Presidential Transitions

James P. Pfiffner

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238859
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Presidential Transitions

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This article begins by exploring the development and increasing complexity of the transition of the presidency in the second half of the twentieth century. It also explores the key elements that influence successful transition and suggests questions that future scholars might address. The keys to a successful transition entail mastering the following elements: early planning, White House staff, cabinet, presidential personnel, media relations, the policy agenda, and finally the overall shift from campaigning to governing. The article then provides possible directions for future scholars. Transition research suffers from some inherent drawbacks. The best scholarship on presidential transitions has exploited primary sources in some depth. Personnel recruitment presents a major organizational challenge in every transition. The fundamentals of presidential transitions have been analyzed in a rich, scholarly literature. Perhaps the broadest and most important questions that future scholars can address concern how transitions affect governance.

Keywords: presidential transitions; scholarship; White House staff; cabinet; presidential personnel; media relations; policy agenda; campaigning; governing

Article.  10561 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Public Administration

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