… The classic insight about presidential power came from the late Richard Neustadt in a book first published in 1960, in which he argued that “presidential power is the power to persuade” (an idea he attributed to Harry Truman) and identified the president’s professional reputation among Washington elites and, to a lesser extent, his standing in the public eye, as key sources of the president’s ability to influence others. Presidential power, according to Neustadt, is a process of bargaining. Successful negotiations would make subsequent successes more likely by enhancing the president’s prestige both in public and in legislative circles. Bargaining also requires understanding legislators’ incentives and being able to read public opinion, Neustadt wrote.
Under Neustadt’s definition of power, it can be hard to observe the exercise of presidential power while it’s happening, but last week’s debacle over transgender individuals serving in the military provides a pretty good illustration of how it works — and doesn’t. CONT.
Julia Azari (Marquette U.), FiveThirtyEight