a) Most presidents believe they have the ability to go beyond the formal powers provided by the Constitution. This interpretation has been supported, to some extent, by the Supreme Court. As a result, the interpretation of how far the president can go beyond their constitutional powers has changed dramatically.
b) One time President Obama said, “I have a phone and I have a pen” to show how he would work around Congress. Others use executive agreements with foreign nations or signing statements about how the president interprets a law that he/she is signing.
c) Some experts think that the success of a president is this ability. Presidents use their personality, the role as head of the party, their role as a moral leader and other means to try to implement their agenda.
d) The honeymoon period, the cycle effect, the state of the economy, newsworthy events, political controversy, presidential style
e) Presidents will often seek support from voters on an issue or cause in the hopes that it will put pressure on Congress to give the president what they want. Presidents use their powers as both head of government and head of state to appeal to citizens. Efforts at doing this have increased greatly in the era of the modern presidency. President Trump’s favorite approach is to tweet his ideas to voters.
f) It’s not as easy as it looks. Sometimes the president and these folks have goals that are in conflict. Each elected official has different groups of voters to please and different terms of office. There may also be different philosophies between the sides.
g) When the president is from a different political party than the party that is in the majority in one or both chambers of Congress (the House and Senate), it is much more difficult to get things done. When national needs are pressing or the public’s mood demands action, opposition majorities can still pass important legislation but otherwise it can lead to gridlock.
h) Cabinet (agency heads), Vice-President, First Lady/First Spouse, White House staff, Executive Office of the President. All of these people or groups of people assist the president in carrying out their duties and public policy agenda.
i) Each department in the executive branch is headed by a presidential appointee. Collectively, there are 15 people in this group. This number has grown as various interests have pressed for representation in this group. Sometimes there is a team of rivals.
j) Clinton felt our pain, Nixon knew a lot and was paranoid, Reagan was an endless optimist, George W. Bush as the decider who focused on results rather than debates, then it was “No Drama Obama” and now it is Twitter Trump. These differences in how presidents present themselves are real, but they also are carefully cultivated.
k) Sometimes, Congress ignores or blocks the president’s proposals, appointees, budgets, etc. But the president does get to give a speech every year to lay out their agenda for the American people and the president often frames the terms of the debate.
l) President Lincoln, President Bush and President Obama all denied American citizens a writ of habeas corpus (a court order to hold somebody in custody and then deliver that person to the court where they will be given a reason for their detention). How could this happen?
m) If these are not good, it makes it more difficult for presidents to achieve their agenda with Congress or with the people. They can also be affected by a crisis and the health of the economy. Most of the time, they end up lower at the end of the term of the president.
1) Expectations Gap
2) Legislative Powers of the President
3) Presidential style and personality
4) The Cabinet
5) Presidential approval ratings
6) Working with Congress
7) Unilateral presidential action
8) Inherent powers
9) Factors that influence presidential popularity
10) Executive Orders
11) The presidential establishment
12) Divided government
13) Going public
14) The founding fathers design a limited executive
15) The power to persuade
16) War-time powers of the president
17) Pardoning power
18) Factors that affect Presidential Power