by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the United States, we hire our leaders, and our system was built specifically to retard their personal ambitions once they are hired. They’re not supposed to be symbols of us, or reflections of us; they’re our employees.
That’s why, though he is by dint of his commander-in-chief authority the most powerful man in the world, in many respects the president of the United States has far less power than a tinpot dictator or strongman. That tinpot dictator can change the valuation of his currency, can literally alter how to set his country’s clock, order property seizures, pretty much do whatever he chooses at will—because there are no impediments other than common sense to the exercise of his power. The president of the United States cannot spend a nickel on anything other than matters for which Congress has chosen to appropriate money, and when he tries to exceed his authority—as Barack Obama did when announced new immigration policy—the full force of congressional and judicial authority can be used to stifle his efforts (as happened with Obama and immigration).
This distinction is confusing to people, even to Americans, because here the employers are choosing a leader (just as we do for every elective office in the country). But it’s a crucial one. Trump and Clinton are not running to be leaders of movements; they are competing for the job of chief administrator of the executive branch of the United States government. It’s easy to see why they both want to appear as though they have the moral force of a movement behind them; it’s because they are so weak morally, the both of them.
What is it you look for in an employee? That differs depending on the job, but I suspect we can all agree that trustworthiness is a key quality; you don’t want someone who’s going to lift singles from the cash register, and whom you can’t comfortably deputize to maintain the security cameras and alarm systems. So what happens when the only two candidates you have to choose from are both liars with a history of suspicious dealings when it comes to money and an almost ingrained habit of dissimulation?
It’s simple. Their partisans pump them full of unwarranted meaning, and so do their detractors. A vote against Hillary is a vote against women; a vote against Trump is a vote against those voiceless white people in America who feel left behind. This works in reverse as well. A vote for Trump will bring about a new American fascism; a vote for Hillary will bring about a European socialist state. So those who have decided how they are going to vote have it covered either way. Vote for Hillary to vote for women and against Trumpian fascism; vote for Trump to vote for the voiceless and against Clintonian socialism.