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Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain how incoming and outgoing presidents peacefully transfer power
  • Describe how new presidents fill positions in the executive branch
  • Discuss how incoming presidents use their early popularity to advance larger policy solutions

It is one thing to win an election; it is quite another to govern, as many frustrated presidents have discovered. Critical to a president’s success in office is the ability to make a deft transition from the previous administration, including naming a cabinet and filling other offices. The new chief executive must also fashion an agenda, which he or she will often preview in general terms in an inaugural address. Presidents usually embark upon their presidency benefitting from their own and the nation’s renewed hope and optimism, although often unrealistic expectations set the stage for subsequent disappointment.

Transition and appointments

In the immediate aftermath of the election, the incoming and outgoing administrations work together to help facilitate the transfer of power. While the General Services Administration oversees the logistics of the process, such as office assignments, information technology, and the assignment of keys, prudent candidates typically prepare for a possible victory by appointing members of a transition team during the lead-up to the general election. The success of the team’s actions becomes apparent on inauguration day, when the transition of power takes place in what is often a seamless fashion, with people evacuating their offices (and the White House) for their successors.

Among the president-elect’s more important tasks is the selection of a cabinet. George Washington’s cabinet was made up of only four people, the attorney general and the secretaries of the Departments of War, State, and the Treasury. Currently, however, there are fifteen members of the cabinet, including the Secretaries of Labor, Agriculture, Education, and others ( [link] ). The most important members—the heads of the Departments of Defense, Justice, State, and the Treasury (echoing Washington’s original cabinet)—receive the most attention from the president, the Congress, and the media. These four departments have been referred to as the inner cabinet, while the others are called the outer cabinet. When selecting a cabinet, presidents consider ability, expertise, influence, and reputation. More recently, presidents have also tried to balance political and demographic representation (gender, race, religion, and other considerations) to produce a cabinet that is capable as well as descriptively representative, meaning that those in the cabinet look like the U.S. population (see the chapter on bureaucracy and the term “representative bureaucracy”). A recent president who explicitly stated this as his goal was Bill Clinton, who talked about an “E.G.G. strategy” for senior-level appointments, where the E stands for ethnicity, G for gender, and the second G for geography.

Questions & Answers

the first Republic political parties
Baby Reply
how call government system in Zambia
esenam Reply
was it Britain that colonialised usa
Temiloluwa Reply
what is Electoral malpractice
Bailey Reply
Clifford constitution of 1922
ABAH Reply
to this textbook which countries have the highest rates of execution?
michael Reply
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having so many levels of subnational governments in the United States? Explain
Nicole Reply
to help in protecting the right of the citizens, in safety purpose also if not many tribulation war and conflict in between the Nations and perhaps the citizens that is we really needs them.
Emmanuel
What are the advantages
maureen
what were the initial issues that led to the introduction of legislation
Benedicta Reply
Do the consideration and bill of rights protect the life and liberty of all Americans?
Benedicta
yes
Emmanuel
yeah
Akuchie
how do we answer government questions
Comfort Reply
by following all the due processes
Emmanuel
how many types of pre_ colonial political system do we have in Nigeria
Israel Reply
3
nkama
we 3 which are yoruba,hausa, Igbo
Israel
3
Ibrahim
3
Akuchie
opening day in the house. what is the speaker's first duty
Gabriel Reply
what is bill of right?
Dyutoe Reply
first 10 amendments to the Constitution
Ruthie
a bill of right in the United States,bill of right is the first tan amendment to the Constitution.
Israel
what is Electoral malpractice
Bailey
what prevented the equal rights Amendment from being ratified?
Darhel Reply
why some countries adopts written constitution
Paschal Reply
because it is documented
Comfort
what part of our government is based on parliament
SonIa Reply
what important political idea came from Thomas Hobbes
SonIa
Thomas Hobbes who is he
SonIa
English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern  political philosophy
Akuchie
he was a guy who supported a strong government, because people in their natural state are dangerous and feral, and we need an Uber government to protect us from ourselves
Connor

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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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