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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Lawrence Leduc

1 POL 344 Study Notes  the imperial Presidency: term coined by Arthur Schlesinger on 1979 to describe the presidency and how presidents have used the ambiguity of section 1 of the Constitution to expanded the prerogative of the office; includes the roles of Chief Administrator, Commander in Chief, Chief Diplomat, Chief Legislator, and Chief Magistrate (Pika and Maltese 16-20)  Presidential character  Battleground states: (also known as a swing or purple state) a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's Electoral College votes. These states are major targets of both political parties in Presidential Elections as these states are a great opportunity to gain electoral votes; in 2012 these were: Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia , New Hamsphire  Ben Bernanke: American economist and chairman of the Federal Reserve (US central bank); has overseen the FR's response to the 2008 financial crisis; appointed by George W. Bush, re-nominate by Obama; along with Treasury Secretary Paulson devised a plan to restore confidence in the banking industry by buying up distressed assets (those based on mortgages that were going into default); worked with Obama admin to propose reforms in March 2009 to create a single regulator responsible to oversee large companies with the potential to damage the economic system (Dodd-Frank bill)  Red states: states that vote predominantly for the Republican Party; term entered popular usage during the 2000 election  Homeland Security: an umbrella term for security efforts to protect states against terrorist activities; concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the US reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur  Balancing the ticket: when a candidate chooses a running mate, usually of the same party, with the goal of bringing more widespread appeal to the campaign (ie VP); in elections that are expected to be close, great concern is placed on a running mate's ability to appeal to voters in key states with critical numbers of votes in the Electoral College  Dealignment: a trend whereby a large portion of the electorate abandons its previous partisan affiliation, without developing a new one to replace it (vs realignment); loyalties to traditional parties breaking down, speculated to be happening in the 2000 election b/c it was the third election in a row where the winner failed to win a clear majority o the popular vote  Citizens United: January 2010 Supreme Court decision (Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission); court ruled that corporations have the same rights as individuals regarding political speech; declared decades of legislative restrictions on the role of corporations on campaigns to be unconstitutional; GOP saw this as a defence of free speech, Democrats generally saw it as giving a "green light to a new stampede of special 2 interest money"; this decision led to a surge in independent spending in 2010 midterms by approx five times what it was in 2006 midterms, overwhelmingly this money went to GOP candidates;  Executive order: have no explicit Constitutional basis, however Presidents use them following Teddy Roosevelt's "stewardship" theory of executive power which holds that Article 2 confers on them inherent power to take whatever actions they deem necessary in the national interest unless prohibited by the Constitution or by law; executive orders have been a primary means of exercising that power, they are "presidential edicts, legal instruments that create or modify laws, procedures, and policy by fiat," and have helped push "the boundaries of presidential power by taking advantage of gaps in constitutional and statutory language that allow them to fill power vacuums and gain control of emerging capabilities."; they can and have also been used to guide foreign policy; democrats use them more than republicans; and they are used more often at the end of a President's term, when his support is low; more are issued when the President's party is in the majority  Mid-term elections: every seat in the House of Representatives is up for elections at this point as well as 33 or 34 of the seats in the Senate; as well 34 of 50 states elect their governors; many other local elections can be held at the same time  Harry Reid: senior US senator from Nevada, democratic, Senate Majority Leader since January 2007; used to be a member of the House of Representatives for Nevada; member of Mormon church  Open primaries: open primaries allow all voters to take part, they can cast their votes on a ballot for any party; the party may require them to express their support of the part and pay a small fee; can lead to "raiding"  Newt Gingrich: 58th Speaker of the house from 1995-99; ran for Republican nominee for President in 2012; played a big role in ending the 40 year long majority of the democrats in the house  Obamacare: (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act); became law March of 2010; biggest overhaul of US healthcare system since Medicare and Medicaid in 1965; aimed at decreasing the number of uninsured Americans and reducing the overall costs of health care; uses mandates, subsidies and tax credits to increase the coverage rate; additional reforms are aimed at improving healthcare outcomes and streamlining the delivery of health care. It requires insurance companies to cover all applicants and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or gender  Joint chiefs: body of senior uniformed leaders in the US Dept. of Defense who advise the Sec of Defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council as well as the President on military matters; they do not have operational command authority  New Deal: series of economic programs enacted in the US between 1933 and 1936; involved presidential executive orders or laws passed by Congress during the first term of 3 FDR; they were in response to the Great Depression, focussed on Relief, Recovery and Reform; led to political realignment, making the Democrats the majority and coalitions of Democrats (controlled the Presidency) and liberal Republicans (New Deal coalition) vs the Conservative Coalition which controlled congress from 1937-63 by and large  Senate confirmation: "advice and consent" is a power of the Senate to be consulted on and approve treaties signed and appointments made by the President to public positions, including Cabinet, secretaries, federal judges, and ambassadors; comes from Article 2, section 2, paragraph 2; a majority of Senators must vote to confirm appointments  47%: of Americans who pay no income tax and are dependent upon the government, believe they are victims and that the government has a responsibility to care for them, they will vote for Obama no matter what, believe they are entitled; says he doesn't need to worry about them, just the 5-10% who are independents  Cabinet level: part of the executive branch; they administer their respective segments of the executive branch and are responsible for advising the President on areas within their purview; appointed and serve at the President's please and therefore are strongly subordinate to him; usually are members of the same party but not always; have to be confirmed by the Senate;  Super Tuesday: the Tuesday in March or February of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections; candidates seeking to become President must do well on this day to secure their party's nomination; they are typically held in a large number of states from geographically and socially diverse regions of the country and therefore represent a test of a presidential candidates electability; the states in super Tuesday change from year to year; 2008 it involved 24 states; 2012, 10 states (all republican;  Retrospective voting: voting based on the previous accomplishments of a President's time in office; can also be based on the party, but not sure if the correlation is as strong  John Boehner: 61st and current Speaker of the House of Representatives; Rep from Ohio; has also been house minority and house majority leader; second in line to the presidency; has been fighting with tea party supported Reps within his own party who don't want him to negotiate with Obama (ie forced him to walk away from negotiations over raising the debt ceiling)  Roe v. Wade: 1973 abortion rights decision; George W. Bush sought to make a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion so that Roe v. Wade would be overturned ; decided that Women have right to privacy including their own body but state also has interest to protecting prenatal life and women's health and these interests become stronger over time; decided cannot abort if the baby could live outside the mother's womb "viability"; still a hot issue in US politics  Simpson-Bowles: National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform; created in 2010 by Barack Obama to identify "policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run; co-chairs are Alan 4 Simpson and Erskine Bowles; released their report on Dec 1, 2010, but the blueprint did not have the votes to send it to congress; praised for putting debt on a downward path, critiqued for cutting entitlement and safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare  Power to persuade: see Question 1  Karl Rove: American political consultant and policy advisor; was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the Bush Jr. Admin until 2007; has also been a political analyst for Fox News, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal; helped Bush get elected in Texas  Fiscal cliff: refers to the economic effects that could result due to tax increases, spending cuts and a corresponding reduction in the US budget deficit beginning in 2013 if the laws aren't changed by the end of 2012; deficit is supposed to be reduced by half starting in 2012; this sharp decrease in the deficit in such a short time is what is known as the fiscal cliff; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this sudden reduction will probably lead to a recession in early 2013; Bush era tax cuts will expire and so will planned spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011; spending for defense, federal agencies and cabinet departments would be cut  Chris Christie: Republican Governor of New Jersey, elected Nov 2009; seen as potential Republican nominee for 2016  Appropriations: the legislative designation of money for particular uses, in the context of a budget of spending bill; bills for appropriating funds must be originate in the House of Representatives but can be amended in the Senate  Reagan Democrats: traditionally democratic voters (esp white working class Northerners) who defected from their party to support Regan in both 1980 and 84; also refers to the smaller number of Democrats who voted for Bush Sr in 1988; can also describe more conservative Democrats (at least in terms of national security and immigration); also refers to how much sway Regan had over the Dem maj house during his presidency  Iowa caucus: an electoral event in which residents of the state of Iowa meet in precinct caucuses in all of Iowa's 1774 precincts and elect delegates to the corresponding county conventions, of which there are 99; these county conventions then select delegates for both Iowa's Congressional District Convention and the State Convention which eventually choose the delegates for the presidential nominating conventions; they are the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President since 1972, therefore they receive a lot of media attention; even though only about 1% of the nation's delegates are chosen by the Iowa State Convention, they serve as an early indicator for which candidates may win their party's nomination and which could drop out  Ticket splitting: when a voter chooses candidates from different political parties on the same ballot when multiple offices are being decided by a single election; this could also refer to when a voter prefers one candidate and yet vote for another because they have a 5 better chance of winning than the first candidate over other candidates whom the voter does not like  Super PACs: cannot contribute to campaigns or parties but may engage in unlimited political spending independently of the campaigns, also unlike traditional PACs they can raise funds from individuals, corporations, unions and other groups without any legal limit on donation size; they were made possible because of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision as well as Speechnow.org v. FEC; they arose in 2012; they cannot coordinate directly with candidates or political parties; played a major role in 2012 spending a ton of money; most of their money comes from individual donations, not corporations  Gun lobby  Permanent campaign: poli sci theory, that states "governing with public approval requires a continuing political campaign"; based on computer driven polling and the media, replaces the old patronage style and party organization; The frenzied, headline- grabbing atmosphere of presidential campaigns is carried over into the office itself, thus creating a permanent campaign that limits the ability of policies to deviate from the perceived will of the people, hence, intensive polling; Blumenthal says that government has been remade into "an instrument designed to sustain an elected official's popularity"; problem with it is that its adversarial, while governing should be collaborative; 1. Would you say that the President of the United States is more or less powerful than a prime minister in a parliamentary system? Why? [PM 1] a. "Presidential power is the power to persuade" Richard Neustadt b. It was not expected to become America's central political institution by the nation's founders; very vague description in the constitution, however these powers have expanded; strength of the exec was a point of contention, fear of tyranny vs frustration with strong legislatives and small vs large states (with small states wanting power to be more evenly distributed) ; small states wanted a weaker union and weaker President b/c wanted to hold onto their own power; big states wanted a strong central government because they figured they could dominate it; this problem was solved by giving President certain powers and Congress others, and making the president directly elected; pres given few powers directly, though his role as "commander in chief" allows for the expansion of this; c. Lincoln and the Civil war and his reliance on his role of commander in chief were a watershed event along with FDR presidency as he had a strong majority elected 4 times that allowed him lots of time to expand the role of the exec to deal with the extenuating circumstances of the Great Depression d. Constitutional theory: (ie William Taft) argue that Pres. power is strictly limited, have only the powers enumerated in the constitution or granted by Congress; 6 e. Stewardship theory: Pres can do anything not explicitly forbidden by constitution or Congress f. Prerogative theory: most expansive, power to act according to discretion for the public good, without the prescription of the law and sometimes even against it; can do anything not forbidden, and can do things that are forbidden when the national interest is at risk (ie Lincoln at the outside of the civil war, when he unilaterally authorized a number of actions ie calling militia and blockading southern ports); Lincoln said this was necessary due to military necessity; Nixon tried to use the same justification; Bush Jr. Tried to exercise similar powers g. Presidents have come to use executive agreements in place of treaties, don't require senate ratification; have to submit a budget, which allows the president to shape legislative agenda; "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution... and take care that the laws be faithfully executed" Pres have used this clause to justify signing statements, where they clarify vague parts of a bill or explain how they feel it should be put into action; h. Modern presidents as Greenstein argues have four features :1) pres is to develop a legislative program and persuade Congress to enact it, 2) presidents regularly engage in direct policymaking through actions not requiring congressional approval, 3) presidential office has become an extensive bureaucracy designed to enable presidents to undertake the first two points, and 4) presidents have come to symbolize the nation and to personify its government to such an extent that public holds them responsible for its condition and closely monitors their performance through intensive media coverage" (PM 21) i. "In no other public office do the personality, character, and political style of the incumbent make as much difference as they do in the presidency" (PM 31); pres heavily influenced by the political structure (Congress, exec branch, courts) political parties, interest groups, society at large, mass media or just extenuating circumstances; they are usually forced to govern by political manoeuvring, by trying to persuade the many participants in the political process (ie DNC believe O's health care bill would not have passed if it hadn't been for his use of his grassroots network OFA to get people interested, involved and writing their politicians) j. Presidents are major actors in the policymaking process, the positions they adopt elicit support or opposition, and their overall performance in office becomes the object of citizens' evaluations (PM3) k. More of a mythology around the presidency l. Use public appeals to bargain with congress, ties into the permanent campaign (PM109) 2. Which American presidents are generally considered to have been among the most successful? What are some factors that led to their success? [PM3-4] 7 a. Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson are in the top five in almost every poll; also FDR does well and Teddy Roosevelt; b. Professionals judge this based on who gets more done, short term and long term; how well they can communicate with the public; organizational capacity to rally colleagues; structure activities; political skill insofar as it is linked to a vision of public policy; cognitive style in processing information; and emotional intelligence, managing ones own emotions for constructive purposes; c. Obviously Lincoln managed to keep the country together; Washington led the Revolution; d. Teddy Roosevelt: n 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt became President at the age of 42; he remains the youngest president.[5] Roosevelt attempted to move the Republican Party (GOP) toward Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses. In 1904 Roosevelt was elected to a full term of his own, becoming the first person elevated from the Vice-Presidency to do so,[6] as well as winning the largest percentage of the popular vote since the uncontested election of 1820. Roosevelt coined the phrase "Square Deal" to describe his domestic agenda, emphasizing that the average citizen would get a fair share under his policies. As an outdoorsman and naturalist, he promoted the conservation movement. On the world stage, Roosevelt's policies were characterized by his slogan, "Speak softly and carry a big stick". Roosevelt was the force behind the completion of the Panama Canal; sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to demonstrate American power; and negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.[7] e. FDR sucessfully implemented the New Deal and brought America out of the depression f. Jefferson: Elected president in what Jefferson called the Revolution of 1800, he oversaw the purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from France (1803), and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) to explore the new west. His second term was beset with troubles at home, such as the failed treason trial of his former Vice President Aaron Burr. With escalating trouble with Britain who was challenging American neutrality and threatening shipping at sea, he tried economic warfare with his embargo laws which only damaged American trade. In 1807, President Jefferson signed into law a bill that banned the importation of slaves into the United States. In scholarly surveys Jefferson remains rated as one of the greatest U.S. presidents, though since the late-twentieth century, he has been increasingly criticized by many historians, often on the issue of slavery. [3][4]; also the benefit of being a founding father and founding the Democratic- Republican Party; 8 g. Jefferson, Washington, and both Roosevelts were all from the "upper-upper class" while Lincoln was middle class"; no upper class Presidents are seen as failures; (maybe b/c of emphasis on doing a job better vs getting a better job); experience is not a guarantee of success, as those in the bottom ten actually had more experience before going into office h. President's standing with the general public influences how other governmental and non-governmental personal act towards them; except Clinton(PM3) i. Generally approval for a president decays after his first few months in office, bottoming out in month 13; rely a fair bit on public support for policy success therefore its best to "hit the ground running"; most successful presidents have achieved much in their first 100 days (PM 103) 3. In what sense is it appropriate to think of the President as the leader of a political party? What problems (if any) do you see in this characterization? [PM2-3, AAR7- 9, Milkis et al] a. The American people want a president who will rise above the partisan frey, parties, however, do not - "New American Party System", in which both domestic and foreign policy have become extremely polarized and partisan; parties have grown stronger; presidency itself has also become more partisan; modern Republican presidents have strengthened their party by raising funds, grassroots orgs, candidate recruitment and organizational capacity; Reagan and Bush especially tried to expand the base of their party and really worked with it; president's role as party leader has been layered atop his role as non-partisan leader; president now has to deal with these conflicting roles; Obama is the first to really have to do this, he has tried to join partisan and post-partisan appeals together in his speeches, he speaks of trying to overcome the party divisions, using methods that are ground in the wisdom of the people, but then he criticizes Republican theories that the wealthy should get more and that it would "trickle down", and criticized the Bush administration quite strongly; he then puts forth a very democratic agenda; says the economic and social problems are due to Bush's failed ideologies; frequently refers to Republican obstructionism; portrays GOP as standing with the wealthy against the rest; he has sought republican support for the things he wants to pass, but because they are democratic in nature he has had to rely on the democrats to get them passed; trying to reconcile both his roles has meant Obama has played heavy political prices (ie losing a large number of seats in the 2010 midterms) (Milkis et al) b. 4. Primaries play an important and unique role in American politics. Have they always been as important in American national politics as they are today? What conclusions about the role of the primaries in American party politics can be drawn 9 from the 2012 contests? Why was the "road to Tampa? So long? [Pios, AAR1, Shribman] a. After 1972 the process of selecting parties leaders was turned over to the people, after debates over who should have more say, party leaders, people or both equal; then they realized they had gone too far and came up with super delegates; used as a barometer of how well a candidate could do, ie watched Romney's performance in S.C. because he wasn't expected to do well there; the Democrats eliminated winner take all primaries in 2008, therefore they are now awarded proportionally, this drags out the primaries for much longer, as the second place person can get almost as many delegate as the first; (Pios) b. In 2012 it looked like the other candidates made Romney pull to the right; but he was not expected to stay there; this tarnished him (ie the issue of his tax returns which was brought up in the primaries and hasn't gone away)(Pios) c. Were six candidates who held the lead at some point during the 2012 Republican primaries; d. Primaries make parties more permeable 5. Why is the U.S. President chosen by an electoral college instead of directly by the voters? What are some of the criticisms of this system? What were some of the implications for the conduct and outcome of the 2012 election? [PM2, AAR2,3,9] a. Only Maine and Nebraska do not follow winner take all, makes them less important b. Contested issue at the Philly convention; fight over a) election by Congress or b) independent and direct election; a) was more favourable for small states (have more control) and would keep the president as weak as possible; b) strong President, favoured by Hamilton; framers distrusted democracy, not just executive powers and therefore wanted limited franchise; the result was a compromise -> separate body: The Electoral College, whose job was to elect the President; no one liked it; both saw it as a partial victory, no one thought it would work; states get the same number of electors as they have members of the house and senate combined; c. Could get those with less nationwide appeal (don't need to appeal to whole country if system is different); if it was popular vote alone the big states would matter even more; state gov's seem to be favoured for Presidency, they come out of nowhere but already have enough support in their state that they can do well; battleground states are the only ones that matter, because they can swing the election, just need narrow victories in key states to win the election; ie Obama is not going to spend a lot of time in California, because he already knows he'll win it; it also exaggerates perceived margins of victory; they also don't go to states that aren't considered winnable because there is no point (PM2) 10 d. Obama got 332 electoral college seats (far more than the 270 needed for a majority), but only about 50% of the popular vote; therefore looks like a larger mandate than it is; (2000 election Bush lost popular vote but still won electoral college) 6. Examine your Leon County ballot from the 2008 U.S. election. What does it tell you about the structure of the American electoral system? Would the ballots used in the same election in other states be similar or dissimilar? How might some of the items which appear on various state ballots affect the outcome of presidential election? [PM3, AAR2, Holbrook] a. There is no national electoral system in the USA; Constitution allows for the states to chose who is eligible to vote, there are some similarities; the states then leave it up to local authorities, meaning the ballots can vary greatly from county to county; b. There are often disputes over ballots like what happened in the Bush 2000 election, but this was noticed because it actually affected the outcome of the election; ballots stand unless successfully challenged in court; c. Sometimes you can vote a straight party ticket ballot "ie all Republican candidates" this allows during Presidential election years for the President to carry people to power with him; d. If there are high profile referendums on the ballot (ie regarding gay marriage or legalization of marijuana) it brings out voters from a certain demographic: ie people who feel strongly in opposition to gay marriage are going to come out when its on the ballot and vote against it and vote GOP, whereas as many Dem's probably don't feel quite as strongly and therefore may not turn out to vote; ie Leon County ballot 7. How important, in your view, were the televised Presidential debates in this election? What elements of Romney's or Obama's electoral strategies did they reveal? How did they compare with previous televised presidential debates in this regard? [PM 3, AAR2, Holbrook] a. By 1980' it was argued that "going public" was key to presidential success; this meant issuing campaign like appeals to citizens for their support instead of bargaining with other elites, especially using television (PM3) b. Both parties have learned to lower expectations before debates to allow their candidates to outperform expectations, they also rehearse them ahead of time, these things make them less important because are less of a "wild card"; generally debates aren't great for incumbents, this is good for Romney as his campaign was faltering before the debates; incumbents can only ever lose, c. The debates revealed that Romney was actually eventually going to swing back to the middle; and that he remembered he was Governor at one point; (binders full of women) the first one certainly seems to have given Romney a bump in the polls 11 as Obama was not prepared; however I think the later ones allowed Obama to defend his policies well and call Romney out on his lying (ie oil drilling); (esp the VP debate); they didnt really reveal anything revolutionary d. They both really stuck to their key talking points; no revolutionary new information; e. Helps the least engaged citizens to develop an impression of the candidates; can sometimes make young candidates look foolish and inexperienced 8. Why are domestic political issues such as health care and social security debate in such different terms in the United States than in Canada? Or are they? Why did Clinton's health care reform plan fail while Obama's succeeded? [PM8, Hacker, Hanson] a. Clinton's health care reform bill failed because he created it in entirety and then gave it to congress to pass, whereas Obama allowed them to work with it and collaborate to make something that worked better for them and gave them a greater stake in it 9. Do recent elections (including 2012) confirm the idea that they American electorate has become more "candidate centered"? If so, is this a cause or an effect of the decline of political parties in the U.S.? What are some of the implications of such a decline, if it has in fact occurred? [PM3, AAR8, Milkis et al] a. The US president is the symbol of the nation; personification of government, capable of inspiring loyalty; symbolize national unity (PM3) b. President is venerated, ie state of the union, standing ovation; (PM 97) c. Since Harry Truman the Pres has had a staff assigned as liaison with their
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