POLI 4341 Final Draft


Revision and Hypothesis Generation.  The student must revise the earlier sections of the portfolio in accordance with criticism of that work.  In addition, the student must solve the model and prove that it leads to at least three testable hypotheses.  Meeting this milestone is worth up to 100 points, depending on the quality of the work. 
Final Draft. The student must revise the earlier sections of the portfolio in accordance with criticism of that work and complete the process of generating a self-contained formal model and critical commentary on that model.  The final product is worth 150 points.1
Presidential Leadership and Going Public on Policy Proposals
Joshua Calcano Rivera
Texas A&M Central-Texas
POLI 4395
Dr. Dixon
29 March 2023
The puzzle is unraveling why presidents go public with policy proposals. Moreover,
modern presidents tend to go public with policy proposals as a preeminent governing strategy. For
this reason, when presidents go public with these proposals, it is an effort to sway the actions,
decisions, and views of others via speech and other public activities (Matthew 2016). According
to multiple rhetorical presidency scholars, speeches have been used to voice these policy proposals
since the dawn of American democracy. For this reason, leadership strategies revolve around the
modern presidency, where advancements in communication technology, and the reconstitution of
policymaking institutions have driven presidents to go public with policy proposals (Matthew
The puzzle holds practical and interdisciplinary importance. First, ideas and policy research
reveal new insights into policymaking by changing how the public conceptualizes issues and
frames problems. On the same note, the study changes people’s perception of critical elements in
important situations (Matthew 2016). Secondly, analysis of presidential policy proposals helps the
public to understand economic, social, and political conditions changes, and how these proposals
must evolve to meet the needs of the changing society (Rudalevige, 2002). Finally, the policy
proposals are critical in transforming social and political conditions and, thus, actual community
development. In this case, the people’s minds and attitudes are transformed and saved from
repeated efforts (Matthew 2016).
Research Question and Thesis Statement
Thesis Statement: The issue of when the president should go public with these policy
proposals is hinged on successful leadership strategies. According to Canes-Wrone (2001), we can
assess the president’s achievement in guiding the public in multiple ways. Research focusing on
the most difficult task, such as presidential leadership on public opinion policies, is important in
political life (Matthew 2016). For this reason, the presidents may engage and activate public
opinion on policy proposals without the need to overcome existing predispositions and thus change
the public’s preferred policy proposal (Rudalevige, 2002).
The topic captivates by knowing what motivates the president to go public with
government policy proposals (Canes-Wrone 2001). Moreover, presidents have successfully used
their public speeches to drive these proposals. In the same spirit, they often rely on a public forum
to drive policy goals (Matthew 2016). Therefore, research centering on when they go public with
the policy proposals may explain the rationale behind this strategy.
Research Question
The study seeks to answer why presidents go public with these policy proposals.
Dependent variables on the research/theories
The dependent variables in this research include proposal popularity, the support of the
public for the policy proposals, and the ability to pressure Congress to act on these policy
Knowledge of the theories used
This research draws from several theories, including the rational actor theory, which posits
that the president is rational and seeks to achieve their policy goals. It also draws from the agendasetting theory, which proposes that the media can shape politics by determining the most relevant
issues and including them in prime-time news. Finally, the formal simultaneous equation model
regresses presidential budgetary success on the president’s public appeals and other variables.
The rational actor theory assumptions are that members are likely to prefer legislation
reflecting on public preferences when an issue is salient publicly. Also, the more an issue’s salience
increases, the more Congress becomes responsive to publicity and less influenced by other political
variables. For the Simultaneous model, one of the assumptions is directly measuring endogenous
and exogenous variables. Also, exogenous variables must be included in each equation unless their
exclusion is justified as a standard variable in the model. Finally, there are no measurement errors
on exogenous and endogenous variables.
Knowledge gained
This research seeks to investigate why presidents go public with policy proposals. The
findings explain why presidents go public to gain support for their policies, pressure Congress to
act on specific policy proposals that set agendas for national conversations and earn respect and
cooperation from the public and colleagues. The study will unravel why presidents are more likely
to publicize popular policy proposals. That proposal’s popularity is equated with the percentage of
respondents likely to agree with the president on budget policy proposals.
Shortcomings/Criticisms: One of the areas for improvement of this research is that it
focuses mainly on the president’s perspective and needs to consider the views of other political
actors, such as Congress and interest groups. Additionally, the research does not consider the
influence of external factors, such as the economic situation and foreign policy concerns, on the
decision of presidents to go public with policy proposals. Finally, the research is limited because
it relies on small sample size and is thus generalizable in other contexts.
Article Review: The President’s Legislative Influence from Public Appeals.
According to Canes-Wrone (2001), presidents achieve policy influence from public
appeals. He further explains and expounds the theoretical perspective on when the president seeks
public appeal for the policy proposals and the influence of this action (Canes-Wrone 2001). The
theoretical approach assumes that the president is a rational actor with policy proposal goals. One
of the dependent variables that can solve the puzzle is the proposal popularity, while the
independent variable used is the presidential budgetary process (Canes-Wrone 2001). The proposal
popularity variable is equated with the percentage of respondents that likely agree with the
president’s budget policy proposals. The results confirm the proposal popularity hypothesis that
predicts that presidents will more likely publicize popular policy proposals; otherwise, they will
not be adopted (Canes-Wrone 2001).
Haynes (2020) affirms that presidents go public with their policies to gain support. By
revealing their proposals to the people through press conferences or political campaigns, presidents
aspire to garner public support for their policies. If a majority of public members are behind a
policy, the chances that it will be successful are quite high, and this is the case for most world
governments (Haynes 2020). The reason why this is the case is that a majority of world
governments idealize democracy, and no matter how much opposition a president is facing from
Congress or the opposition parties, the support of the public is a mark of quality on the potency of
any bill to become a good law (Haynes 2020). Support or numbers are important for any
presidential candidate because they determine whether they will pass to lead on Capitol Hill or
remain as runners-up. In addition, numbers are important for any sitting president proposing a
particular string of policies because they determine whether they will remain incumbent or be
impeached (Haynes 2020). In that case, presidents have learned over time that it is best to be vocal
and garner support to drive their policies instead of remaining silent.
“The President’s Strategic Circumstance” is aligned with highlighting the impact of a
divided government on the ability of a president to realize policy goals. Cox and Kernell (2019)
argue that the moment the incumbent party does not have Congressional control, the strategic
circumstances of the presidency alternate, and their approach to governing has to be adjusted. Cox
and Kernell (2019) affirm that another significant reason presidents go public with their policies
is to pressure Congress. On many occasions, Congress may delay passing legislation because of
differences in political party interests. For example, Republicans, unlike the Democrats, are not
very fluid on the issues of LGBTQ+. Therefore, if President Joe Biden were to come up with a
new policy that adds to the freedoms of the community, Republican politicians on Capitol Hill
may do everything in their power to make the bill look bad and delay its passing into law (Andrew
2002). Traditionally, through pressurizing Congress to be active on their proposals, presidents are
always looking to move legislation forward. The reasoning here is that if the public is behind a
policy, all the members of Congress (irrespective of their political affiliation) are more likely to
give it support. In fact, before rallying support for any policy in Congress, presidents first look for
public support. When there is an assurance that the public is behind a particular policy, the
president is guaranteed that any politician (Democrat or Republican) who does not support the
policy in question will face pressure from the public and possibly be denied an opportunity to run
or win subsequent elections (Andrew 2002).
Vaznonytė (2020), even though largely addressing matters of international politics, posits
that through announcements of policy proposals, presidents can set agendas for national
conversations. In addition, policy announcements are important in focusing on matters that a
president thinks are most important. In the eyes of the public and colleagues, formulating sound
policies with deductions defined by many supportive premises is a surefire way of telling that a
“thinking president” is in power. In other words, the announcement of socially, economically, and
politically sound policies is important in earning the president’s respect and guaranteeing them
cooperation. Vaznonytė (2020) also added that the political realm affirms the postulations of the
agenda-setting theory. As a widely accepted school of thought, the agenda-setting theory proposes
that media houses help shape politics by determining the most relevant issues and including them
in prime-time news. To that effect, any incumbent president that collaborates with the media to
portray them as an individual who is serious about life is bound to get a tremendous amount of
support. It is, therefore, paramount that any person running for the presidency realizes that the
media has the most power when it comes to selecting the most appropriate news stories to report
and prioritize on the grounds of what is perceived to be the cares of the public.
Presidents also go public with their policy proposals to signal what they prioritize for a
given power (Stephen, Jeff, and Rebecca 2019). By emphasizing particular policy proposals over
others, the president will be able to signal the entirety of their priorities to the public and other
lawmakers in Congress. Therefore, showing what they prioritize is important because it helps to
neutralize the influence other traditional gatekeepers of information (e.g., Congress and the
bureaucracy) have on the public. The general benefit of getting priorities right is helping presidents
to put themselves in the position of a primary authority on a specific matter and to frame the
public’s understanding of said matter in a manner that is congruent to preferences in the policy.
Largely, going public with policy proposals is relevant for presidents to align their policy
objectives and shape public opinion issues (Stephen, Jeff, and Rebecca 2019).
Most importantly, these results demonstrated by research should be understood to mean
that the president can go public with any policy proposal and achieve success. The author also
adds that the theoretical approach predicts that the option to go public is endogenous to the
budgetary process.
Simultaneous Equation Model
The model regresses presidential budgetary success on the president’s public appeals and
other variables. The theoretical view indicates that a president’s decision to go public with a certain
policy should be a function of anticipated success and other variables (Canes-Wrone 2001). As a
result, empirical analysis requires a formal simultaneous model which illustrates the endogenous
relationship between the presidential budgetary process and public appeals. Based on previous
studies, budget legislation is a conscious decision by Congress and the president (Canes-Wrone
2001). Therefore, the degree of influence by the president’s ongoing public can generate appeals
on budgetary programs reflecting the president’s influence over legislated appropriation (CanesWrone 2001). The simultaneous equation for each agency i in year t comprises the following:
Whereby it and uit are normally distributed without error terms.
The empirical assessment, therefore, applies a simultaneous equation model where
presidential budgetary success and presidential public appeals are endogenic to each other. This
model evaluates the influence, difficult issue hypothesis, and proposal popularity that represents a
set of control variables that are subsequently defined (Canes-Wrone 2001). Specifically, the model
equation (1) captures the influence hypothesis through regression of the president’s budgetary
success on the decision by the president to go public on a specific issue. On the other hand, the
difficult issue hypothesis and proposal popularity are captured in equation (2) which describes
public appeals as a function of the president’s decision to go public and anticipated budget success
(Canes-Wrone 2001).
Non-Standard Assumptions
The simultaneous equation model encompasses some of the assumptions. One of the
assumptions is directly measuring endogenous and exogenous variables. Also, exogenous
variables must be included in each equation unless their exclusion is justified as a standard variable
in the model. Finally, there are no measurement errors on exogenous and endogenous variables.
Non-Standard Terms in the Model
Public appeal: The model includes a document review of all presidential addresses that were
televised nationally over the years during fiscal appropriation years.
Proposal Popularity encompasses the responses collected from the survey question, especially
the proportion of respondents agreeing with the president’s proposal.
Agency size: This variable is equated to appropriations in the fiscal years before final discretionary
A Unified government: This aspect specifies the presidential budgetary success and thus
illustrates equality when both members are from the same party as the president.
Control Variables: The model incorporates multiple control variables that affect the president’s
influence over budget appropriation. Such variables include personal popularity, prior issue
salience, priority, targeted address, the start of the term, and others.
Lessons Learned From Research and Formal Model
There are myriad lessons learned from research and formal model. Firstly, the study helps
understand critical ways presidents address policy frameworks. In this case, the president may go
public on a policy that may face backlash from legislators. The research also allows a new
dimension of thinking on public policy. Additionally, policies driven by presidents incorporate a
collection of individual preferences of the society members. The formal model reveals that
presidents mostly likely publicize popular issues, and unpopular subjects are never public. Finally,
the model motivates prospective researchers to understand how the president’s influence has
Based on the findings from the simultaneous-equations model, contemporary presidents
wield a considerable degree of systematic influence on policy proposals. Therefore, it is an
intriguing result that raises further questions about the extent of presidential power and its
implications for policymaking. As such, future research must delve deeper into this issue to
determine the precise magnitude of presidential influence on policy proposals. Canes-Wrone
(2001) suggests much can be learned in this area and that additional research could shed light on
the underlying mechanisms enabling presidents to shape policy outcomes significantly.
Andrew, Rudalevige. 2002. Managing the President’s Program: Presidential Leadership and
Legislative Policy Formulation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Canes-Wrone, Brandice. 2001. “The President’s Legislative Influence from Public
Appeals.” American Journal of political science 45(2): 313.
Cox, Gary, and Samuel Kernell. 2019. The Politics of Divided Government. Eds. Gary W. Cox
and Samuel Kernell. Routledge.
Haynes, Danielle. 2020. Presidential Nominations. New York, NY: PowerKids Press.
Matthew, Eshbaugh-Soha. 2016. Going Public and Presidential Leadership. Oxford Research
Encyclopedia of Politics. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.57
Stephen, Collins, Dewitt Jeff, and Lefebvre Rebecca. 2019. “Hashtag Diplomacy: Twitter as a
Tool for Engaging in Public Diplomacy and Promoting US Foreign Policy.” Place
Branding and Public Diplomacy 3(15): 45–47.
Vaznonytė, Austė. 2020. “The Rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU – Still an AgendaSetter?” European Union Politics 21(3): 497–518.

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