“I am terrified of the outcome in November.”

“The fate of the nation hangs in the balance.”

“This is the last chance to save America.”

These are all actual quotes about the presidential election I’ve seen over the last few days. Two were from Trump supporters and one came from a Biden voter. They represent just a sampling of angst already generated by this election.

We witnessed a similar level of hyperbole in 2016. Some Hillary Clinton supporters literally cried after it became clear she would lose, while Trump supporters fist-pumped and gloated with glee as if they’d just won the Super Bowl.

I’m certain the roles will reverse if Biden wins in November.

In a way, I kind of feel sorry for people who have so much emotional energy invested in a politician. I kind of feel sorry for people who fret because they believe the man or woman in the White House will have a drastic impact on their personal lives. I kind of feel sorry for people who believe a presidential election is a matter of life and death.

But on the other hand, I don’t feel sorry for them at all. Becuase the people on both the left and right so invested in who becomes president asked for the system that gave one individual so much power.

When a president they like sits in the White House, people beg for “strong leadership.” They cheer their president using his “pen and his phone” to issue executive orders and legislate from the Oval Office. They want their president to exercise whatever power necessary to “get stuff done.”

But they shake in fear at the prospect of the other party’s president holding all of that power.

News flash – at some point, somebody you don’t like will hold every iota of power you give them.

Here’s an idea — instead of working yourself into a frenzy every four years worried that somebody awful will become president (because I guarantee they will), spend time working to break down the system that empowers the president to wield so much influence on American life in the first place.

Because this was not what was intended.

If we simply stuck to the constitutional system, you would hardly notice the president. Presidents would have virtually no impact on your day-to-day life. They would drive the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy to be sure, but unless you were a policy wonk or in the military, you’d barely know there was a president.

But in their quest to impose their political agenda on the rest of the country, partisans on both the left and the right have turned the president into an elected king with virtually unlimited power and control. It’s no wonder people obsess over who holds the office.

The sad truth is this is exactly the system people on both sides of the political spectrum asked for. Now every four years, we have this silly wrestling match to determine which side will get it good and hard.

Mike Maharrey

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