How the Presidency Changes the President

Washington Post: “A new paper out in the journal Presidential Studies Quarterly takes a rigorous, quantitative approach to the question behind all the current pivot talk: Does the presidency moderate the president? That is, does becoming president cause a leader to shift toward the center in an effort to govern everyone? Or does a president gravitate toward the extremes, becoming more entrenched in party and ideology?”

“Barry Edwards, a political scientist at the University of Central Florida, found that while there was a time when ‘the presidency effectively moderated presidents’ policy preferences,’ that’s no longer the case. Instead, in the modern era, Edwards writes, the presidency ‘appears to amplify the partisan leanings of the president.'”

“Edwards suspects these findings reflect the evolving nature of the presidency. The modern president, other recent political science research suggests, is no longer simply an executor of laws passed by Congress. Rather, ‘he uses executive authority to shift public opinion in support of his policies.'”

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