Earlier I had written about a Freakonomics podcast dealing with the power of the presidency. I’ve always thought that the Founders put so many checks and balances in our system, the president is actually pretty effectively constrained. This podcast, entitled “How Much Does the U.S. Presidency Really Matter?”, supported that view. ( http://freakonomics.com/podcast/much-president-really-matter-rebroadcast/ )
Now there has been a follow-up — a podcast entitled “Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?” — arguing that powers like executive orders have made the office very powerful indeed. (This podcast is at http://freakonomics.com/podcast/u-s-presidency-become-dictatorship/ .)
I suspect this subject about to be seriously tested. President-elect Trump has vowed to “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC. There is much speculation now on which government policies/programs will be eliminated, which will be altered, and what new programs may be introduced. How successful can he be? His party controls both houses of Congress, but he is coming as an outsider with little political experience. He will need to overcome vested interests and the aforementioned checks and balances, especially in the Senate. Will he propose radical change and expect his base of grassroots support help him push things through? Or will he work with Congress to change what he can, and then declare victory?
This is going to be fascinating to watch.