Paper | Issues in Governance Studies
Going Partisan: Presidential Leadership in a Polarized Political Environment
October 28, 2013,
Brandon Rottinghaus articulates and finds support for an alternative strategy to the “going public” presidential leadership tactic. With the United States currently experiencing a hyper-polarized political environment, he argues that the president’s goal in “going partisan” is to directly mobilize local partisans and leaning partisans and indirectly engender greater party support of the president’s party within Congress. Ultimately there is a tradeoff with this strategy: while big losses are avoided and presidents can maintain a defensive position by keeping a minimum amount of opposition unified around the White House’s agenda, the fact remains that fewer substantial policy innovations or major agenda items are likely to be initiated or maintained.