Institutional interaction between the executive and legislative branches is of the essence to American politics. This dissertation project offers a rich assessment on the intersection of presidential and congressional politics. A president's task is to persuade Congress that his agenda should also be Congress's agenda. To effectively lead Congress, a president must have highly developed political skills, especially communication strategies; and must take a broad and universalistic outlook to set a policy agenda that maximizes the national welfare. This dissertation focuses on both communication and orientation at the intersection of presidential and congressional politics. The first component of the project investigates interbranch messaging---how presidents and legislators communicate with each other. Using public appeals such as the State of the Union addresses, presidents directly speak to the public in order to shape the legislative focus in Congress. Yet scant attention has been given to how presidential public appeals are responded by partisan lawmakers. In this essay, I use text-as-data methods to analyze a new collection of House members' press releases during the Obama and Trump administrations (2013-2020), to investigate how legislators intermittently buoy and block presidential efforts to rally public support for policy initiatives. I find that the public discourse is dominated by extremists, while moderates tend to keep silent or stay neutral. Furthermore, in response to presidential appeals, there is homogeneity among co-partisans and noticeable heterogeneity among out-partisans. Lastly, Republicans are different from Democrats in the content of response and in the way they engage with the president's rhetoric. The second part of the dissertation further assesses the behavioral consequences of interbranch messaging---how legislators comment on the president meaningfully bear upon their fundraising. Whereas the preponderance of studies on public appeals evaluates their impacts on mass public opinion, I investigate behavioral responses---in particular, the willingness of donors to contribute to candidates for public office. What Republican candidates for Congress say about Trump, I find, bears significantly on their ability to raise money. In the immediate aftermath of complimenting the president, Republicans secured a modest increase in fundraising; when they criticized him, however, they promptly suffered a substantial decline. I do not observe comparable evidence for Democratic candidates. Beyond what presidents and legislators communicate to each other, the third essay discusses the policies presidents and Congress actually implement. As another source of conflict at the intersection of executive and legislative politics, I evaluate whether or not presidents and legislators, by virtue of sitting in the government, have fundamentally different outlooks on policy. Rather than faithful stewards of national objectives, scholars claim, presidents display distinctly "particularistic" tendencies because their core constituencies regularly receive a disproportionate share of federal outlays. This paper reconsiders the interpretation of this empirical finding. This paper shows that the underlying patterns of partisan targeting do not accord with standard accounts of party building activities nor electoral considerations. Rather, this paper proposes and empirically tests an alternative interpretation---presidents' ideological considerations may better explain the main finding that undergirds claims about presidential partisan particularism.




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