The Rise of the President's Permanent Campaign
Sales Date: August 21, 2012
216 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: August 2012
- Published: August 2012
While the presidency has always been a political office, the distinction between campaigning and governing has become increasingly blurred in recent years. Yet no one until now has documented the phenomenon of the “permanent campaign” and analyzed its impact on the executive office. In this eye-opening book, Brendan Doherty provides empirical evidence of the growing focus by American presidents on electoral concerns throughout their terms in office, clearly demonstrating that we can no longer assume that the time a president spends campaigning for reelection can be separated from the time he spends governing.
To track the evolving relationship between campaigning and governing, Doherty examines the strategic choices that presidents make and what those choices reveal about presidential priorities. He focuses on the rise in presidential fundraising and the targeting of key electoral states throughout a president’s term in office—illustrating that recent presidents have disproportionately visited those states that are important to their political prospects while largely neglecting those without electoral payoff. He also shows how decisions about electoral matters previously made by party officials are now made by voter-conscious operatives within the White House.
Doherty analyzes what these changing dynamics portend for the nature of presidential leadership, contending that while such strategies can at times strengthen a president’s hand, they can also undermine his role as a unifying national leader, heighten public cynicism, and limit prospects for bipartisan compromise. He further shows how trends in presidential fundraising undermine the conventional understanding of the predatory relationship between the president and his party.
Drawing on new systematic evidence of presidential fundraising and travel, archival research at presidential libraries, and accounts by presidents and their aides, Doherty musters a mountain of evidence to offer an objective, comprehensive argument about the causes, indicators, and implications of the rise of the permanent campaign as no previous book has done—an evenhanded account that seeks to disparage no individual president. Concise and accessible, The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign engages crucially important questions about the development of the presidency—as well as larger normative questions about what we want in a leader—as it challenges the convention in political science that has long kept most scholarship on presidential campaigns separate from the study of the presidency itself.
"It is well suited for an undergraduate class on the presidency or presidential elections, but sophisticated enough for graduate students and scholars. Its range of coverage—from presidential speeches, travel, and White House staff to campaign finance—should appeal to countless political scientists and have an enduring impact on our understanding of these important topics." —Perspectives on Politics
"In this well-written, well-researched book, Doherty marshals considerable evidence to demonstrate that modern presidents are constantly in campaign mode, and that the pressure to operate as such has intensified over the last four decades. . . . Students of the presidency should take note of this book."—Choice
". . . [N]o scholar to date has delved into the detail of what the ‘permanent campaign’ means for U.S. presidents to the degree that Doherty has done here. . . . Any scholar looking for hard evidence to support what is a widespread suspicion will welcome Doherty’s contribution."—Library Journal
"The book covers in nitty-gritty detail the particulars of how presidents raise money, how the White House has been used as a political organ (both officially and unofficially), and how the marriage of policy and politics in the Oval Office affects our democracy. The book contains its fair share of unexpected observations. . . . [It] also lends some important historical context to our current understanding of money and politics."—The Daily Beast
“Doherty has taken on an important and much-discussed subject and executed his analysis with exemplary care and skill. . . . An extremely well-polished, well-crafted book.”—Michael Nelson, editor of The Presidency and the Political System
“Concise, accessible, and well written, the book is very attractive for use in the classroom. It’s also a first-rate piece of scholarship that will be widely cited and relied upon by future scholars.”—Richard J. Ellis, author of The Development of the American Presidency
“A rewarding and valuable systematic view of how this central feature of our politics influences what presidents do and how they do it.”—George C. Edwards III, author of Governing by Campaigning
1. Presidents and the Permanent Campaign
2. The President as Fundraiser-in-Chief
3. The President as Party-Builder-in-Chief
4. Strategic Travel and the Permanent Campaign
5. The Evolving Role of White House Staff in Electoral Decision-Making
6. The Implications of the Permanent Campaign