New Book “How Trump Governs” Now Available

How Trump Governs: An Assessment and a Prognosis, the latest book by renowned presidential studies scholar Michael A. Genovese is now available.


Chris Edelson (Director, Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Program (PPL), American University; and Fellow, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies) has noted the following about the book:

Chris Edelson, Director, Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Program (PPL), American University; and Fellow, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies notes:

“In How Trump Governs, Michael Genovese takes us along for the wild and dangerous ride of Donald Trump’s path to the White House and the early days of his presidency. Genovese offers thoroughly detailed discussion and analysis of the election, transition, and first months in office, explaining how Trump’s character and management style were made clear during the campaign and have, not surprisingly, carried over into his presidency. Genovese explains the unique dangers Trump presents, though this is not a partisan account but rather a thoughtful effort to understand what gave rise to Trump and where things could go from here, including the questions of whether Trump can effectively govern and indeed whether Trump’s presidency can survive the Russia story that seems to grow larger day by day.”

Excerpt from the book:

Governing is hard in the best of circumstances, but in our age of hyperpartisanship, and with limited opportunities, the new president may have but a short time to prove his effectiveness. Given that trust in government has been steadily dropping since the 1970s, (there was a bump up in trust following 9/11; however, it did not last long), the ability of a president to lead amid low levels of trust is markedly limited.  In the early 1960s, roughly 75% Americans said they had a fairly high level of trust in government. By 2016, that number hovered in the 20% mark. How can anyone govern when trust in government is so low?

In trying to assess Donald Trump as a president, we have to put Trump’s presidency into context (his level of political opportunity) and measure how he governs by looking at a series of key early tests:

  • Campaign Management
  • The Selection and Organization of his Governing Team
  • The Transition
  • His Inaugural Address
  • The First 100 Days

From these measures, we can make a preliminary assessment of Trump as he assumes power (did he hit the ground running or stumbling?), determine Trump’s opportunity to lead, as well as make a long-range prediction of the type of president Trump will be.

About the author: Michael A. Genovese is Professor of Political Science, President of World Policy Institute, and the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of numerous highly acclaimed books, including The Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, The Power of the American Presidency 1789-2000, The Paradoxes of the American Presidency, and The Trumping of American Politics; coeditor of Corruption and American Politics; and editor of The Quest for Leadership. In addition to many accolades for his scholarship, Dr. Genovese was awarded the prestigious American Political Science Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award for 2017.


How Trump Governs is now available for purchase.

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Cambria Press Book Highlight: Seeking Bipartisanship

As budget debates continue in Washington, will President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan be realized or will it fall through? The infrastructure issue is one which President Obama’s administration attempted to address too.

Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was just interviewed on the National Journal about this and he also discussed the problem in his book, Seeking Bipartisanship:

When the new president [Obama] took office, most everyone accepted the need for action on transportation. They knew where the bad roads were. They knew about bad bridges that needed to be fixed. They knew we suffered with outdated transit systems. But we could never figure out a way to pay for the fixes. The administration would not lobby for an increase in the gas tax when it had the votes. Republicans in the House would have blocked the increase once they regained control of the House. The infrastructure bank never gained traction, although it could have supplemented the Highway Trust Fund. We never figured out how to pay for a transportation bill that matched the president’s rhetoric.

Politico has predicted that President Trump’s “hopes for a ‘very bipartisan’ bill are running into the same kinds of political forces that torpedoed the Obamacare repeal.”

Why is bipartisanship so elusive? Secretary LaHood’s book provides a rare inside account of how politics work in Washington. Order Seeking Bipartisanship on Amazon today for this fascinating read into the everyday life of Washington politics.

Ray LaHood

Title: Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics
Editors: Ray LaHood with Frank H. Mackaman
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979053
360 pp.  |   2015   |  Paperback & E-book
Book Webpage:

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#Election2016 – What You Need to Know About Jockeying for the American Presidency

#election2016 Cambria Press publisher book author review

If there is one book to read to follow and make sense of the 2016 presidential election, it is Dr. Lara M. Brown’s Jockeying for the American Presidency. In her groundbreaking book, Dr. Brown called long ago what pundits are saying today.

Cambria Press Publication:
Jockeying for the American Presidency by Lara M. Brown

For example, Dr. Brown already predicted that

“the presidential selection method does not appear to be working as it had in the past—in terms of favoring experienced aspirants—and this may be a cause for concern.”

She also noted that “there has been a decrease in the level of experience, which may well continue to worsen over time.”

In terms of who would win, she first explained that:

“Aspirants not only vie for intraparty support, but they also compete against those whom they believe are aspirants from the opposition party, trying to prove that their party is the better of the two. Hoping to garner support from weakly aligned voters and groups connected to the opposition party (religious, racial, and ethnic groups have often been the targets of interparty competition), they steal each other’s phrases and policies, reworking them to suit their own needs.”

The ones likely to win their party nominations are the ones who:

“tend to perceive the entirety of the game—the opportunities in the system—and they work continuously to align their short-term interests (e.g., party influence, appreciation, and/or respect) with their long-term goals (e.g., the presidency), moving the puzzle pieces to fit with their ideal picture.”

On whether breadth or depth of experience is more important, and why:

“breadth is an asset, whereas depth is a liability for presidential aspirants. As was mentioned earlier, it may be that depth of experience promotes rigidity because an aspirant is forced to react to fewer challenges and greater redundancies, whereas more breadth of experience encourages more flexibility and resiliency because an aspirant is asked to react to novelty and competition. It may also be that those who are more innately opportunistic—perceptive, creative, adaptable—self-select into more positions, thus pursuing more breadth and less depth in their careers.”

Ultimately, Dr. Brown asserted in her book that:

“Presidential aspirants who have more breadth of political experience than depth of political experience, who have higher levels of opportunism, and who have run previously for the White House are more likely to earn larger percentages of the electoral votes than those who do not possess these characteristics.”

Learn more about Jockeying for the American Presidency and read the rave reviews this book has earned. This book is part of the groundbreaking Cambria Press PIPPA (Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America) Series headed by Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly (CSU Channel Islands).

#2016Election #APSA2015 #GOPDebate Cambria Press publication review

#2016Election: Jockeying for the American Presidency by Lara M. Brown (George Washington University)

About the author: Lara M. Brown, PhD, is an associate professor and the program director of the Political Management Program in the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. Dr. Brown also served in President William J. Clinton’s administration at the U.S. Department of Education. Follow her on Twitter @LaraMBrownPHD and on US News.

Lara Brown

See also 5 Must-Read Books for the 2016 Election

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Presidents and Campaign Promises

Cambria Press Publication author review book political science politics POTUS

Cambria Press Publication:
The Quest for Leadership

In The Quest for Leadership, Meenekshi Bose, the Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies at Hofstra University and Director of Hofstra’s Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, stated that “Presidents are highly constrained in their ability to fulfill their campaign promises—they typically promise far more than they actually can deliver.”

Dr. Bose explores this further by comparing the initial policy making in the presidential administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Her study begins

“by examining the promises made by each candidate during their presidential campaigns for a signature domestic-policy issue. It then examines early agenda-setting and policy-making in each administration on that issue. While the focus is on the first year of each president’s two terms, the time period under study may be slightly more or less in specific cases, depending upon when the administration shifts focus from campaign promises to unexpected issues or crises, or the upcoming midterm congressional elections.”

The rest of Dr. Bose’s study is in The Quest for Leadership, edited by Michael A. Genovese. This new book also looks at other important aspects of leadership, including the successes and failures of US president, presidents as war-time leaders, public leadership, and the state of presidential leadership and authority. The book also reviews America’s standing as a world leader and reflects on American nationalism during World War II. Leadership in the judicial context, specifically chief justices, is also examined.

This book, inspired by the scholarship of eminent political scientist Thomas E. Cronin, was launched at the 2015 American Political Science Association (APSA) annual conference.

Order The Quest for Leadership now at the special price of $39.95.


Cambria Press Publication: The Quest for Leadership edited by Michael A. Genovese (this book is part of the Cambria Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America Book Series by Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly).

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#APSA2015 Meet Tom Cronin & Michael Genovese @CambriaPress Booth TODAY

#APSA2015 Cambria Press author publication Michael Genovese Thomas Cronin

#APSA2015 Cambria Press Booth (705) at 10 a.m. on Friday: Meet Thomas Cronin, Michael Genovese, and the authors behind The Quest for Leadership

Meet Thomas E. Cronin, Michael Genovese, and the authors behind The Quest for Leadership today at 10 a.m. at the Cambria Press booth (705) in the #APSA2015 book exhibit hall. You might be one of the lucky ones to get a complimentary, signed copy of this brand-new publication!

The book launch for The Quest for Leadership took place last night at the APSA Presidential and Executive Politics (PEP) reception. Authored by some of the nation’s top scholars and led by distinguished political scientist Michael A. Genovese, this publication honors eminent political scientist Thomas E. Cronin for his significant contributions to the fields of political science and leadership.

Cambria Press Publication:
The Quest for Leadership

Chapter 1: Hitting the Ground Running Twice (Meenekshi Bose

“The three case studies presented here illustrate some instructive parallels between the two presidencies. Both Bush and Obama succeeded in enacting one of their top policy priorities—education and health-care reform, respectively—early in their first terms by setting clear goals and negotiating with Congress to pass legislation. Bush engaged in bipartisan negotiations while Obama pursued intra-party negotiations, but both presidents were willing to make compromises to achieve results. In their second terms, though, both presidents did not have similar success with their policy agendas of Social Security reform for Bush and immigration reform for Obama. Why were they unable to hit the ground running again?”

Chapter 2: Leadership and the Tending of Coalitions (Bruce Miroff)

“Paying attention to the tending of coalitions is essential if one wishes to understand what shapes presidential purposes and drives presidential actions. Presidents pursuing strongly felt policy preferences are likely to temper their own aspirations with recognition of the need to incorporate the preferences of their most essential supporters. For cases in which presidents’ policy preferences are more prudential than personal, the preferences of coalition members are likely to assume an even greater role in executive choices. For the presidency, facing as it does such a wide-ranging array of policy concerns, the latter situation may well be more common than the former.”

Chapter 3: President as War-Time Leader (David Gray Adler)

“The trajectory of thought among modern presidents on the question of legal and constitutional limits on executive power, in either initiating war or conducting it, is a flat line. For more than a half century, presidents of both parties—Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals alike—have assumed the authority to initiate and direct war is exclusively executive in nature. That position, now firmly ingrained in presidential remarks at press conferences, in cabinet members’ testimony before congressional committees and in the opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel, has no footing in the text of the Constitution, the discussions and debates in the Constitutional Convention and the various state ratifying conventions, the Federalist Papers and other contemporaneous documents that accompanied the drafting and signing of the Constitution. Nor does the argument find any traction in opinions delivered by the US Supreme Court. We have reached a point in American history where presidents and their lawyers pay little or no heed to constitutional principles that, 200 years ago, sought to prevent presidential war-making. Indeed, the practice of war making in the United States today bears no resemblance to the Constitution.

Chapter 4: Reflections on the State of Presidential Leadership and Authority (Victoria A. Farrar-Myers)

“If norms, or shared understandings of expected behavior, continue to demand the exercise of presidential leadership after Obama leaves office, regardless of who holds the office of president, then the primary source of leadership within the American political system will remain entrenched in the White House. But if the understandings of expected presidential behavior cease to be shared widely, then the federal government may appear rudderless, both domestically and internationally, in the absence of Congress picking up the mantle of leadership; a situation with which we are all too familiar.

Chapter 5: Mistaking the Moment and Misperceiving the Opportunity (Lara M. Brown

“Neustadt argued that “Congress, institutionally, is suspicious” of the White House and that members compete “for control of the federal agencies, their programs, and their budgets.” Noting that the “courteous manners and procedural accommodations” are only temporary, he implied that the legislative alliances formed in those first heady months are more fragile than they appear because of these politicians’ differing constituencies and electoral demands. As such, presidents expecting enduring loyalty from fellow partisans in Congress, according to Neustadt’s observations, are likely to be disappointed. Beyond all of these issues, partisan polarization marks every aspect of today’s politics. From an electorate less likely to look past party labels and cast split tickets to the vastly different presidential approval ratings that vary by party affiliation to the nontrivial levels of fear and loathing of opposition partisans that are measured in surveys, American politics have become more than a team sport. Each day seems to be a rivalry grudge match. Not unlike the iconic Hatfield and McCoy feud, distrust and suspicion are pervasive between the parties. Negotiations are fraught with irrational, spiteful, and petty behaviors. Rhetoric and optics now seem to trump accomplishments. In sum, doing matters less than posturing. Posturing for what? Why the next election, of course.”

Chapter 6: Presidents Bush and Obama and the Surveillance of Americans (James P. Pfiffner

“Since the atrocities of 9/11, the US intelligence community has vastly expanded in size and scope; and with the growth of the internet, the technological capacity of the US government to collect information and communications of US citizens has increased exponentially. President George W. Bush initially authorized surveillance of Americans without the warrants required in law, based on his claimed inherent Article II powers. Congress later included some of these surveillance programs in law. President Obama, before he came to office, expressed some criticism about the Bush programs and wanted to place limits on government surveillance of Americans. But once he was in office, he embraced existing surveillance programs as necessary to protect US national security. When the extent of some of these programs was unveiled by Edward Snowden in the summer of 2013, people concerned with civil liberties expressed alarm at the scope of these programs.”

Chapter 7: Leading the Public/ Following the Public (Todd L. Belt)

“The president is the most visible politician in the US, and much has been made of his ability to influence public opinion. From advocating for certain policies, to leading the country to war, to consoling the nation during times of crises, the president is the nation’s foremost political communicator. But he can only lead the nation so far, and sometimes his efforts have been resisted by the public at large. For example, in 2006, George W. Bush suffered defeats in advocating for Social Security and Immigration reform; and in 2013, Barack Obama was forced to backpedal from his advocacy of an intervention in the Syrian civil war. These failures in public leadership come against the backdrop of a changing communication environment as well as a changing political climate. Does the emergence of online communication help or hinder the president’s attempts at public leadership? Does this new technology force the president to respond to follow public opinion rather than to lead it? What role does increased political polarization have on the president’s ability to lead the public?”

Chapter 8: America’s World Leadership (David C. Hendrickson)

“The strategy of revolutionary overthrow—as recently witnessed in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine—is just one of the things wrong with American foreign policy, and retrenchment on that score would by no means solve all of America’s problems. But it is a start. Reflection on the purposes of American power has to begin with the choice between contrary precedents, of which the most dramatic is that between Richard Nixon in 1973 and George Bush in 2005. All questions of leadership are ultimately dependent on the worthiness of the ends that leaders seek: if the goal is misconceived, then no marshalling of allies or subtle changes in means will salvage it. Americans should appreciate their heritage of world leadership, but they should also query it. In past epochs, American leaders entertained a more modest conception of the nation’s role. They held fast to a vision of world order that has been practically abandoned in recent years. To move forward in the future, Americans need to claw their way back to the past in search of useful precedents to guide them.”

Chapter 9: Leadership in the Judicial Context (Christopher Shortell)

“Leadership is often studied through the lens of executive and legislative contexts. The judiciary has not received the same attention, which is unfortunate because understanding leadership in the judiciary requires more than simply applying existing leadership studies to judges. Studying judicial leadership requires paying careful attention to the particular institutional contexts within which judges work. The constraints and opportunities are distinct in important ways from those faced by executives and legislatures. This is not to say that leadership is unimportant in the judicial context or that existing studies of leadership do not recognize the importance of institutional constraints. Rather, it is to argue that understanding judicial leadership requires scholars to pay careful attention to when and how that leadership can emerge and operate in its particular context.”

Chapter 11: I Am an American Day (David Schmitz

“With war on the horizon, the change of focus from citizenship to wartime mobilization and the proper role of the United States in the war were reflected in the I Am an American Day events held throughout the nation. They became more about the contrast between the United States and the fascist nations, about what was necessary to protect American freedom and liberty now and in the future, than civics lessons and ceremonies on naturalization and good citizenship. Simultaneously, the crowds soared as millions of people participated across the nation.”

This book is part of the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America (PIPPA) book series  (Editors: Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly). See more well-reviewed books in the Cambria Press PIPPA Series.

About the editor: Michael A. Genovese holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies, and he is Professor of Political Science, Director of the Institute for
Leadership Studies, and acting President of the World Policy Institute at
Loyola Marymount University.

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Tough Times for the President

Cambria Press Publication review author #APSA2015 #POTUS

#APSA2015 Tough Times for the Presidency by Ryan Barilleaux and Jewerl Maxwell

Cambria Press publication

Tough Times for the President
(Chapter Excerpts)

Chapter 1: Presidents in Tough Times

“Many presidents face situations of political adversity. Some even face adversity on more than one occasion. The case studies will enhance our understanding not only of the power of the presidency but of how chief executives have been able to deal with adversity. Even the adverse circumstances faced by Barack Obama in 2011, or those that some future president will encounter, do not fall to the depths experienced by Gerald Ford, and examining this record will be instructive for chief executives and their advisors seeking a way to grapple with tough times for the president.”

Chapter 2: Governing in the Wake of an Unmandate

“What is an unmandate? The term applies to those situations in which voters repudiate the chief executive by punishing the president’s party in a midterm election. Though it is usually the case that the president’s party loses seats in a midterm election, in an unmandate the president’s party suffers exceptionally high losses. The clearest case of an unmandate is when the president’s party, holding a majority in both houses of  Congress, is reduced to minority status in the House and/or the Senate. In the period since World War II, this repudiation occurred five times: 1946, 1954, 1994, 2006, and 2010. The presidents affected by these unmandates faced congressional majorities eager to resist White House legislative initiatives and advance their own policy agendas.”

Chapter 3: Scandals and Presidential Power

“Within a twenty-five-year period, American politics witnessed three presidents plagued by scandals and cover-ups of actions taken by the respective presidents and/or their subordinates. In each case, we find that the periods of scandal presented the particular president with unique challenges in his interaction with other governmental officials, the media, and the American people. Again, as Ceaser so aptly suggested, scandals place “the Presidency on the defensive in the eyes of the nation” and thus significantly weaken the president. In spite of this weakened position, the cases of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton demonstrate that presidents do not become politically paralyzed by such circumstances. In particular, each case illustrates the extremely important role of unilateral actions, both domestically and internationally.”

Chapter 4: Governing in Times of National Division

“[…] periods of national division pose particular difficulties for chief executives. In such cases, presidents face not only divisions within the electorate at large but divisions within their own party, as the nation remains divided over the proper policies to combat instability within the political system. During such periods, political and economic factors combine to place pressure on the president that hinders his ability to lead effectively. Examples include the obstacles Lyndon Johnson faced throughout 1967 and 1968 as the country sought direction regarding the Vietnam War; the extreme difficulties Jimmy Carter encountered throughout 1979 and 1980, resulting from the weakened economy and the Iranian hostage crisis; and the impediments George H. W. Bush met in 1992 as the country faced a looming recession.”

Chapter 5: Adversity and Power in the Ford Presidency

“Gerald Ford’s presidency was marked by a rare degree of political adversity. He came to office as the successor to the disgraced Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign in the face of threatened impeachment over the Watergate scandal. Ford had been an unelected vice president, the first appointed to that office under the provisions of the Twenty-fifth Amendment. He faced a Congress controlled by Democratic majorities, which were enlarged in the 1974 midterm elections only a few months after he assumed office. Following his pardon of Richard Nixon in September 1974, Ford’s approval ratings plummeted and he faced cries of outrage over the pardon. He even faced dissension within his own party as conservatives led by Ronald Reagan challenged his policies and leadership.”

Chapter 6: Tough Times Point to a New View of Presidential Power

“As analysts consider presidential ends and means, they need to develop a kind of “golden rule” for understanding the presidency: one that they are willing to grant to their enemies as well as their heroes. The best place to begin that understanding is the Constitution. Of course, there is considerable debate about constitutional interpretation, but that is a fact of politics and does not mean that there is no ground for agreement about most constitutional issues. Debates about the fringes of the Constitution— certain actions that both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have taken in the war on terrorism, for example—obscure the fact that there is a broad consensus on what is constitutional presidential action.”

This book is part of the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America (PIPPA) book series  (Editors: Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly). See more well-reviewed books in the Cambria Press PIPPA Series.

About the authors: 
Ryan J. Barilleaux is Paul Rejai Professor of Political Science at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Jewerl Maxwell is Associate Dean of the Center for Lifelong Learning and an assistant professor of political science at Cedarville University.

Order the hardcover by October 13 (1st Democratic Presidential Debate)
and get 30% off + Free Shipping!
Use coupon code APSA2015.
Libraries can use this code. Valid only for publisher-direct sales.

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Jockeying for the American Presidency

#2016Election #APSA2015 Cambria Press publication author review

#APSA2015 Lara Brown will be chairing PRESIDENTS IN CONTEXT: POLITICAL TIME AND POLARIZATION on Saturday at 8 a.m. (Hilton, Powell Room) and is the discussant for PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION IN A POLARIZED AGE (Hilton, Franciscan D) at 4:15 p.m.

Cambria Press publication

Jockeying for the American Presidency
(Chapter Excerpts)

Chapter 1: Presidential Selection and Aspirant Opportunism

“…to say that all presidents are opportunists does not mean that they are all the same. As previously mentioned, the opportunism of the presidents most probably varies across the individuals who have held the office. Aside from innate character differences and aptitudes, each president acquired his opportunistic abilities from a unique set of professional and political experiences (e.g., legal practice, military service, partisan campaign activity, and other elected or appointed office), which includes their presidential campaign. Through trial and error as well as observation and imitation, they discovered which behaviors and attitudes—personal style—worked best for them in the political arena. Through the instruction of others, they also learned the more general strategies known to turn political opportunities to one’s advantage (e.g., “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”). Each president also tends to possess a “trick” or two that they rely on to make the most of the situations they find themselves in. Further, each president is likely to exploit opportunities in the ways that are most suitable to his time. Thus, although opportunism is a common trait among the presidents, it does not always show itself in a similar manner.”

Chapter 2: Parties, Aspirants, and Opportunities in History

“The major-party nominees are typically equally and highly qualified (experienced, opportunistic, etc.), and as such, the outcome of the general election does not necessarily turn on the aspirant (unless that aspirant is an incumbent president or their opponent possesses a substantially low level of aspirant opportunism), but instead on exogenous factors (e.g., the economy) and political conditions (e.g., each party’s prior electoral success). Still, the estimates reveal that these personal characteristics (breadth of experience, opportunism, etc.) help presidential aspirants win. That said, the presidential selection method does not appear to be working as it had in the past—in terms of favoring experienced aspirants—and this may be a cause for concern.”

Chapter 3: Presidential Winners from the Early Party Era

“The presidential aspirants in the Early Party Era guided the establishment of the two major political parties in America. The institutions they created, although they continuously changed, persisted because each presidential aspirant developed structures, procedures, and networks to help him win. The structures that they built to communicate a persuasive message and move people to the polls became more sophisticated over time as more people were included in the political process. The challenge these aspirants created for future aspirants was how to control these inherited structures and how to ensure that one’s party continues to serve the aspirant’s ambition, rather than the other way around.”

Chapter 4: Presidential Winners from the Strong Party Era

“Unlike the previous aspirants who rose to power by balancing partisanship and republican statesmanship, the aspirants from the Strong Party Era were successful because they balanced partisanship with the democratic demands for political reform.”

Chapter 5: Presidential Winners from the Modern Party Era

“This chapter considers some of the recent changes in the presidential selection process and presents case studies of Ronald Reagan, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. These stories reveal that whereas these modern aspirants exhibited opportunistic behaviors (resilience, tenacity, flexibility, etc.) similar to their predecessors, they were more dependent on the strategies crafted by political professionals than the aspirants from previous eras.”

Chapter 6: Presidential Losers from Each Era

“[…] losers, like winners, structure the context within which winners win. This chapter investigates three high-profile presidential losers (one from each of the three political eras): Henry Clay, Thomas Dewey, and John Kerry. These cases were chosen because they involved experienced, credible aspirants who lost elections that were competitive and closely decided. In short, they could have won, but they did not. Further, these contests seem to have turned on the losers’ missteps rather than the winners’ achievements. Hence, these losers appear to have created opportunities for the winners to win.”

Chapter 7: An Abundance of Opportunism: The 2008 Presidential Election

“On reflection, a few features about the 2008 election stand out. First, aspirant opportunism abounded. Throughout the nomination contests, the front-runners were looking for ways to game the rules, crafting their rhetoric to appeal to subsets of voters they were targeting, and adapting, imitating, and improvising their strategies on the fly. Although Obama’s team was the most successful in terms of executing the plan they originally designed, they also found themselves having to reposition and outmaneuver their opponents’ successful strategies. Second, along the way in the multiple competitions that take place during a campaign, the losses of the winners as well as the legacies left by the losers—both intentional and unplanned—structured the field as much as the winners’ achievements.. Third, until the economic collapse, the boosts of momentum that the different candidates enjoyed, particularly during the nomination contests, were surprisingly moderate. They were more ephemeral than in campaigns past, suggesting perhaps how successful many of these aspirants were in prodding their supporters to challenge the national media memes on the Internet and to engage in local activities—whether they were meet-ups, rallies, or town halls—and thus alter the state of the race.”

Conclusion: Opportunistic Aspirants and the Methods of Selection

“It should be understood that presidents are politicians whose behaviors are structured by the Electoral College and the path they pursued to earn their party’s nomination. Although their constituency is all of America, their electoral success is achieved through partisan and federal structures. Lastly, while eliminating the Electoral College may satisfy the aims of some reformers, it may also prove detrimental to not only the quality of the aspirants fielded and the presidents selected, but also to the security of the nation and the stability of its constitutional design. Thus, as the Framers understood, a presidential selection process is inextricably connected to executive power— altering the method changes the authority—and to neglect this in the study of the presidency is imprudent and may even be foolhardy.”

About the author: Lara M. Brown, Ph.D., is an associate professor and the program director of the Political Management Program in the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. Follow her on Twitter: @LaraMBrownPHD.

This book is part of the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America (PIPPA) book series  (Editors: Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly). See more well-reviewed books in the Cambria Press PIPPA Series.

Order the hardcover by October 13 (1st Democratic Presidential Debate)
and get 30% off + Free Shipping!
Use coupon code APSA2015.
Libraries can use this code. Valid only for publisher-direct sales.

Like us on Facebook, subscribe to the Cambria Press Youtube channel, follow us on Twitter, and Google+1 Cambria Press .

See the Cambria Press website for more books.