Politicians, especially executives, regularly seek to project their influence into new policy domains. In some instances, they do so only after having secured the requisite statutory authority; in others, they intervene without prior authorization, hoping that their actions henceforth serve as precedent for future policy involvement. To investigate the conditions under which politicians pursue one strategy versus another, we study a stylized model of authority acquisition that recognizes the electoral pressures under which executives operate. We show that politicians seek authority that is both more secure and broader in scope as the public support for their policy position increases even if — indeed, precisely because — their opponent stands to benefit from this authority if elected to office. Far from tying their opponents' hands, as a number of literatures suggests, incumbents have electoral incentives to liberate them.