Barack Obama and the Partisan Presidency

24 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 9 Aug 2010

Date Written: 2010


Political scientists have tended to see the powerful presidency of the 20th and the 21st centuries as being the enemy of strong political parties. But over the past quarter century, presidents have been following a more partisan path. They have been relying on their parties more for support, both in Congress and in the electorate, seeking greater partisan control over the executive branch, and even using the media more to mobilize the base than to reach swing voters. Despite his assertions of “post-partisanship,” Barack Obama fits closely with the paradigm of the last quarter century. He has received little support from Republicans at the ballot box, in opinion surveys, or on Capitol Hill. His legislative agenda reflects that of the broader Democratic Party. The conservative “partisan press” is thriving under Obama, while the president woos its liberal counterparts.

Suggested Citation

Skinner, Richard M., Barack Obama and the Partisan Presidency (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Richard M. Skinner (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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