How do presidents pursue outreach and expand the base of their party coalitions? My answer is through a combination of symbolic and substantive actions. Although the congressional literature on representation of racial minorities has dealt extensively with the meaning of substantive and symbolic representation, the presidency literature is not nearly as comprehensive. My work attempts to begin filling this gap by defining what constitutes symbolic and substantive actions in presidential outreach, and by exploring the significance of these actions. I contend that there are four types of actions: Unilateral-Symbolic, Unilateral-Substantive, Bilateral-Symbolic and Bilateral-Substantive. My research suggests that in order for a president to attract a social group to a party coalition, overall symbolic actions play as key a role as substantive ones. Indeed, symbolic actions will almost invariably precede substantive ones because they help to establish a bond of trust between the president and the social group. The present study examines the historical context and meaning of presidential outreach by surveying current scholarship and building a theoretical framework that is then applied to the administration of George W. Bush. This research points to the power—and limitations—of presidential outreach and makes a major contribution by building a framework that can be used to compare presidential outreach through time.
|Advisor:||Mayhew, David R.|
|School Location:||United States -- Connecticut|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Black studies, Political science, Ethnic studies, Hispanic American studies|
|Keywords:||African-American, Bush, George W., FDR, Latinos, Outreach, Party coalitions, President, Presidential outreach, Roosevelt, Franklin D.|
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