Electoral Orders of the American Presidency

ElectoralOrders of the American Presidency

TheAmerican Presidency is one of the most fundamental offices in thecontemporary human society. Being at the epitome of the executive armof the government, this political office is often a representation ofthe dreams and aspirations of the United States populace. Ofparticular note is the fact that each president functions under acompletely different set of rules from those of his predecessors,given the distinctive and dynamic challenges accompanying each of thepresidencies. According to Waterman, the American presidency may becategorized into four electoral orders.

First,there is the “Move Towards Contentious Campaigns”. This ischaracterized by a deficiency of rules and regulations pertaining tothe manner in which the president would be selected, the expectedduration pertaining to the presidential elections, who would be incharge of them or even how the elections were to proceed. A case inpoint would be the election of the first president George Washington,which incorporated not presidential campaign or even an announcementby any president on the intention to run for the seat rather thereexisted a general consensus that Washington should be the presidentirrespective of his disdain for political ambition.

Thesecond electoral order is referred to as Party Control from1828-2892. This order had political parties dominating the nominationof the president through political conventions. On the same note, theparties gained control of the partisan press hereby giving them thecapacity to pass the message directly to the voters. A case in pointwas the election of Andrew Jackson, who was the first president tomake a direct appeal to voters, as well as build a sophisticatedcampaign apparatus that rendered the national conventions andcongressional caucus nomination unnecessary. The third electoralorder is termed as “Out of the Shadow of Parties. In this regard,the techniques that the candidates use to endear themselves to theelectorate would be useful in promoting the personal politicalagenda, generate personal support, as well as establish rhetoricalskills that may be useful in the future if they chose to compete(Waterman 207). This was particularly seen in the case of WilliamHenry Harrison who, as Whig Party candidate made several speeches forhis candidacy, thereby appealing directly to the masses. This isstill seen in the electoral process in the contemporary human societywhere candidates are required to make speeches in front of masses ina bid to sway them. The Fourth Electoral Order is termed as the PostPartisan Era, where presidential candidates not only made use of theextended presidential primaries and autonomous politicalorganizations but also used televisions that changed the face of thepresidential politics (Waterman 212). This is where President Obamafalls, as it was common for properly crafted messages to be aired onTV, so as to complement the primaries and political parties.Evidently, the fourth order politics are a reflection of “image iseverything” particularly considering that the success of anindividual in them was dependent on the manner in which the candidatepresents himself to the public. Indeed, the candidate must have thecapacity to create an image of approachability and knowledge of thetribulations of the common people, as well as appear capable ofsolving the problems (MacKuenandRabinowitz98). This is the case for President Obama, whose eloquence andoratorical skills endeared him to the people, just as did theprimaries and the television ads that had the “Yes We Can”slogan. However, this fourth order of presidency comes with someloopholes as it is common for candidates to take up the mantle asactors, demonstrate the eloquence and offer unattainable solutionsall in an effort to get elected, only for them to renege on them(Diamondand Plattner34).


Diamond,Larry J, and Marc F. Plattner.&nbspElectoralSystems and Democracy.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2006. Print.

MacKuen,Michael, and George Rabinowitz.&nbspElectoralDemocracy.Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003. Print.

Waterman,Richard W.&nbspTheChanging American Presidency: New Perspectives on Presidential Power.Cincinnati, Ohio: Atomic Dog Pub, 2003. Print.

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