While at that time both parties had moved well beyond

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among the most important. While at that time both parties had moved well beyond the control of party elites meeting in the proverbial “smoked filled rooms” to determine their presidential nominees, local and state politicians prior to 1972 still had a large say at the national nominating conventions. Since 1972 the parties have democratized the nominating process so that voters can now express their preferences in state presidential primaries or in state party caucuses. Suffice it to say, this “reform” only serves to strengthen the claim initially made by Jackson that the president is the only true representative of all the people. At the same time, because of the their diminished role in presidential politics, the state and local party organizations are weakened which further solidifies the president’s position as party leader. In fact, the decline of the parties at the local level, with the attendant rise of presidential leadership, follows upon Roosevelt’s New Deal and the assumption by the national government of welfare functions that had previously rendered local party “machines” so viable. Beyond this, of course, and quite apart from his status within his party, the president, largely because he speaks with a single tongue, is far more effective than Congress in utilizing the mass media to advantage. These new avenues have allowed presidents, perhaps to a degree that even Wilson could not envisage, to give “direction to opinion” and speak for “the real sentiment and purpose of the country.” 47 3.2. Congress and the Growth of Presidential Powers Hamilton feared that presidents, intimidated by the “superior weight and influence of the legislative body,” would use their veto powers too sparingly. In his opinion, “there would be greater danger of his not using his power when 46. War has contributed, in some instances, to rendering a president “strong.” For the most part, those presidents who have widened executive powers, advocated centralization of authority in the national government, and who have lead or challenged Congress are described as “strong.” 47. Congressional Government , 68. 277
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