Candidate-centered politics are election campaigns and other political processes in which candidates, not political parties, have most of the initiative and influence. The parties’ major role in campaigns is the raising and spending of money. The game begins with lots of money. The “money chase” is relentless. The major source of campaign funds comes from the RNC (Republican National Committee) and the DNC (Democratic National Committee). There are two types of money that campaigners receive, hard money and soft money. Hard money is campaign funds given directly to candidates to spend as they choose. Soft money is campaign contributions that are not subject to legal limits and are given to parties rather than directly to candidates. Because soft money is not regulated by election laws, companies, unions and individuals may give donations in any amount to a political party for the purpose of "party building." Party building may include ads that educate voters about issues, as long as the ads don't take the crucial step of telling voters which candidates to vote for. For example:
Candidate X runs an ad that says, "I am a good person. Candidate Y is a bad person. Vote for me on election day." Because of the "Vote for me..." portion, this is a political ad, which must be paid for with "hard money."
Candidate Y runs an ad that says, "Candidate X has a record that includes awful things. If these awful things continue, people will come to your house, steal your money and shoot your dog. Be sure to vote on Election Day." Because the ad "educates" people on an issue and doesn't tell them to vote for a particular candidate, its party building, and can be paid for by soft money (www.how stuff works.com).
Media consultants are often hired and are a staple of the modern campaign. They produce televised political advertising and create the “photo-ops” and other staged events that attract news coverage ...