candidate to follow in order to be either like it or reelected to their position. They will also speak on how other candidates in many of the political talk shows on television are doing.

Political consulting firms really aid the candidate in portraying a more favorable image in the public's mind. Dick Morris, a former political consultant for President Clinton, said they he would often do a poll as to what vacation location would be most favorable to the American public.

By BrickBack — On Oct 01, 2010

Republican political consulting firms hire Republican political consultants.

People hired for these political consultant jobs try to get their candidate elected. They offer political advice regarding political strategies that the candidates should take in order to be viewed more favorably as a candidate.

Political consultancy includes advising on media and use it to handle difficult situations.

Political consultants usually do internal polling in order to provide their clients information on their current standing.

Republican political consultant works to get Republican candidate elected. They will often appear on television and give their political views on various political races.

The drawback to having own bias regarding their own political party, so they cannot be entirely objective.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.