Abstract and Keywords
This article explores the troubled relationship between the presidency and the political parties. The modern presidency became part of the living constitution as the guardian of new rights. Ronald Reagan was the first modern president to pose fundamental challenges to received government arrangements, a stance that required the support of a national, programmatic Republican Party. His efforts to square the institution of the modern presidency with the demands of party leadership were only partially successful. The challenge of remaking American politics ex cathedra would be cast in further relief during the presidency of George W. Bush. Bush's unprecedented efforts to strengthen the national Republican organization demonstrated the enormous potential of the modern presidency as an instrument of party building. Barack Obama's organizational efforts were modeled after the techniques that Republicans had pioneered.
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