The Presidency. And the Executive Branch. Electing a president. U.S. election process produces a 2-party system: Democrats & Republicans. U.S. parties are generally not strongly ideological, although they can be at times.
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And the Executive Branch
First stage: running in primary elections in the states to win the party’s nomination. The first contests are in January of the election year (next is 2012).
Culminates in a party convention that summer, where party’s nominees for president & vice president are selected and the party’s platform is drafted.
General Election Stage: campaigning against the other party’s nominee. Lasts from mid-summer to election day in early November.
Electoral College: each state has the same number of electors as it has members of Congress (House + Senate seats). All but 2 states are winner-take-all. Possible for the winner not to have won the popular vote, as in 1876, 1888, and 2000.
Presidents now delegate more duties: Carter/Mondale; Reagan/Bush; Clinton/Gore, Bush/Cheney, Obama/Biden
Ceremonial head of state. The symbolic role of the presidency is important:
Head of government, a role explicitly assigned in Article II of the Constitution.
Key player in international affairs
Head of the military under the Constitution. Since the Truman administration, presidents have claimed a broad power to act militarily without congressional authorization.
Lyndon Johnson, president from
1963-1968; expanded US role in
the Vietnam War
Ronald Reagan, State
of the Union address
Martin Luther King
on civil rights
Outside the White House, cabinet secretaries also can help the president.
The president’s symbolic role as head of state can strengthen the psychological attachment people feel toward the office.
Symbolic activities can include lighting the White
House Christmas tree, congratulating winning sports
teams, and comforting victims of disaster.
The public evaluates president both on specific policies and on handling the job of president.
Relationship is often confrontational:
The White House provides services to help journalists and encourage positive coverage:
1. Press Secretary – serves as a liaison
2. Specific services for the press:
The White House seeks to control news coverage by:
1. Timing press releases to maximize good news & minimize bad.
2. Cultivating journalists, both Washington press corps and outside reporters.
3. Using selective news leaks to test public opinion, send signals in foreign affairs, favor a particular reporter.
General tasks for staff aides
For the offices in the EOP:
in cabinet meeting,
President is the head of the bureaucracy, through the ‘take care’ clause of the Constitution.