Many Indians have the erroneous impression that US president has unlimited powers while the Indian prime minister works under checks and balances. The reality is just the opposite. America’s president must deal with a truly independent legislature and 50 state governments, federal and state judiciaries, and a slew of constitutional limits on his power. Our country’s system, on the other hand, grants the prime minister such broad discretions that he or she can rule like a monarch.

No American president in that country’s 230-year history has been able to act autocratically. We have seen how Donald Trump’s overreaches have been blocked by the US system of government. Trump’s ban in immigration from some Muslim countries was denied until he removed religion as its basis, which the US Constitution prohibits. His policy to separate children from their undocumented parents is still being litigated in the courts. His attempt to build a wall on the Mexican border was curtailed because the legislature refused to fund it.

Trump’s signature programme, the repeal of the Obamacare healthcare initiative, was defeated by a single vote of a senator from his own party, John McCain.

Trump has been able to take some unilateral actions, like withdrawing from the Iran nuclear...

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