Although it is often said that the President of the United States holds the most powerful office in the world, this does not mean that he is able to decide very much for himself. The American Constitution, which was adapted in 1789, clearly states the Separation of Powers. Thus, the president makes up only one third of the government, namely the executive branch. He is also controlled by a complex system of checks and balances, which makes sure that he (or any of the other branches, for that matter) does not become too powerful. We will now have a look at the different problems which may be facing a recently elected president, and then discuss to what extent his powers are important.
The first and foremost problem is that the president does not necessarily have a majority in Congress behind him. As the American system of government is non-parliamentary, the president is elected by the people, not by Congress, Thus there may very well be, as there is at the moment, a Democrat as president, with a Republican majority in Congress. The president will then have to do a lot of negotiation and adaptation, to be able to get new laws through Congress. He will not be able to follow the politics entirely of his own liking.
But even if the president is supported by a majority in Congress, this does not mean that everything is necessarily fine. Since there are only two important parties in the USA, the representatives from each group make up a far from homogenous mass. Conservative Democrats may very well support the Republicans in many cases, and liberal Republicans may support the Democrats. President Clinton experienced the trouble connected to this in the years 1993-94, when he faced a Democrat, but nevertheless relu...
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...e power of the President (sic)is great if he can use it; but it is a moral power, a power activated by persuasion and discussion." The president will always have to co-operate in order to achieve something. If conflicts arise between him and Congress, for example, trouble is in the horizon. This happened in 1995, when President Clinton refused to sign the national budget proposed by Congress. The entire government came to a stand still for a couple of weeks, and then Congress had to back off. They were not strong enough to override Clinton's veto (they would have needed a 2/3 majority). And of course, as already mentioned, the president exercises an immense influence on political life. Therefore, despite all the elements which may pester his existence, the president could rightly be called the most powerful man of the US, and thus, in today's situation, of the world.
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