Democracy in Action's Campaign Literature Project
Continuously Run Since 1989.

Democracy in Action is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit effort to educate citizens about the political process and their role in making it work.  

Democracy in Action is best known for the P2008 website, and its predecessors the P2004 and P2000 websites, which have provided perspective on presidential campaigns since May 1998.  Democracy in Action has also organized several exhibits at The George Washington University.  Democracy in Action president Eric M. Appleman recently edited two collections of editorial cartoons on the 2008 presidential nominating races in collaboration with the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

Our longest running endeavor is the Campaign Literature Project, a library of campaign literature from all U.S. Senate and gubernatorial and selected U.S. House races going back to 1989.  The project grew out of my studies at The George Washington University, where I graduated from with a B.A. in Political Communication.

Since this project was begun much has changed in campaign communications; most obviously web sites now provide an easy way for citizens to find out about campaigns.   However, the focus of this project remains those basic pieces of campaign literature handed out to voters during canvasses and at events.  If I were to walk into your campaign headquarters, what would I find?  We ask each campaign to send their "best stuff," that is the standard brochures and palm cards that they distribute to voters.

This is an academic analysis which generalizes across the types of literature: Republican gubernatorial candidates, Democratic Senate candidates, and so forth.  It looks at themes and issues highlighted, key words (for example "independent" or "values"), and the photographs and images used (for example, are there flags or other symbols, family shots or formal head shots and so forth) on the basic lit. pieces.  As noted, we've been working on this for close to two decades; the ultimate research goal is to see how campaign literature is evolving and if there are differences from cycle to cycle.

This cycle we're looking at 12 gubernatorial races, 35 Senate races, and close House races.  That's a lot of ground to cover and we appreciate your response.  If you have any questions whatsoever, please call (202 462-0145) or e-mail (

Here's the address for examples of your basic general election brochures/palm cards/flyer/lit.pieces, your best stuff, if possible two (2) of each, via U.S. Mail in a flat envelope:

Attn: Eric M. Appleman
P.O. Box 19007
Washington, DC  20036-9007.

Thank you for your assistance.