Let’s say an independent were to be elected president; he would be a disaster. The president is not a dictator. If he wants to cut or raise taxes, rein in or expand entitlements, enhance or remove environmental regulations, or do just about anything else, he has to work with Congress. A president wishing to hire people for his senior staff and seeking to appoint Cabinet members and judges needs congressional approval. A president with no party ties has no automatic allies — each one of these decisions would require a fight with Congress and a cobbled-together coalition to pass the president’s priorities.
Without a party in his corner, the president would be in a constant struggle to perform even the most basic tasks of governing. Imagine if Obama had had no allies in Congress during the debt ceiling battle, instead of a majority of the Senate and a significant, organized minority in the House.
All of this seems unfair. Why should these two parties have such an advantage? That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democrats and the Republicans are not our overlords. They are us.