Unleashing Presidential Power: Public Craves Unilateral Action, Blurring Boundaries


The delicate balance of power in the United States has been a defining feature of its democracy for over two centuries. However, a recent poll suggests that Americans’ views on this balance have become increasingly influenced by their political affiliation.

The Ups and Downs of Presidential Authority

Richard Bidon, an 84-year-old Democrat, believes in the checks and balances system of the U.S. government. Yet, his stance shifts when Republicans control the presidency. Like many Americans, he supports a strong presidency when his party is in power, while harboring reservations when the opposition holds office.

Partisan Divide in Views on Power

According to a survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Opinion Research, this sentiment is prevalent across party lines. While only 20% of Americans endorse giving the president the authority to enact policies without the approval of Congress and the courts, a significant number of Republicans and Democrats support unilateral action if their preferred candidate wins the presidency.

Weakening Checks and Balances

This willingness to grant additional power to the presidency reflects a growing polarization in society. The poll reveals that only 9% of Americans believe the system of checks and balances is functioning effectively, indicating a loss of faith in the institutions intended to prevent any one branch from gaining too much control.

Frustration with Gridlock

Bob Connor, a former carpenter, expresses frustration with the gridlock in Congress. He supports a more assertive approach by the president to address issues like border security, believing that Congress has failed to act.

Congress’s Stalled Functionality

The current Congress has set records for its low productivity, with only a handful of bills approved for presidential consideration. Republican members of the House have hindered progress on issues such as aid to Ukraine and immigration reform.

Executive Overreach

The presidency has gradually acquired more power in recent years, partly due to congressional stagnation. Presidents have increasingly resorted to administrative policies and executive orders to tackle national concerns. This trend has raised concerns about the potential for unchecked executive authority.

Partisan Perception of Power Imbalances

The AP-NORC poll highlights the partisan divide in views on which institutions wield excessive power. While most Democrats believe the U.S. Supreme Court has too much influence due to its conservative majority, a significant proportion of Republicans see the presidency as overly dominant. Congress, with its divided control, has drawn similar concerns from both parties.

Shifts in the Political Landscape

John V. Mohr, a housecleaner, believes that the balance of power has shifted from民主党dominance under the previous Congress to a more equal distribution under the current Republican-led House. However, he criticizes President Biden’s use of executive orders, particularly those related to transgender rights.

The Limits of Unchecked Power

The concept of a president with almost unchecked power remains unpopular. While some Americans prioritize immediate action on certain issues, such as completing the border wall, they acknowledge the importance of congressional approval and judicial review for major policy decisions. Steven Otney, a retired trucker, warns against allowing the president to make unreasonable or harmful decisions.


The balance of power in the United States government has always been a delicate matter, and the current political climate has only amplified this challenge. The interplay between partisanship, institutional gridlock, and the desire for decisive action has shaped public opinion on the power of the presidency. As the nation navigates future political landscapes, it will be crucial to protect the checks and balances that have ensured its stability for centuries.

Data sourced from: foxnews.com