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Predicting the PresidencyThe Potential of Persuasive Leadership$
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George C., III Edwards

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691170374

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691170374.001.0001

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Strategic Position with Congress

Strategic Position with Congress

(p.34) Chapter 3 Strategic Position with Congress
Predicting the Presidency

George C. Edwards III

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Barack Obama’s strategic position with Congress, again explaining why he was not more successful. Presidential persuasion is at the margins of congressional decision making. There are several components of the opportunity for obtaining support from both Democrats and Republicans, aside from existing public support for the president’s initiatives. The chapter first provides an overview of partisanship in Congress and the ideology of Congress before addressing a number of key questions; for example, whether there is a perception in Congress that the president received an electoral mandate on behalf of specific policies, whether the president’s party enjoys a majority in a chamber, the degree of ideological polarization in Congress, or whether the structure of the decision facing Congress favors the president. The chapter shows that presidential leadership is highly dependent on the opportunity structure not only with the public but also with Congress.

Keywords:   strategic position, Barack Obama, Congress, persuasion, Democrats, Republicans, ideology, mandate, presidential leadership, opportunity structure

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