Salient to Investors:

Cass R. Sunstein at Harvard writes:

  • The sheer number of executive-branch decisions increases substantially over time, increasing the likelihood that at least one of those decisions will turn out to be incorrect, inappropriate or worse.
  • As time passes, the incumbent President becomes more likely than his predecessor to be held responsible for bad outcomes, even if he or she is entirely honorable because the executive branch is huge.
  • Having been defeated twice, an angry opposing party will seek to undermine the incumbent however it can, including investigating real or apparent scandals.
  • If the House and the Senate are controlled by the president’s party, the threshold for a serious investigation is far higher.
  • A media honeymoon period is far more likely in the president’s first term than in the second.

Brendan Nyhan at Dartmouth College found that from 1977 to 2008, there was an unmistakable increase in scandals in the second term, and when the president is held in especially low regard by the opposing party, media attention is far more likely to be given to scandals, real or apparent. Nyhan said significant events that claim the nation’s attention tend to deprive real or apparent scandals of oxygen.

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