There’s no need to grab your musket and move to Canada if the presidential election doesn’t go your way.
Despite the staggering amount of media coverage for the presidential election and the rhetoric being thrown around about the president being the “leader of the free world” and the “most powerful human being on Earth,” the president isn’t all that powerful. And forget about all those scary political ads; your life likely won’t change depending on who’s sitting in the Oval Office.
The Founding Fathers didn’t want another king when they established the powers of the presidency, so they considerably constrained the president’s role in case someone really crazy were to make it into the White House. Checks and balances were established to divide the power of the government into three equal parts between the president, congress and the Supreme Court. Besides being Commander in Chief over the military and having a few decision making privileges, the president’s true power comes in being a representative for the nation.
This is good news for those of us in the middle of the political spectrum who may be spooked by some of the more radical ideas thrown around this election. While the president’s positions and decisions carry influence, he or she cannot be blamed or given credit for everything that happens. The president can’t make laws or change the constitution. Even the president’s executive orders can be challenged and reversed in court.
Those running for president sometimes forget how restricted the job really is. Barack Obama made the promise to close Guantanamo Bay when he ran for president in 2008 and 2012, and although he’s put forth his best effort to do so, it hasn’t happened because he doesn’t have that kind of power. Obama’s executive order to reform immigration was also blocked by the Supreme Court in June. Even Obama’s pick for the new Supreme Court Justice was blocked by congress in March.
While his supporters mourn the gridlock that has prevented Obama from accomplishing his goals, limiting the president’s power is ultimately a good thing because it keeps too much power out of one person’s hands.
Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S. southern border and deport millions of illegal immigrants would be impossible without convincing congress and the Supreme Court to be on board for it. And even if she wanted to, Hillary Clinton as president couldn’t repeal the Second Amendment or force political correctness on everyone.
The presidential election is still important though. Whoever becomes the president will become a spokesperson for the nation to the world, a leader to make decisions in times of crisis, and an icon for people to hopefully look up to and trust. It’s imperative to vote for who you think would best represent our country, but if your choice for president doesn’t win the election, hope isn’t lost.
The nation will get another chance to re-evaluate the president in four years, and if he or she isn’t up to par in 2020, we as citizens can fire him or her with another vote. This is how democracy works. Sometimes those who lead us may not be our favorite, but they won’t be in office forever.
When the election is over, it’s over; it’s unreasonable to threaten to not accept the results of the election after votes have been counted. No matter how crazy, unhinged or corrupt you think the elected president is, it isn’t the end of the world.