© Al Drago/Bloomberg

This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.


  • AQA Component The executive branch of government: President: sources of presidential power and constraints on president’s ability to exercise those powers

  • Edexcel Component 3.3.2 Limitations on presidential power and why this varies between presidents

Background: what you need to know

The article provides a useful interim assessment of Joe Biden’s record as president and looks ahead to the 2024 election. Despite his age, he intends to be the Democratic Party candidate. There is a real possibility of a rerun of the 2020 contest with Donald Trump still expected to run as the Republican candidate.

Use the article to draw up a ‘SWOT’ analysis of Biden as he heads towards the election. Age is of course his biggest drawback — are there any others? What advantages does he possess?

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Joe Biden’s high-stakes election gamble

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three factors that may affect a US president’s prospects of re-election. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3

  • Evaluate the view that the most important limitation on the US President’s power is the election cycle. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: Think of other potential constraints on a president’s power. In a first term, the president faces the demands of securing re-election. But there are other factors that may affect presidential power, such as constitutional limitations, the possibility of losing one or both houses of Congress at midterm elections, the impact of adverse economic events or challenges in foreign affairs.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article