The key limitation to powers through the constitution is through the bill of rights. The bill limits the government’s authority to interference with individual rights and unalienable liberty to choice and freedom (McClellan 1). The bill of rights awards several individual rights to persons, which the government is obliged to protect and tolerate. Individuals can protest violation of their personal freedom, and have a right to express their opinions even if they go against the governance systems of the day; thus upholding democracy.
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The distribution of powers of the government throughout the different arms of the government is a major way the Constitution limits powers of elected members in the government. The move was meant to ensure that mandate over certain issues was in the hands of the department most suited to effectively execute the power. United States authority is shared among legislature, judiciary, and the executive; each of the three arms of authority is independent. For instance, the judiciary has to check legislative and executive excesses (McClellan, 1).
The availability of both federal law and state law to run public affairs greatly limits the individual powers of the state and federal government. The division of power between the two government bodies restricts power by either of them to run the affairs of the common people hence helps protect people’s freedom (McClellan 1). For instance, some states have gun laws while others do not, because the matter remains at the discretion of the state and not federal law.
Although not currently the practice, the founding fathers put several restrictions on presidential powers. Unlike the situations today, the president could not send troops to war without Senate and Congress approval (McClellan 1). The limitations on the powers of the president were intended to ensure the balanced assessment and lack of abuse of powers by a single individual.
The other restrictions on power came under the election of the presidency whereby a sitting president could not be elected without legislative action from the different states. The same body had influence on the senate membership and the members in the House of Representatives (McClellan 1). The premise to this law was because the state government was directly accountable to the people and therefore would be more representative of the people’s views in the higher echelons of the government as well.
How members of Congress remain in office
One of the most obvious reasons is the availability of resources to the incumbents due to the privileges of the office they hold. The sitting members have more staff at both national and state level, and have the right networks in place to ensure their hold on to power throughout all elections. The sitting members enjoy travel allowances, and can send postage free letters and announcements to the constituents every now and then to make voters believe in their commitment to work unlike a challenger who remains a stranger (This Nation 1).
The sitting members of Congress have greater popularity in media, which boosts their standing in the public opinion that trust mass media. They get numerous opportunities to appear before the public at practically no cost and sell their agendas to the people, which make it harder for first time challengers to garner popularity (This Nation 1). The media gives special space for the sitting members to appear in talk shows, and they appear in television when going about their Congressional business making people identify power with such individuals only unlike challengers who appear as strangers.
The sitting members of parliament have more time to do politicking than their challengers have. The incumbent members of parliament spend their time in public, while the challengers have to keep other jobs and find time to appear in public (This Nation 1).
The sitting members of parliament have more experience in rolling out successful campaign machinery. First time challengers do not enjoy the privilege, and have to experiment along the way to find out what works best. Excellent working conditions that accompany the Congress members allow them to be near voters all the time thus gaining a clear advantage over challengers; therefore, the work’s publicity and vision held by Congressmen has helped the U.S. government maintain a high re-election rate for the members of Congress.
Financial resources remain a key factor that determines a candidate’s ability to win an election in the United States. Every candidate must sell a political vision, economic strategy and a nationalistic or state oriented goal. Marketing of any political vision is a very expensive venture. Thus, sitting Congress members have more money at their disposal to spend on campaigns than challengers who have to fundraise to finance their campaigns (This Nation 1). In addition, the incumbents have more donors funding as they already have networks in place to help them get the money they need to stay in power. Financial limitations keep many first time candidates from reaching the electorate.