Against and Alongside the Bully Pulpit: Interbranch Messaging in a Polarized Era [SLIDES]
Abstract: The preponderance of public appeals literature focuses on the dyadic interaction between political elites—most commonly a president—and their constituents. Meanwhile, the exchange of messages between political elites—say, presidents and legislators—receive considerably less attention. This paper investigates how members of Congress intermittently buoy and block presidential efforts to rally public support for policy initiatives. I argue that legislators strategically send messages in response to presidential appeals to serve their own partisan and electoral purposes. Drawing upon a collection of House members' press releases in response to the State of the Union addresses during the Obama and Trump administrations (2013-2020), I find evidence that co-partisan legislators are almost uniformly alongside the president, while opposite party legislators are against, except the moderate and cross-pressured. These representatives, whose own partisanship is at odds with the partisanship of her constituencies, are notably less likely to respond to presidential speeches; and when they do respond, they tend to remain neutral. Additionally, a semi-supervised and keyword assisted topic model discriminates the agenda issues where different legislators respond differently and demonstrates how representatives respond presidential appeals substantively also depends upon their partisanship and whom they represent. Collectively, these findings have important implications for our understanding of public debates about the president's policy agenda and party polarization within Congress.
Shu Fu and Meg Savel. 2020. "Policy without Partisanship: The Direct Appeals of First Ladies." Presidential Studies Quarterly 50 (4): 736-761. [PDF] [Replication Data & Code]
Shu Fu and William G. Howell. 2020. "The Behavioral Consequences of Public Appeals: Evidence on Campaign Fundraising from the 2018 Congressional Elections." Presidential Studies Quarterly 50 (2): 325-347. [PDF] [Replication Data & Code]
Chuanjie Zhang and Shu Fu. 2012. "An Analysis of the Orientation of American Public Opinion toward Taiwan (美国公众涉台舆论取向分析)," World Economics and Politics 395: 91-112. [PDF]
"Against and Alongside the Bully Pulpit: Interbranch Messaging in a Polarized Era."
"Virtual Homestyle: How Congressional Members Signal Ideological Location through Twitter," with Eric Oliver.
"Presidential Partisan Particularism: A Reconsideration." [PDF]
"Effects of Elite Cues on American Foreign Policy Attitudes toward China."
Theses at Tsinghua
"Impacts of Imperial College Student Opinion on Foreign Policy Making in the Song Dynasty (宋代太学生舆论对国家战和决策的相关性分析)," 2015, advised by Chuanjie Zhang. [PDF]