Chapter

The Semi‐Sovereign American Prince: The Semi‐Sovereign American Prince: The Dilemma of an Independent The Dilemma of an Independent President in a Presidential Government <sup>1</sup>

Fabbrini Sergio

in The Presidentialization of Politics

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199252015
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602375 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199252017.003.0014

Series: Comparative Politics

The Semi‐Sovereign American Prince: The Semi‐Sovereign American Prince: The Dilemma of an Independent The Dilemma of an Independent President in a Presidential Government  1

Show Summary Details

Preview

Since the 1960s, the electoral process in America has undergone a pronounced process of personalization. Candidates for the presidency have grown increasingly independent of the traditional party organizations. There has arisen a highly personalized process of selecting the presidential candidate. However, this personalization of the electoral process has not been matched by an equivalent personalization of the system of government. There are both structural and contingent reasons for this circumstance. The structural ones have to do with the nature of the American system of government, which is a system of separated government. The contingent reasons have to do with the progressive institutionalization—especially since the 1980s—of a divided government within the separated government. Thus, having conquered the presidency on the basis of his personal resources, the President finds that he lacks the instrument essential for him to exercise that office to the fullest extent, namely, a party able to link him with Congress. The difficulty of governing with a divided government was exacerbated by the end of the Cold War, because it deprived the President of a crucial reason for asserting his leadership in the institutional system. The dramatic terrorist attack of 11 September 2001 reaffirmed the need for presidential leadership, but it could not resolve the problems that had led to the institutional weakening of the presidency.

Keywords: divided government; personalization; presidential leadership; presidentialism; presidentialization; United States

Chapter.  10397 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.