Going Partisan: Presidential Leadership in a Polarized Political Environment

Debate persists about whether or not presidents lead public opinion, how they do it and the effect it has on Congressional voting behavior. In this paper, Brandon Rottinghaus articulates and finds support for an alternative strategy to the “going public” presidential leadership tactic. With the United States currently experiencing a hyper-polarized political environment, he argues that the president’s goal in “going partisan” is to directly mobilize local partisans and leaning partisans and indirectly engender greater party support of the president’s party within Congress. CONT.

Brookings Institution