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The Politics of the Presidency

The Politics of the Presidency

Tenth Edition

January 2020 | 720 pages | CQ Press
The most up-to-date coverage and analysis of the presidency 

Never losing sight of the foundations of the political office, The Politics of the Presidency maintains a balance between historical context and contemporary scholarship on the executive branch, providing a solid foundation for any presidency course. In the highly anticipated Tenth Edition of this bestseller, Pika, Maltese, and Rudalevige thoroughly analyze the change and continuity in the presidency during President Trump's first term, his relations with Congress and the judiciary, the outcomes of the 2018 midterm election, and the competitive setting for the 2020 presidential race.

Tables and Figures
About the Authors
Part I: The President and the Public
Chapter 1: The Changing Presidency
The Scope of Presidential Power

Expansion of the Presidency

Popular Expectations

Conclusion: The Changeable, Political Presidency

Suggested Readings

Resources on the Web


Chapter 2: Election Politics
Evolution of the Selection Process

Defining the Pool of Eligibles

Competing for the Nomination

The National Convention

The General Election


Conclusion: Transitions to Governing

Suggested Readings

Resources on the Web


Chapter 3: Public Politics
Public Attitudes toward the Presidency

Rallying Public Support

delete - The President and the Media

Conclusion: The Permanent Campaign

Suggested Readings


Chapter 4: Presidential Character and Performance
Determinants and Evaluations of Performance

What Manner of Person?

Psychological Characteristics of U.S. Presidents

Management Styles of Modern Presidents

Understanding Presidents: Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump

Conclusion: Seeking Presidential Success

Suggested Readings

Resources on the Web


Part II: The President and the Government
Chapter 5: Legislative Politics
Three Confrontations in Interbranch Relations

Development of the President's Legislative Role

The Presidential-Congressional Relationship

The President's Formal Legislative Powers

The President's Informal Legislative Influence

Explaining Presidents’ Legislative Success

Congressional Oversight

Conclusion: Legislating Together

Suggested Readings


Chapter 6: Executive Politics
The President as Executive

The President and the Executive Branch

The President and the Cabinet

The Vice President

The First Lady

Presidential Control of the Bureaucracy

Presidential Management of the Bureaucracy

Conclusion: The Frustrating Search for Control

Suggested Readings

Resources on the Web


Chapter 7: Judicial Politics
Presidential Appointment of Federal Judges

Other Presidential Influences on the Federal Courts

Judicial Oversight of Presidential Action

Conclusion: A Balancing Act

Suggested Readings


Part III: The President and Public Policy
Chapter 8: The Politics of Domestic Policy
The Domestic Policy Process

The Domestic Policy Environment

The Domestic Policy Apparatus

Conclusion: Providing Policy Leadership

Suggested Readings


Chapter 9: The Politics of Economic Policy
Macroeconomic Policy

Microeconomic Policy

Presidents and the Economy: 1933–2019

delete - The Politics of Macroeconomic Policymaking

The Economic Subpresidency

Presidents and Economic Policy Coordination

Congress's Role in Macroeconomic Policy

Conclusion: Avoiding Economic Disorder

Suggested Readings

Resources on the Web


Chapter 10: The Politics of National Security Policy
Issues in National Security Policy: Search for a New Consensus

The Problem with National Security Policymaking

The President, Congress, and National Security

Organizing and Managing National Security

Conclusion: Limiting the Exercise of Power

Suggested Readings


Chapter 11: An Embattled, Defiant President
Setting the Stage for 2020

Assessing Trump as President: Harbinger or Aberration?

A Stress Test for Madisonian Institutions



The Politics of the Presidency is well-designed and -written, easy for students to comprehend, and all-around useful in laying out the key facets and concepts of the American presidency. It is deep in its material without being dense and approachable without sacrificing rigor. I have not seen a text on the American presidency that does a better job of laying clear the history, powers, and limitations of the modern chief executive.”

Michael Julius
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

 “The authors’ approach puts politics front and center in the study of the presidency. The Politics of the Presidency is clearly the work of senior scholars who have devoted many years to the study of the presidency and scholarship on the office. They know a lot about the office and convey what they know to students in a well-organized and well-written manner.”

Andrew Battista
East Tennessee State University

 “I use The Politics of the Presidency in my undergraduate presidency courses because the essential topics are thoroughly covered in a style that is both readable and interesting. The cases and examples are always well-chosen and up-to-date, and the special circumstances and challenges facing the current president can be easily compared to enduring presidential responsibilities such as domestic politics, economic policy, and national security.”

Bruce Buchanan
University of Texas at Austin
Key features
  • Extensive discussions of the Trump presidency give readers a stronger understand of Trump's relations with the media and his extensive use of tweets; relations with Congress and the ultimate congressional check, impeachment; approaches to managing the bureaucracy with particular attention to the heavy reliance on unilateral presidential tools like regulations; and Trump's court appointments, with special focus on Supreme Court nominations. 

  • The impact of new policies, such as domestic (health care), economic (tax cuts) and foreign (deemphasizing NATO) policies, is discussed. 

  • A new chapter, A Willingly Embattled President, helps prepare readers to cast a ballot in the 2020 election by assessing Trump's record on key policy initiatives (immigration, foreign trade, health care, foreign policy, court appointments) and examining how well he meets traditional expectations of how presidents should conduct the office.


  • An easy-to-understand analysis of all aspects of the presidency. 

  • "Resources on the Web" sections offer readers an opportunity to pursue topics of interest.

  • An examination of the full range of influences on the president provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of the nation’s most important political office. 

  • A balanced assessment of all men who have held this central office enable readers to think critically about each president’s records of success and failure, disappointment and surprise.

  • A look at the challenges and opportunities a new president will confront empowers readers to have informed discussions about the qualifications of potential candidates. 

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