Politics Week 8 Notes
Politics Week 8 Notes POLS 1101
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chapman Lindgren on Friday October 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1101 at University of Georgia taught by James E. Monogan, Anneliese S. Hermann in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see American Government in History at University of Georgia.
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Date Created: 10/07/16
American Government Notes Week 8 Presidential Duties Lesson Objectives 10/3/16 Name the constitutional provisions associated with the office of the president Outline the president’s major duties Constitutional Bases of Presidential Power I Election of the president is not direct o Founders wanted the president to be elected indirectly through the Electoral College. Representation in the Electoral College mirrors the voting weights given to the states in Congress. Each state has as many electoral votes to select the president as it has senators and representatives. o The Electoral College is indirect because it acts as a layer between the voters and the choice for president. A good way to explain the Electoral College is by using election returns from the 2000 presidential election. The fact that the candidate who won the popular vote did not win the presidency makes the indirectness of the electoral college quite clear. Also can be useful to note that most states use a winner-take-all system in awarding electoral votes. However, Nebraska and Maine currently award their electoral votes proportionally. Part of the checks and balances system o Checks on the president include the approval of the House to raise money and declare war and of the Senate to make appointments and treaties. The president can also be impeached by Congress. o Executor of the laws o Appointments to the federal judiciary o Perhaps the biggest “check” on the legislative branch is that the president signs and/or vetoes laws. He is also responsible for executing the laws. Primary role in the military and foreign policy o The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces. The Constitution also gives the president the authority to make treaties (though they must be ratified by the Senate) and receive ambassadors of other countries. 22 ndamendment: 2 terms American Government Notes Week 8 Constitutional Bases of Presidential Power II Constitutional Bases of Presidential Power III American Government Notes Week 8 The Vice President The constitution and the vice president o The Constitution allows for a vice president to take the president’s place should he die or be incapacitated. (Mention Lyndon Johnson being sworn into office on the plane after Kennedy was assassinated.) The Constitution originally ordered that the vice president was the person who came in second in the election for the presidency. This meant that in our nation’s earliest beginnings presidents and vice presidents often did not share political parties. A great example is John Adams and th Thomasthefferson. 12 and 25 amendments o The twelfth amendment changed the procedure for choosing the vice president. The vice president now runs with the president. The amendment also says that the vice president must come from a different state than the president. In practice, presidents often try to find a vice president from a different region of the country to broaden the appeal of the ticket. Duties and responsibilities today o Little in the way of formal responsibilities o Assumption of the presidency o Key advisor o Breaks ties in the senate (has power over the senate) In Comparison: Executive Forms American Government Notes Week 8 Founders purposely chose a system different than Britain’s o Great Britain today is a parliamentary democracy the monarch has no real political power and the executive is elected by the legislature and government is responsible to the legislature A presidential system, like in the U.S., is a form of democracy in which the executive is elected independently and the government is not responsible to the legislature. The president’s power comes from the people and not from Congress. A mixed presidential system is a form of democracy in which the executive is elected independently and shares responsibility for the government with the legislature. o Different veto and proposal powers In some countries presidents have the sole power to propose laws. This is contrary to the U.S. where a president cannot propose laws, but needs a member of Congress to introduce legislation for him. In other countries a president has the power to issue a partial veto, known as a line-item veto, which strikes down specific parts of legislation passed by the legislature. The U.S. Congress approved the line- item veto in 1996 when Bill Clinton was president, but the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional o State governors Governors in the 50 states are all elected directly by the voters and act in some type of separation of powers system. The explicit powers of the governors vary from state to state. For example, all but six governors have a line-item veto and a majority of governors have sole power to propose the state’s budget. Administrative Resources White House staff Executive office of the President o An intermediate layer between the White House staff and the federal bureaucracy The White House Staff is the closest layer to the president. The Staff organizes the president’s schedule and plots political, legislative, and international strategies. The staff serves at the pleasure of the president. The Chief of Staff controls access to the president and is also the head of the EOP (Executive Office of the President). o Advises the president on policy o Implements policy and provides congress with information American Government Notes Week 8 o OMB (Office of Management and Budget) is part of the EOP (Executive Office of the President) Individual Presidents and Scope of the Executive George Washington started the cabinet system and emphasized implied powers o Washington insisted that there were powers of the presidency that were not explicit in the Constitution. While many of the powers Washington said were inherent would not be controversial (such as the power to conduct diplomatic relations with foreign countries or the “federalization” of state militias to keep the peace), the idea that the list of executive powers in the Constitution is not exhaustive still persists today. 19th-century presidents made the office more partisan, populist & powerful o Andrew Jackson served from 1829–37 and justified most of his actions as following the people’s will. In fact, he often pitted himself against Congress, saying that he was looking out for the people and that the presidency was not subordinate to the legislative branch. o Jackson also created the spoils system. Under the spoils system, loyal partisans who support the president during his campaign are rewarded with jobs in the government after a successful election. This system allowed Jackson (and other presidents for the next 50 years) to reward loyal party members with positions in the bureaucracy. o Martin Van Buren won the presidency in 1836 (he was Jackson’s vice president during his second term) and continued to use the spoils system to build the party system. Not only did this allow Van Buren to control the bureaucracy, but it also led to voters feeling favorably toward the party in office. This party loyalty among voters increased the party’s success at the polls in future elections by mobilizing voters. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson & Franklin Roosevelt all expanded the office: o Increased national power relative to the states in the economy and the welfare state o Increased presidential power relative to Congress in world affairs o Increased the size of bureaucracy The Partisan Presidency The president today is seen as the head of the party in elections and in policy making American Government Notes Week 8 o Presidents can help members of their party get reelected at the national and state level by helping them mobilize voters, raise money, and create a permanent party organization. The president’s popularity shapes the party’s success in congressional and state elections o The president also has the ability to set the policy agenda for the national government during and immediately following the campaign. For example, major themes in the 2008 presidential campaign were the economy and health care. Upon winning the presidency, Obama continued to talk about stimulating the economy and reforming health care, which led to major shifts in both of these policy areas. o Divided government is considered present when the president is from a different party than the majority in Congress. Presidents find it much more difficult to get legislative priorities passed under divided government. o It is much easier for a president to get his agenda pushed through Congress when government is unified. A unified government is when the president shares the same party as the majority in Congress. Obama’s first two years in office were during a time of unified government, leading to one of the most productive congresses ever. The president’s initiatives shape the policy agenda for government The Framers’ Wishes with a Unitary Executive Respond decisively to crises (collective action) Federalists argued that the country needed a strong executive who would respond decisively to crises (domestic and foreign) and enforce the laws uniformly and fairly. Coordination issues: o Enforces laws and uniformly and fairly o Coerce conflicting groups to cooperate Gridlock and Congressional Relations Lesson Objectives 10/5/16: Demonstrate why gridlock may occur between an executive and a legislature List the cases in which the president and congress must interact. Describe how these cases contrast with unilateral presidential action. Presidential Vetoes American Government Notes Week 8 This graph shows that during periods of divided government, more vetoes are used by the president. However, the long term trend shows that vetoes are being used less and less frequently What explains the variation in the number of vetoes a president issues? o Veto threats Some presidents don’t have to formally veto legislation because the mere threat of a veto is enough to convince congress to modify the legislation to the President’s liking A veto threat is a public statement issued by the president declaring that if Congress passes a particular bill that the president dislikes it will ultimately be vetoed This is a costly strategy for presidents, as a veto threat can take away some of their bargaining later. They’re essentially laying all their cards on the table o Presidents are much more likely to veto legislation under divided government o Partisan control of congress Gridlock: arises when the two chambers of Congress and the president cannot agree on new legislation o The status quo is key to whether new laws will pass American Government Notes Week 8 The Spatial Model of Politics Policies can be represented in left-right space. Where is a legislator's most preferred policy? Black's Median Voter Theorem states that a majority rule voting system will select the outcome most preferred by the median voter If Congress passed the House median's preference: o When would the president sign? o When would the president veto? This gets more complicated when we remember the Senate may have totally different preferences. The Populist Presidency Presidents can “go public” and communicate directly with the American people o Usually done through a public conference, radio broadcast, or televised speech Used to mobilize voters and put pressure on Congress o The goal of going public is to influence public opinion and convince Americans to contact their member of Congress and ask them to support the President’s idea This often thought of as “going above the heads of Congress” Polling to measure public opinion o Modern presidents also take their own private polls to measure public opinion about their standing and their potential success with legislative initiatives What would the framers have thought of the notion of “going public?” How does this affect the separation of powers system? Appointments With the “advice and consent” of the Senate o Controversy over what this means in the Constitution: American Government Notes Week 8 Senators think it means their preferences should be listened to, whereas Presidents suggest it simply means they have to listen to the Senate before making their choice Positions in executive agencies, ambassadorships, and courts o The president usually gets what he wants in top positions in executive agencies and courts o Ambassadorships are often given as rewards to people who help the president get elected Looks for people who share philosophy Executive Orders, Agreements, and Signing Statements Executive orders can be used for major policy changes. o It is an official means by which the president can instruct federal agencies on how to execute laws passed by Congress. o Historically they were used to implement the laws passed by Congress. o Avoid waiting for legislation Examples: Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, FDR’s Japanese internment during WWII o They can’t violate U.S. law, but congressional legislation can overturn an executive order. o Courts have generally upheld the president’s right to issue them Executive agreements to avoid the Senate o Executive agreements are between the U.S. and one or more foreign countries Because they aren’t a treaty, they don’t need Senate approval Signing statements explain how the president interprets a law o Signing statements are written by the president and are attached to a bill to outline the president’s interpretation of the legislation. o Meant as a way to communicate to federal agencies and the courts how the law should be interpreted. Investigations, Impeachments, and Electoral Pressures Checks on the President o Courts can declare actions of the president unconstitutional o Veto override o Presidents can be impeached By vote of the Senate Formally charged with “treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” o Elections and public opinion Administrative Resources American Government Notes Week 8 White house staff o The closest layer to the president o Organizes the president’s schedule and plots political, legislative, and international strategies Executive Office of the President o An intermediate layer between the White House staff and the federal bureaucracy o Advises the president on policy o Implements policy and provides Congress with information o OMB is part of the EOP
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