The Impossible Leadership Situation? Analyzing Success for Disjunctive Presidents

Matthew Laing, Brendan MCCAFFRIE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article argues that the way we understand presidential success should be different for presidents in different contexts. It provides the first deeper exploration of success for Skowronek's “disjunctive” presidents and finds that, particularly when these presidents engage in policy experimentation, they can play an important role in preparing the way for a later reconstruction. Although the presidents of disjunction are particularly constrained, they are capable of success as long as we judge them realistically and acknowledge that they may receive little credit for their concrete achievements. We illustrate this contention through the presidencies of Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter, which exemplify the degrees of success available within the constraints of a faltering partisan regime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-276
Number of pages22
JournalPresidential Studies Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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