Zhuravleva Victoria
American presidents in polarized D.C.: From Barack Obama to Joe Biden
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ISSN 2658-6029

DOI 10.21638/spbu06.2021.305

In 1960 one of the leading researchers of the American Presidency, professor and an adviser to a number of US presidents Richard Neustadt formulated the iconic formula where presidential power needed to cooperate with the Congress — persuade, negotiate and compromise. But since political reality has changed so deeply, today only a God gifted negotiator is able to fulfill its power in polarized Washington, D.C. A modern day president should be a legislator and a showman rolled into one to succeed in his mission. According to the Constitution, the American legislative process is based on the consensus between all participants, while both the President and the Congress have the power of legislative initiative. It is the president who is responsible for gaining this consensus between all the initiators. In time of political polarization parties which traditionally had been the facilitators of this way to compromise became the main obstacles. From the presidential ticket to the Congress, they turned out to be the main headache of the president. Joe Biden came to White House with a reputation of being a skilled compromiser. But while it has been his advantage with the electorate, the left wing of his party strongly opposes his centrist ideology. Donald Trump named himself a brilliant deal maker, but his business experience of making deals appeared to be irrelevant in polarized D.C. Why has it turned out to be so hard to bring a consensus to today’s political process? Will Biden be able to change this trend and reunite the Nation as he promised during his inauguration?


Keywords: polarized political process | divided parties | divided electorate | presidential mandate | the power of bureaucracy | the Progressive Caucus | the Republican Study Committee |

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