Two Presidencies Theory

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The President of the United States seems to wield immense power; through executive orders and bill vetoing, it often appears that the president has a disproportionate amount of influence. However, other times, the president appears limited in his influence towards policy. Aaron Wildavsky proposed a Two Presidencies theory, which proposes that the president has significant power in relation to foreign policy, but limited power in relation to domestic policy. In reality, it seems that the president has power and influence, albeit checked by different branches and entities, in all areas of government.
The head of the executive branch was meant to be greatly restricted, but has significant power nonetheless. As a check on the legislative branch
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Presidents and their staff negotiate deals with countries abroad, which the senate may then pass or reject. The senate has the power to either kill or pass treaties, the latter requiring a two-thirds majority support. However, the president often enjoys a first mover advantage, which, according to Wildavsky, gives him/her an advantage. Furthermore, if a president wishes to bypass congress in a negotiation, he/she can evade the typical process by structuring the deal as an executive agreement or by promising voluntary compliance on behalf of the United States. These two options only further the president’s foreign policy influence; however, while these options do not require approval from Congress, they can easily be undone by a president’s …show more content…
While the president is able to pass executive orders to change policy, these orders may be defunded by congress, counteracted by congressional legislation, or deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In addition, although a president is able to veto legislation, if a president continually vetoes legislation, the public may not look on him/her favorably, which would impact their electability. These factors seem to limit the president’s power greatly; however, so long as the president’s executive order is not unconstitutional, the president still wields remarkable power, as Congress would need a majority opposition in order to defund the president’s executive order. Furthermore, many of the president’s constituents could be swayed if the president were to deliver a speech concerning the necessity of his executive order. The executive branch, being the largest branch in government, requires that the president divides his power among the vice president, department heads, and heads of independent agencies in order to accomplish all of the administration’s tasks. Because the president’s requests are not always fulfilled, it may seem that the executive branch itself checks the president’s power. However, the president’s demands remain supreme in his/her branch; rebellious members of the

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