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What issues contribute to the "perpetual tug of war" between Congress and the president? Has this conflict heightened in recent decades? Why or why not?

Quick answer:

Any issue that does not have bipartisan support has the potential to contribute to the "perpetual tug of war" between Congress and the president, but domestic issues are likely to be particularly hard-fought. This conflict has heightened in recent decades, partly because of the increased population and power of the United States and partly because the major parties have become increasingly polarized.

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The "perpetual tug of war" between Congress and the president is part of the system of checks and balances designed by the Founding Fathers to prevent anyone from gaining dictatorial power in the United States. The Congress and the president are separately elected but share federal responsibilities, making conflict likely and, when Congress is controlled by a different party from that of the president, almost inevitable.

The issues that contribute to this perpetual tug of war are varied, since they can include any that do not have bipartisan support. However, matters that have to be decided quickly by executive power, such as going to war and other matters of foreign policy, tend to give rise to bitter rhetoric in the short term but less of a long-term struggle. It is domestic policies such as infrastructure spending and healthcare that lead to long and bitter struggles, since the president has less latitude when dealing with such issues and his policies are often blocked by Congress.

These conflicts have heightened in recent decades as the United States has grown in population and power, and its global reach has increased in a way the framers of the Constitution could never have predicted. Another reason for for heightened conflict is the increased polarization between the two major parties and their supporters, who are often so partisan in their support that they do not want their representatives to work together.

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