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Government - The Presidency

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Patrick Keating

on 26 October 2018

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Transcript of Government - The Presidency

Unit 5: The Presidency

Chief of State -- ceremonial head of government; the symbol of all the people
Reigns and rules
Chief Executive -- vested by the constitution with 'executive power'
"the most powerful office in the world"
All powerful? -- checks and balances, separation of power
Suppose you could create the "ideal" presidential candidate:
Create a list of 7-10 characteristics they would have.
Discuss what issues this candidate would place at the center of their campaign.
Use your knowledge of the current political and economic landscape of our country to shape your response.
- what does it take to become the president?
A 'natural born' -- born in the US or born to US citizens
Age -- must be 35 years old
Residency -- must be a resident for at least 14 years
The President's Term
Four year term
Hamilton -- Federalist #71
22nd Amendment -- placed a two term limit on the president
Washington to FDR
Salary and Benefits
1789 -- $25,000
2017 -- $400,000
Spending account -- $50,000/year
Presidential Succession -- order by which a presidential vacancy is filled
Dies, resigns, or is removed from office -- VP takes over
Presidential Succession Act of 1947 -- set the order of succession
Vice President
Speaker of the House
President pro tem of the Senate
Secretary of State
Cabinet in the order in which they were created
Amendments and the President
12th Amendment - deals with the Electoral College; established presidential tickets (President and VP together)
20th Amendment - inauguration moved from March to January
Removal From Office
House impeaches - accuse, bring charges

Senate tries -- acts as 100 member jury
Chief Justice presides over the trial
Members of House prosecute the case
President hires private lawyers in defense
Two-thirds vote to convict

Punishment following impeachment
Removal from office
Censure (reprimand)
Can forbid person from holding federal office in the future
Winner take all - winner of state's primary receives all the delegates

(prohibited by democrats)
Proportional - percent won -- delegate support corresponds to the candidate's share of the popular vote
Purpose of the National Convention
Adopt a party platform - statement of party's principles and major issues
Formally nominate the party's candidates for president and VP
Unify the party
Qualities that parties look for...
Incumbent presidents
Most available - electable and appealing
Substantial v. well known records in public office (free from controversy, not antagonizing)
Past history of elected office
Governors from large states (past or present)

Large pivotal state
White male
Healthy and speaking (importance of TV)
Family - marriage
Election Day
Occurs the Tuesday following the 1st Monday of November
In every state but Maine and Nebraska -- winner take all format
Electors than meet the Monday following the 2nd Wednesday in December in their state capitol
If there is a tie? -- Election thrown into the House of Reps.
9. Election Day (Cont.)
Each elector has two votes - president and VP
Ballots sealed and sent to Congress (Pres. of Senate)
President of Senate opens and counts before a joint session of Congress on Jan 6.
Defects in the College
Major Defects
Electoral vote will contradict the popular vote - 1824, 1876, 1888
Electors are not bound by the state's popular election - faithless electors (7 since 1948)
Third Party - strong third party candidates can send an election to the House
Proposed Reforms
District Plan - elector for each district; electors chosen like members of Congress
Proportional Plan - candidates would receive the same share of states electoral votes as popular votes
Eliminates faithless elector
Does not eliminate contradiction of popular vote v. electoral college
Direct Popular Election
Needs constitutional amendment
Increases third party clout
Small states lose advantage
Burden election process (candidates would have to campaign in every state)
Ballot - box stuffing (voter fraud)
Minorities lose power
The National Popular Vote Plan
States amend election laws to provide that all of the state's electoral votes be awarded to the winner of national popular vote
102 electoral votes awarded to popular vote winne
III. Powers of the Pres and VP
The President executes all federal law
To the fullestextend and to the extent they choose - signing statements
Powers of the VP
Preside over the Senate
Help decide presidential disability
Duties of the VP
Takes part in cabinet meeting
member of the national security council
May advise the preident
Balances the ticket
chair - National Aeronautics and Space Council
Represents US in absence of the president
3. Powers of the President
A. Executive
Executive Orders
Appointments - ambassadors, cabinet, agency head, judges, officers
The power of removal
B. Diplomatic
Power to make treaties
Executive Agreement
C. Military
Commander in Chief
Making Undeclared War
War Power Resolution - benefits and flaws of a powerful executive
D. Legislative
Recommending legislation
The Veto Power
Line Item Veto
E. Judicial
Reprieve, Pardon, Clemency
Chief Administrator -- the director of the executive branch
2.7 million civilian employees
Budget of $2.5 trillion
Chief diplomat -- main architect of American foreign policy
Spokesperson of the nation
Roles of the President (8)
Commander in Chief -- civilian leader of the armed forces; entire military arsenal under his control
Chief legislator -- main architect of the US' policy
Sets the overall shape of the congressional agenda
Constitutional Powers (6)
Chief of Party -- acknowledged leader of the political party (D/R)
Chief citizen -- the representative of all the people
Represents the public interest
Non-Constitutional Roles (2)
The Vice Presidency
"I am Vice President. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything."
Two formal duties :
To preside over the Senate (president)
Help decide the question of presidential disability
"President in waiting"
Purpose of choosing the Vice President
Balance the ticket -- strengthen the President's chance to being elected
Joe Biden -- experience; foreign policy
Paul Ryan -- budget; spending cuts
The Road to the Presidency
Step 1 -- state primaries
Nothing in Constitution regarding how to nominate a president
Development of
presidential primaries -- an election in which a party's voters choose some or all of the party organization's delegates to the national convention
New Hampshire -- has the first every 4 years
Two problems:
Each state varies in how they select delegates
Democratic Party has been constantly reforming their selection process
Caucus -- a meeting of party members/supporters
A few states hold caucuses
Iowa's gets the most attention -- they are the first delegate-selection event every 4 years
Precinct -- district -- state
Step 2 -- National Convention
Number of delegates up for grabs:
Republicans -- 2,472
Democrats -- 2,383
Republicans -- leave selection process to each state
Democrats -- adopted several national rules for the process
National Conventions -- meetings at which the delegates vote to pick their presidential and VP candidates
Used to be very dramatic, full of debate
Now --
little doubt as to who will win; most candidates lock up nomination before convention
Three Goals:
Naming president and VP candidates
Bringing the party together
Adopting the party's platform
Conventions -- Four Days
First Two Days
1 -- welcoming delegates, organizing conventions, speeches
2 -- adoption of party platform, keynote address
Last Two Days
3 -- Nomination of the party's candidates
Ratify the candidate's choice
VP delivers acceptance speech
4 -- presidential candidate ratified
Delivers speech and launches general election campaign
Step 3 -- The General Election
Split into groups and complete the handout provided. Use internet research and the URL provided to answer the questions.
Each individual needs to complete the worksheet
Each one of you has been assigned a presidential election. Prepare a short Keynote presentation on the following:
Who ran in the election -- name, party, office held, state of origin of each
Key issues in the election (i.e. 2012 -- economy)
Analysis of the electoral college for your election; who won what states, any trends that you see
Interesting facts about the election -- what can we learn about the electoral college from this election?
Pros/Cons of Electoral College
Requires a distribution of popular support -- contributes national unity
Enhancement/protection of minority interests -- small minorities can make a difference in a given state
Encourages a two party system -- national stability
Maintains a federal system - states have a role
Who favors it:
Smaller/less populous states
Two major parties
Concentration of campaigning in contested states
Ignoring uncontested states
Risk of electing candidate that did not win popular vote
Risk of faithless elector
Decreasing voter turnout
Will not accurately reflect people's choice due to winner take all system

Who opposes it:
More populous states (not the largest)
Third parties
Many Americans following 2000 election

The Presidency -- Evolution
Andrew Jackson -- used the presidential veto differently than previous presidents
Vetoed bills that he viewed unconstitutional as well as ones that he did not like
Abraham Lincoln -- contributed to the growth of the office
During the Civil War -- used unprecedented presidential power
Suspended writ of habeas corpus
Nationalized militia
Expanded size of army/navy
Teddy Roosevelt -- 'bully pulpit'
Used the presidency to influence public opinion
Most influential in the 20th century
Used Great Depression and WWII to consolidate presidential power
The New Deal -- Social Security, employment reforms, and reform of executive agencies
WWII -- established US in international arena
22nd - Established Term Limits (two terms or 10 years)
23rd - allows those in DC to vote for President (# of electors as the least populous state)
25th - Disability of the President -- if the president is disabled in any way, must (1) submit to Congress in writing that that the VP is in charge or (2) the VP and a majority of the cabinet inform Congress in writing that the President is incapacitated
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