This is not a simple question. Can the “Leader of the Free World” arbitrarily shape society and American history? Obviously being elected is a pivotal moment in history, but can singular spontaneous and arbitrary decisions by President Elect Trump irreversibly change the path of America? The simple answer is, probably not.
One thing that I cannot stop thinking about is how quickly people are to jump to the blame game. “It is because not enough Millennials voted”, “it is a result of the education system”, “it is because the bipartisan system is broken”, this is bothersome. When the majority of Electoral College votes are claimed and the popular vote is reported to be almost equal – this is not a situation where one single factor contributed to the outcome. It is no place for the blame game. This is the power of a democratic society and it is a perfect example of democracy at work. The result of any election is a reflection of the powers of the very society in which he was elected - and this election is no different. The reality is that the rhetoric around racial, sexist and cultural division resonated with the majority of the American voting population.
There seems to be a lot of discussion around how President Elect Trump will change the course of democracy in the United States and the World. However, the fact that President Elect Trump was actually elected last night - shows that the course of American society was changed long ago.
While I cannot say that I am overly surprised at the outcome of this election – being a peace-loving, West-Coast tree-hugging person – I am disheartened. But I will not let this result kill my optimism for humanity. Rather than joining the masses and decrying the results, or being dismayed and assuming only the worst can happen, I am going to do what I can to restore my faith by remembering the Constitution was created to ensure that America remains the great nation that it is.
The natural assumption is that the President makes all decisions and has veto power over everything, hence the title “Leader of the Free World”. But this isn’t exactly true. The Constitution and political system have built in checks and balances. The Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches of government all work to make decisions that uphold the Constitution. Yes, the President influences American society by appointing Supreme Court Judges in the Judicial Branch or vetoing congressional legislation. But over the coming days, weeks and years I will remind myself that the system was built to ensure that there is a separation of powers and despite what one might assume - one person does not have unfettered, arbitrary decision making authority.