Compared to the chief executives of other nations, the U.S. Presidency is an unusual office – in the way Presidents are chosen, in the roles they play and the powers they have, and in the country’s (and the world’s) expectations of the president. This course will explore the origins and development of the presidency, and study its relationship to the other significant actors in U.S. politics.

We will spend roughly half our time on the presidential election process more generally. We will think about how candidates campaign, how political scientists predict and explain presidential elections, and whether the process we now use results in the best outcomes, and whether reform is desirable.  We will spend the second half of the class understanding what presidents can and can’t do, and how we – as citizens and as political scientists -- evaluate them.   

The midterm election will take place on Tuesday, November 6th.  Midterms are often seen as a referendum on the incumbent president, and we will discuss the election as it relates to the current president.