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  • Edexcel: Component 3.4: Interpretations of the US presidency

  • AQA: Component The executive branch of government: President

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Biden tries to renew an ailing presidency

See also this article for more detail:

Joe Biden forced on to the defensive ahead of tough midterms challenge

Background: what you need to know

The article covers Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, an annual speech in which the president reports on current issues and sets out policy goals. It argues that, given the existence of bipartisan support for strong action against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, foreign policy may be the field where Biden can reassert his authority after an uneven first year in office.

The article reviews some of the other challenges that Biden faces on domestic policy, such as law and order, inflation and possible opposition to his nominee for the recent vacancy on the Supreme Court. These all threaten the Democrats’ hold on Congress in the coming midterm elections.

Click to read the article below and then, depending on the examination board you are following, answer one of the questions:

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three limitations on the power of the US president. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the US president is more powerful in foreign policy than in domestic policy.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: There is some truth in the claim that the US president is better placed to appear dominant in foreign policy, as domestic policy involves multiple compromises with Congress and with various interest groups. However, a foreign policy failure can seriously damage a president’s authority. It has been argued that Joe Biden’s alleged mishandling of the retreat from Afghanistan emboldened President Putin to challenge NATO in the current Ukraine crisis.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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