Read Bill's latest article, published in the Star Tribune on November 7, 2004. Read it here or visit the common dreams newscenter....


Read the latest review of Bill's Book from Rake Magazine
or visit Rake magazine for a live look...


"Hillsman offers a challenge to anyone planning to run for office, but his tone isn't preachy. It's funny, personal, and trustworthy. In short, it's everything political campaigns should be." --PR WEEK


Read Bill's article or download a pdf version...

Regardless of November tallies, the real winner of this year’s presidential race will be "Election Industry, Inc.," says Hillman-voters and qualified candidates will lose out. While political reporters, pundits and professors often prescribe treatments for ailing democratic processes during an election year, Hillsman, a seasoned political marketer for such candidates as the late Paul Wellstone, Jesse Ventura and Ralph Nader, brings a unique and righteously outraged perspective to the mix.

In this volume-part memoir, part campaign handbook-he attacks the den of Washington, D.C.-based political consultants and party officials ("an inside-the-Beltway collective of toadies, fakes, crooks, character assassins, racketeers, party apologists, false scientists, phony experts, self-aggrandizers, backscratchers, and backstabbers") and recalls his own strategies for promoting candidates and enfranchising voters.

Third party challengers (or even outsider party members like Howard Dean and John McCain), Hillsman says, face incredible obstacles from the Republican and Democratic elite: an onslaught of "toxic" political advertisements, character assassinations and sound-bite responses to real issues. Sometimes Hillsman’s forceful prose, embellished with sardonic zingers, turns from entertaining to repetitive. For instance, after citing a poll of political professionals that revealed 37 percent of them thought it acceptable to use negative advertising to hold down voter turnout and focus on insult rather than on issues, he adds the coda: "Political consultants think that’s smart. I think it’s despicable." Ten pages later, he cites the same poll and repeats the coda almost word for word. Flaws aside, though, anyone who shares Hillsman’s ire at the current state of electoral politics will enjoy this maverick tract and its wicked upbraiding of establishment campaigning.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


coming soon...

Growing dissatisfaction with politics as usual and the way the presidential election is run will boost the appeal of this book. Hillsman helped outsiders Paul Wellstone's senatorial, Jesse Ventura's gubernatorial, and Ralph Nader's presidential campaigns.

The author is critical of what he calls Election Industry, Inc.--the political parties, pollsters, consultants, fund raisers, junk mailers, media handlers, special interests, and lobbyists who have taken over American politics. Drawing on 15 years spent working with political outsiders, Hillsman offers a critique of American politics and a handbook for the new political landscape, including the growing influence of the Internet. He outlines how political parties control candidates and shut out newcomers with new ideas, how big money influences politics, and how professionals use negative advertising to deliberately discourage voters from going to the polls, and provides an insider's look at the independent-minded politics of a range of figures, including Ross Perot, Warren Beatty, and Arianna Huffington.

This is a fascinating look at current American politics and the challenges for those who want to change politics as usual. Vanessa Bush

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

© 2004 Bill Hillsman