Understanding the role of a president in US politics

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Bundokji
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Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by Bundokji »

The US presidential elections will be next November. Before every election, lots of discussions and debates among people on who will be the better president implying that the persona and plans of the candidate are of a great importance. However, it is unclear to what extent a change in presidency affects the life of the average American citizen.

For example, if we ignore the news and political rhetoric and compare the life of the average citizen during Obama and Trump presidency, would there be noticeable difference?

Recently, i encountered lots of descriptions of establishment candidates to be nothing more than actors as if the whole game is already set. Ronald Reagan, for instance, was literally an actor, and president Trump was a TV celebrity who does not shy away from focusing on TV ratings. The candidacy of celebrities and super rich people who seek prestige seem to support the perception that the issue of US presidency is nothing more than a TV show.

On the other hand, the US president has constitutional power, but to what extent these powers are real? Who really rules in the US?
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.
denise
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Re: Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by denise »

"walk softly and carry a big stick" ?
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DNS
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Re: Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by DNS »

There are checks and balances set up in the Constitution to make it difficult for a president to do too much, but they still wield significant power in some respects. If they are somewhat popular, they can get some of their ideas to Congress. A president can't declare war, but he can persuade Congress and get approval for police actions, use of force, which amounts to war. For example, the recent Iraq War, which had bipartisan support.

Obama was able to get the votes needed to implement Obamacare which quintupled my health insurance premiums. So yes, presidents do have an effect on the citizens. :tongue: I would have preferred a full-blown Bernie style universal health insurance, medicare for all instead. My taxes would have probably gone up by the same amount as my premiums, but at least I'd have full coverage and so would other citizens. Under Obamacare, my insurance premiums quintupled and it only covers major medical.

Bush 43 sent us to unnecessary wars with massive spending and tanked the economy. That directly effected my business and that of others too.

So I believe it does matter for myself and for others.
Bundokji
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Re: Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by Bundokji »

While the process of candidacy and winning an election can be a natural way of testing the abilities of the potential president, i am not sure if being a celebrity or TV star makes a good president. I can't understand why people admire those who appear on TV to the extent that they become the leaders of very powerful country!

Maybe i am bringing too much cultural package to the topic. Where i live, if you work in the entertainment industry, it becomes more difficult to marry a decent girl even if you make a lot of money.

What do celebrities do anyway? they amuse people. The leap from being an entertainer to leading a nation sheds doubts about the significance of what it means to be a president in the US.

If we also take Bloomberg as another example, spent few hundred millions in an attempt to buy an election!

The mere fact that candidates use ads makes the whole political arena appear as a show. When you look at the candidates standing behind a podium in a rally and people behind them holding placards and shouting in excitement you feel that there is something missing!
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.
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Re: Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by DNS »

Bundokji wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:00 pm While the process of candidacy and winning an election can be a natural way of testing the abilities of the potential president, i am not sure if being a celebrity or TV star makes a good president. I can't understand why people admire those who appear on TV to the extent that they become the leaders of very powerful country!
If you're referring to Trump, he was also a successful businessman. He received some money from his father, but he took it from Queens and went to Manhattan and multiplied the empire many-fold.

Not sure who originated the saying, but I've heard it said that "the people don't want a one term president; what they really want is a king; a benevolent king."

I think there is some truth in that, which is why people like the Queen of England, JFK, Ronald Reagan. Reagan won 49 out of 50 states in 1984. He was charismatic, "king looking", had a sense of humor and considered a strong leader. Even in democracies what people really look for is someone they can look up to as some sort of monarch.
Bundokji
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Re: Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by Bundokji »

DNS wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:13 pm If you're referring to Trump, he was also a successful businessman. He received some money from his father, but he took it from Queens and went to Manhattan and multiplied the empire many-fold.

Not sure who originated the saying, but I've heard it said that "the people don't want a one term president; what they really want is a king; a benevolent king."

I think there is some truth in that, which is why people like the Queen of England, JFK, Ronald Reagan. Reagan won 49 out of 50 states in 1984. He was charismatic, "king looking", had a sense of humor and considered a strong leader. Even in democracies what people really look for is someone they can look up to as some sort of monarch.
Possibly. Seeking security in an authority figure seems to be a striking similarity between religion and politics.

I also agree that Trump was a successful business man, but i do not know if this was the main reason for his success in the previous elections.

The whole thing about having celebrities president is becoming a trend. I remember many called for oprah winfrey to nominate her self. Or think of kanye west! I don't have anything personal against him, but from singing sensual songs to becoming a president takes a stretch of imagination.
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.
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Nicholas
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Re: Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by Nicholas »

DNS wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:13 pm I've heard it said that "the people don't want a one term president; what they really want is a king; a benevolent king."
That is the nub of it.

Between we deplorables' ignorance of basic civics, reliance on few media sources, poor voter turnout, the Congress delegating to the Administrative state their own powers and the ancient craving of humans to avoid responsibility, more and more the office of President and to a lesser degree, the Supreme Court, become the principal national political foci.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Buddhas.
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lyndon taylor
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Re: Understanding the role of a president in US politics

Post by lyndon taylor »

3 bankruptcies does not a successful business man make!!
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