The most damaging myth in American politics is that the presidency can fix our problems. It’s a myth backed by a media machine that finds it convenient to frame American politics as a grand drama in which the president is the lead actor. It’s a myth fed by every episode of the West Wing in which President Jed Bartlet solves the country’s problems with a heroic speech. It’s a myth cemented by every presidential candidate who knows that you win campaigns with inspiration, not realism. And it’s a myth voters desperately want to believe….
But the American president doesn’t wield that kind of power. Terrified of a monarchy, the Founding Fathers created a weak executive and a strong Congress. It’s Congress that comes first in the Constitution. It’s Congress that can write and pass laws. It’s Congress that can overturn a presidential veto. The president, by contrast, doesn’t even have the power to force Congress to consider legislation he favors — much less pass it over congressional objection.
Ezra Klein, Vox Editor-in-Chief