Samuel Kernell's Theory Of Going Public

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Since its institution in 1938, the minimum wage has divided politicians on whether or not it ought to change or remain the same. Democrats favor raising the wage, while Republicans prefer it to remain unchanged by the government. A president looking at the current situation must understand the fundamentals of the wage; then, to impact the debate, a president ought to utilize “going public” as the main tool for his policy strategy. Employers in the United States must legally pay their covered (i.e. non-tipped and non-agricultural) hourly employees a minimum level. Since July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 per hour, as the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 mandates (Department of Labor [DOL]). Prior to this most recent …show more content…
The most significant way for the president-elect to introduce his stance would be through Samuel Kernell’s theory of going public. Kernell argues that a president going public - his widely known and widespread support of discrediting of a policy - has major impact in moving and making policy. By going public, a president encourages the public in part to “tell your senators and representatives by phone, wire, and Mailgram that the future hangs in balance” (Kernell 2). The president attempts to persuade the public on his position, its attractiveness, and the impact that citizens can have on the issue. Ultimately, the president is using the public as a pawn in his game to detract federal intervention and delegate the issue instead to states. In the process, “president seeks the aid of a third party - the public - to force other politicians to accept his preferences” (2). The president appeals directly to the public to then force Congress to act as the president wants. Going public plays a larger role in a polarized government when bargaining power is …show more content…
When going public, the president elicits help from the largest part of the American democracy - the public. This portion of the political playing field can substantially impact the minimum wage debate by responding to the president’s policy stance and articulating stances to their politicians. In fact, presidential success in going public and convincing the public to express concern to politicians about the minimum wage directly combats polarization and gridlock. Politicians who disagree with the president “[suffer] the reproach of constituents for having resisted him in the first place” (2). Dissenting politicians also risk the image that they do not “reflect the interests of constituents” (4) if they do not follow along with constituents’ positions. Thus, politicians are cornered by constituents and prompted to act or revert their position on the minimum wage; if they do not, they will face backlash from constituents. The increased success of going public is also apparent in the increase of presidential speech and travel over time, stemming from the public’s role in swaying issues and presidents realizing that power

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