Ronald Reagan was shot just a few months after his inauguration in 1981, by a disturbed young man trying to impress a Hollywood star. In a closely divided nation, most presidents hope to locate the sweet spot of broad agreement on major policies; it isn’t easy to govern with the support of half the nation and the opposition of the other half. Barack Obama began his presidency with an effort to be “post-partisan.” The state or national party organization often finds itself in the difficult position of trying to convince an attractive but reluctant prospect to run for a governorship, or urging an eager candidate not to oppose a party favorite in a primary. The most direct link between presidential success and party victories has been explained by the metaphor of coattails. Congress members are clearly aware of the close connection between the president’s popularity and their own reelection prospects.