transfer 18(1) » Medienpolitik

Expected Return on Investment

Symbolically Generalized Communication Media, Money and Power, based on the Involvement of the Super PAC Club For Growth Action in the 2012 US General Election in a Strategic-Communicative Context

This thesis examines the relationship between the symbolically generalized communication media (SGCM) according to Luhmann, money and power, on the basis of the Club For Growth (CFG) Super PAC in the 2012 US general election. With the help of 17 guided interviews and a content-related, structuring qualitative content analysis (QCA) according to Mayring, the interdependence of communication media money and power is detected, defined and analyzed. The most relevant main codes from the QCA are put into context with current, relevant literature and Luhmann’s systems theory. The money relationship I between a Super PAC (alter) and a candidate (ego) has an influence on a later relationship II, based on power, between alter and the now elected official (ego). Money is spent in the expectation to first get candidates elected, and second, to receive good policies in return for the investment. Elected officials who do not comply with the Super PAC’s policy views are most likely to face a primary challenge for their re-election. During the election cycle, Super PACs and lawmakers keep in touch. Super PACs let “their” elected officials know about votes that are important to them and what their position on them is, in addition, lawmakers have their own interest in keeping in reach of the Super PACs, they want to satisfy the Super PAC’s interests. Further, it is proposed to locate the Super PAC as a hybrid organization on a structural coupling between the economic and political system.