Chapter 4: Political Forces on the Obama Presidency: From Elections to Governing

Political Forces on the Obama Presidency: From Elections to Governing

Political forces on the Obama presidency: From elections to governing
JamesE.Campbell

The politics of the presidency, whether with respect to elections or to governing, are ultimately structured by the push and pull on presidents of two broad constituencies: the president's ideological and partisan base and moderate swing voters who support the president.1 On one side are pressures pushing presidents to take more ideologically pure or extreme policy positions aimed at satisfying the party's base. On the other are forces pulling presidents to compromise toward the political center with the hope of pleasing pivotal swing voters who are generally more moderate in their policy preferences. Presidents who adopt more centrist policies risk satisfying moderates at the cost of ...

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