So much is made in a Presidential election season, like 2016, about who will win the White House, and govern for the next four to eight years. Proponents of both Trump and Clinton insist their candidates will rescue the country from a precipitous decline, and warn about disastrous consequences should the other candidate win the general election. Democrats are terrified of a Trump Presidency, and urge the democratic base to elect Hillary Clinton, to keep Trump out of the White House. These concerns are understandable, since the President of the United States wields great influence and power, and it’s a very high-profile office.
But we must not forget one important fact: the checks and balances designed into the federal government by the Founding Fathers limit Presidential power, dividing the government into three distinct branches: legislative, judicial, and executive. The President must work effectively with all three, and particularly with the legislative branch, in order to pass the laws necessary to change the country significantly, either for better or worse.
So it’s not enough for Hillary Clinton to win the general election. The democrats must take back congress, with majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, in order to ensure she will have an effective Presidency, and get real work done. This of course holds true for Trump supporters as well, though they currently do hold majority positions in congress, therefore Trump has a chance to be highly effective, for better or worse, should he win in the general election.
We have a clear precedent for this situation. Back before 2010, Nancy Pelosi’s Democratically controlled House worked well with President Obama, ushering in the sweeping changes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and changing health care in the U.S. significantly. However, following a series of defeats for democrats in both the House and Senate in multiple elections, they lost the majority in congress. The resulting congress, dominated by very conservative groups like the Tea Party, didn’t work well with President Obama at all. In fact, congress wasn’t even willing to compromise on many middle-ground issues, compromising the President’s effectiveness, and forcing him, in many cases, to govern by Executive Order, if possible.
Sadly, grid lock and extremism now rule in Washington. Even conservative icons like Tom Delay and New Gingrich weren’t as obstructionist as the current leaders in congress. The people must be made aware of this urgent issue. Voting for a candidate, even a highly qualified and impressive candidate, in the general election simply isn’t enough. Winning the congressional elections, the mid-term elections, is just as vital to ensure the success of the next President.
The American people must be made aware of this, via the media, and direct appeals from political candidates. Ordinary progressively-minded citizens who vote for Hillary Clinton must go to the polls and vote for democratic congressional candidates who will actively support Hillary Clinton in Congress, otherwise her Presidency will fail, and she will struggle for effectiveness, even more so than President Obama.