Ch12 The Presidency- us government

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Chapter 12
The Presidency: Leading the Nation
Learning Objectives
Having read the chapter, the students should be able to do each of the following:
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Describe the evolution of presidential power.
Summarize the president’s roles.
Describe the presidential election process.
Explain the structure of the executive branch.
Identify and explain sources of presidential power.
Chapter Outline
I.
Foundations of the Modern Presidency
A. The Changing Conception of the Presidency
B. The Need for a Strong Presidency
II. Choosing the President
A. The Nominating Campaign: Primaries and Caucuses
B. The National Party Conventions
C. The General Election Campaign
1. Election Strategy
2. Media and Money
3. The Winners
III. Staffing the Presidency
A. The Vice President
B. The Executive Office of the President (EOP)
C. The Cabinet and Agency Appointees
D. The Problem of Control
IV. Factors in Presidential Leadership
A. The Force of Circumstance
B. The Stage of the President’s Term
C. The Nature of the Issue: Foreign or Domestic
D. Relations with Congress
1. Seeking Cooperation from Congress
2. Benefiting from Partisan Support in Congress
3. Colliding with Congress
E. Public Support
1. Events and Issues
2. The Televised Presidency
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© 2017 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
V. The Illusion of Presidential Government
VI. Summary
Focus and Main Points
This chapter examines the roots of presidential power, the presidential selection process, the
staffing of the presidency, and the factors associated with the success and failure of presidential
leadership. The main ideas of this chapter are:
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Over time, the presidency has become a more powerful office. This development owes
largely to the legacy of strong presidents and to domestic and international developments
that have increased the need for executive leadership.
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The modern presidential campaign is a marathon affair in which selfselected candidates
seek a strong start in the nominating contests and a well-run media campaign in the
general election.
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The president could not control the executive branch without a large number of
presidential appointees—advisers, experts, and skilled managers— but the sheer number
of these appointees is itself a challenge to presidential control.
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The president’s election by national vote and position as sole chief executive make the
presidency the focal point of national politics. Nevertheless, whether presidents are able
to accomplish their goals depends on their personal capacity for leadership, national and
international conditions, the stage of their presidency, the partisan composition of
Congress, and whether the issue is foreign or domestic.
Chapter Summary
The presidency has become a much stronger office than the framers envisioned. The Constitution
grants the president substantial military, diplomatic, legislative, and executive powers, and in
each case the president’s authority has increased measurably over the nation’s history.
Underlying this change is the president’s position as the one leader chosen by the whole nation
and as the sole head of the executive branch. These features of the office have enabled presidents
to claim broad authority in response to the increased demands placed on the federal government
by changing global and national conditions.
During the course of American history, the presidential selection process has been altered in
ways intended to make it more responsive to the preferences of ordinary people. Today, the
electorate has a vote not only in the general election but also in the selection of party nominees.
To gain nomination, a presidential hopeful must win the support of the electorate in state
primaries and open caucuses. Once nominated, the candidates are eligible to receive federal
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© 2017 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
funds for their general election campaigns, which today are based on Internet and televised
appeals.
Although the campaign tends to personalize the presidency, the responsibilities of the modern
presidency far exceed any president’s personal capacities. To meet their obligations, presidents
have surrounded themselves with large staffs of advisers, policy experts, and managers. These
staff members enable the president to extend control over the executive branch while at the same
time providing the information necessary for policymaking. All recent presidents have
discovered, however, that their control of staff resources is incomplete and that some things that
others do on their behalf can work against what they are trying to accomplish.
As sole chief executive and the nation’s top elected leader, presidents can always expect that
their policy and leadership efforts will receive attention. However, other institutions, particularly
Congress, have the authority to make presidential leadership effective. No president has come
close to winning approval of all the programs he has placed before Congress, and presidents’
records of success have varied considerably. The factors in a president’s success include whether
national conditions that require strong leadership from the White House are present and whether
the president’s party has a majority in Congress.
Presidential success stems from the backing of the American people. Recent presidents have
made extensive use of the media to build public support for their programs, yet they have had
difficulty maintaining that support throughout their terms of office. A major reason is that the
public expects far more from its presidents than they can deliver.
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© 2017 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
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