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Sun May 20, 2018, 09:19 PM

Is this our moment in political time?

Last edited Sun May 20, 2018, 10:04 PM - Edit history (1)

In his book, the Politics that Presidents Make, Stephen Skoworek outlnes an influential theory of presidential politics that postulates that presidents are made or broken based on their position in "political time" which defines what type of president he is and how successful. He looked at every presidential election since 1800 to develop this theory. He proposed 4 types of presidents:
1) Reconstructive - A president who creates a new political coalition in a regime that dominates the next few decades, ex. Roosevelt, Reagan.
2)Affiliated - A president from the reconstructive president's party who succesfully continues the regime, ex Truman, Johnson, Bush I, Bush II.
3) Preemptive - A president from the opposing party who opposes the regime with limited success - ex. Eisenhower, Clinton, Obama.
4) Dysjunctive - A president from the reconstructive president's party who comes late in the regime and unsuccessfully tries to continue the regime with modifications, ex. Hoover, Carter.

To see how this works, let's start with Carter. In 1976, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. In theory, they held all the cards. Carter tried to continue the Roosevelt regime, bringing in new environmental regulations, but also went against it by cutting other regulations and trying to cut spending. He also unsuccessfully tried to enact healthcare and energy legislation. He didn't get along well with Congress He spent most of his first two years with underwater ratings and lost seats in Congress in 1978. He was unpopular in 1978 to 80, mishandling things like the energy crisis, a bad economy and the Iran crisis. Then, of course, he barely beat back a primary challenge from Ted Kennedy and then he lost to Reagan. Reagan won in a landslide, taking over the Senate and gaining 34 seats in the house. He went on to become a reconstructive president - creating the current Republican orthodoxy of tax cuts, free trade, amnesty for immigrants, deregulation and slashing the social safety net. We've operating under these assumptions ever since. We've all lived through all or most of this era, so I don't need to tell you about it.

Let's jump ahead to Trump. In theory, Republicans hold all the cards. But they are having a hard time holding to together. Trump is trying to break with Republican orthodoxy on immigration and free trade. He's had no legislative successes except (barely) for tax cuts. He doesn't get along with Congress. His ratings are underwater. He sounds like a dysjunctive president so far. If this theory holds, then there will in fact be a blue wave, he will face a primary challenge (several Repubs have already expressed interest in this) but a new fresh-faced Democrat will overcome a crowded field and win in a landslide with new ideas that will last a generation.

That's why I think the Blue Wave is real, despite Trump's rabid base and the supposedly safe red districts. If so, it won't Mueller or his crazy tweets that do Trump in. It will just be our moment in political time.


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Reply Is this our moment in political time? (Original post)
marylandblue May 2018 OP
unblock May 2018 #1
whathehell May 2018 #2

Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Sun May 20, 2018, 09:37 PM

1. Very interesting, thanks!

Of course, Donnie would think he is a reconstructive president if he could understand such analysis.

Remains to be seen if he will be successful.

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Response to marylandblue (Original post)

Sun May 20, 2018, 09:54 PM

2. Interesting stuff

Thanks !

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