Political Science 187
Is the presidency an office of great power or an empty vessel that takes the shape of
the person who fills it? Republican candidates Donald Trump and John Kasich go head-to-head in the 2016 presidential election and both have substantially different political experience, but relatively similar opinions on the role of the president, which is to demonstrate power. However, due to Trump’s and Kasich’s political background and involvement, there are clear differences that make them unique in the coming election. Trump’s view aligns with the idea of a potent presidency in which the Constitution grants the executive office with all the power necessary; whereas Kasich’s view aligns with Richard E. Neustadt who believes presidential power is the power to persuade, not to command. Thus one is seen as a unitary office and the other as one that requires cooperation.
There are multiple visions of the presidency and both Trump and Kasich want to instill transformations that are natural or logical in evolution of the constitutional regime established by the framers (Developing Nations, Ellis 17). According to Trump, government responsibilities have increased which implies that the president is expected to do more since he claims, “We need a toughness. We need strength. We’re not respected...as a nation anymore.” Trump intends to build the nation a backbone - starting with the presidency. Therefore, Trump’s interpretation is that the Constitution is designed to empower the presidency so that it would provide the energy that the other branches of government lacked. Trump’s background correlates with this interpretation of the executive office because...
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...mself and his company and advocates for a strong national government in which America builds itself back up before entangling itself in foreign matters. In contrast, Kasich wants to “return both on domestic and international affairs.” Trump is used to giving orders and demands as a top businessman, whereas Kasich has cooperated with others within the government sector. Also, Trump highly distrusts previous actions by presidents and views their position as weak; therefore, Trump looks to add more power to the role. Kasich seeks to add strength to the presidency, but doesn’t show signs of intimidation. In sum, Trump supports a presidency in which he has unitary control to restore the nation due to his experience as CEO of his company; in contrast to Kasich who advocates for cooperation due to his experience of working with the government to balance the budget deficit.
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