The bully pulpit

The 'bully pulpit'

Case Study Gun Control Obama uses the bully pulpit

The term 'bully pulpit' was first coined by Teddy Roosevelt and is recognition of the president's ability to use the status and power of his office to frame the debate and pressure members of Congress via their constituents. The president can exploit the fact that whatever he does is newsworthy and will generate media coverage. The bully pulpit can be used in a number of ways: for example, a straightforward televised national address, or the president can take his message 'on the road' through a series of highly publicised local town hall meetings.

In his book Presidential Power, Neustadt (1990) explains how the current government structure creates an environment where persuasion is necessary. Since the federal system requires different institutions to share delegated power, the president can use his executive power to persuade the legislature to use their legislative power in a way that both sides benefit. Presidents use this power to create coalitions or alliances to pass legislation that that group wants.

Colleen Shogan (Shogan, C. J. (2007). Anti-intellectualism in the modern presidency: A Republican populism. Perspectives on Politics, 5(2), 295-303.) explains a major aspect of modern American Politics that she calls Anti-intellectualism. Anti-intellectualism is a dominant feature in American politics since at least Ronald Reagan, typically found in Republican majority states but not exclusively.

For example, Trump’s supposed aversion to reading and his administration's purge of academics from government institutions. His campaign also excelled on spectacle in place of in depth policy discussion. So are Trump's tweets a new form of bully pulpit?