Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: Presidential Obsession is a Disease

By • December 8, 2020

Republican voters are rightly disappointed and concerned about the apparent outcome of the recent presidential election. Millions of Americans voted for the less desirable candidate and pending any big news before the electoral college votes next month, it looks as if Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States federal government.

What does that really mean?

The truth is, an American president isn’t the end-all-be-all of American politics. Despite the incredible amount of passion, billion dollars campaigns, and countless hours of debate that repeats every four years, the office of president is still a limited role. Despite the fact that most of us act as if we are electing an all-powerful king, it is not so. Despite the media’s obsession with the position, the United States president does not control every aspect of every life in America.

As Republicans, we should know better. We are often adamant about the fact that our country is not a democracy. We should also realize that the country cannot and should not be controlled unilaterally by a single person. Whether our party’s nominee wins or loses the presidential election, we should never want to live under the dictatorship of a single elected official.

Our constitution provides for a limited national government and even more limited executive branch. If our freedom really depends this precariously on the outcome of a single popular election, we’re doing something wrong.

Americans appear to be getting more and more frustrated with our federal government as the years go by, but maybe that’s because we’re obsessing over the wrong things? If we’re unhappy with our representation there, maybe we should look at the correct source. Under the US Constitution, Presidents are elected by the electoral college, Senators (at least originally) were appointed by state governments, and supreme court justices aren’t even elected at all. Our only true representative in Washington is our own representative…. i.e. our congressman in the House of Representatives.

Presidents don’t write laws, they don’t set tax rates, they don’t even declare war or sign treaties. As leader of the executive branch, the president is mostly there to carry out the will of our real representatives in congress. Despite that fact, the average American can just about tell you what the president had for breakfast every day, yet sadly often has no clue how his or her own congressman voted on the last spending bill.

Aside from the presidential circus, Republicans actually did very well in the recent election. We look to maintain control of the Senate, gained almost a dozen seats in the house, and also flipped several governors and state legislatures across the land. Republicans made gains here in Idaho too.

Thomas Jefferson used to say, that in questions of power, “Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”

Let’s follow this advice. If we avoid presidential obsession, maybe we can focus more on the things that really matter.


Tags: Nicholas Contos, Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President