Why Focusing All Our Energies on the Presidency Is a Big Mistake

Laila Lalami in The Nation:

What are you looking for in a presidential candidate? I want someone with fresh proposals on health care or the environment, you might say. A track record that testifies to experience and effectiveness. Or you might say: Listen, I’m just looking for anyone who can defeat Donald Trump in 2020. Whatever your position, you’re likely to have already gotten into spirited conversations about it with family and friends. And as the race for the Democratic nomination heats up, the debate has become increasingly acrimonious. In fact, it’s threatening to turn into a search for a savior.

This search manifests itself in two ways. The first is the belief that electing the right person will result in immediate solutions to the multitude of systemic problems that plague the country. If only we had the perfect person in the Oval Office, the thinking goes, then we would finally be able to fix our disastrous health-care system, or take serious action on global warming, or counteract the rightward shift of the Supreme Court. But this thinking runs counter to the reality that each president inherits problems from the previous administration, as well as constraints or even obstruction from the legislative branch.

More here.