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Forbes magazine’s 2015 list of the “most powerful people in the world” puts the President of the United
States of America in the number two spot, right behind the autocratic president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Yet, as we have often seen, US presidents’ domestic policy agendas are frequently unfulfilled, even when they win resounding electoral mandates and enjoy popular support. A clear example was seen when President Obama’s proposal to introduce mandatory background checks for gun buyers failed to make it through the U.S. Senate after the Sandy Hook middle school massacre. This happened even with the support of more than 80 percent of Americans and a clear majority in the Senate (54 out of 100) voting in favor of the bill. In this final exam you should craft a clearly written, well-cited, 1,000-word, proof-read essay that demonstrates your understanding of the complexity of the U.S. law-making process including the different aspects in American politics that limit the president’s law-making powers. You should use the Gun Show Background Check Act of 2013 as an example and reference point for your essay (click herefor some background information on the Act). In your essay you might want to consider the president’s actual legislative powers, the process by which bills become laws, the Senate’s special procedural rules, non-politicians’ impact on legislative process, the link (or lack thereof) between popular opinion and Senators’ votes, etc. Remember, we are not interested in your normative views on the relative merits or the appropriateness of the gun show background checks legislation; instead, you need to demonstrate your understanding of how the U.S. political system actually functions and how the president’s ability to pursue and implement his legislative agenda can be diminished, blocked, or undermined, even when the legislation is overwhelmingly popular and his party controls the Senate. Be sure to use proper APA or MLA citation style and include in-text citations (with page numbers) of any information used that is not common knowledge. Include a properly formatted works cited list at the end of the essay (this is not part of the 1,000 word limit). This is an open book exam and there are numerous links contained on this page that you can reference. You must use at least three different, reliable sources to support your paper’s claims.

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