Why do presidents campaign in midterm elections, and what do they get in return? The standard answer of the literature is that presidents campaign because that is what they do--it is the essence of the permanent campaign--and they do so in this instance in order to elect a greater number of partisans. This dissertation steps back from the conventional wisdom, and reconstructs the basis of this behavior not upon the ideas of the public presidency or the permanent campaign, but on the American party system, arguing that this behavior arose in response to a changes that occurred in that system over the course of the 20th century. Starting from this point, it goes on to show that presidents do not campaign simply to elect more partisans, but to change the ideological dynamics of their party and of Congress as a whole. Moreover, it shows how through these actions presidents change the subsequent behavior of Congress, making it more amenable to presidential desires. In total, then, this dissertation offers a reassessment of an important presidential behavior, and raises questions about how we understand the nature of parties, executive-congressional relations, and the separation of powers in the United States.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2013. Major: Political science. Advisor: Kathryn Pearson. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 182 pages, appendix A.
Julius, Michael Ashley.
Stacking the political deck: presidential midterm campaigning and the separation of powers.
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