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Delivering the People's MessageThe Changing Politics of the Presidential Mandate$
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Julia R. Azari

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452246

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452246.001.0001

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What an Election Is All About

What an Election Is All About

Reagan, Bush, Obama, and the Age of Mandates

(p.135) Chapter 5 What an Election Is All About
Delivering the People's Message

Julia R. Azari

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the partisan era mandate rhetoric, examining the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Mandate rhetoric in this period is characterized by a different approach to party and ideology. Compared with presidents of the modern era, partisan era presidents have been less likely to refer to party platforms. However, their mandate rhetoric has been more likely to invoke partisanship and ideology in other ways: references to a specific policy associated with a distinct ideological viewpoint, as in Bush's 2005 mandate claims for privatizing Social Security; unfavorable comparisons with the previous administration, as in Reagan's mandate claims invoking economic change, Bill Clinton's references to change, and Obama's insistence that the electorate had “rejected” Republican ideas; and outright arguments that policy positions had been the reasons behind their election victories.

Keywords:   partisan era, mandate rhetoric, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, partisanship

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