Why Presidential Leadership Doesn’t Work Very Well

Via John Sides, an impressive piece of social science looks at partisan polarization in views of Godfather’s Pizza:

One of the biggest mistakes people make in thinking about politics is overlooking this kind of thing. People have very strong and largely fixed views about the political parties and their major leaders. When a partisan politicians starts talking about something loudly, he doesn’t really persuade anyone. If people pay attention at all, what happens is that he causes opinion to become organized along the main axis of partisan conflict the way you can use a magnet to make all the iron filings line up in a certain way. If there’s an issue you’d like to see progress on, your best hope by far is for two relatively obscure members of congress from opposite sides to reach an agreement, then persuade a bunch of their colleagues, and then unveil the proposal as a big bipartisan initiative. People love bipartisanship.