Second, President Obama, like any US president, can wield the vast regulatory authority his office has accumulated over decades. Obama’s health care legislation significantly expanded the already substantial Federal regulation over that sector. Through the EPA, Obama has the power to regulate greenhouse gases and thus by fiat impose a conversion to green energy. He can limit or even ban drilling and mining on Federal lands. Obama could expand on the very modest limits recently imposed on for-profit colleges and trade schools in his first term, making more funds available for students to attend public and non-profit universities. The list goes on. In theory, President Obama could double-cross the corporations that backed his health care plan and use his authority under the affordable Care Act to cut into their profits.
Presidents have great autonomy in foreign affairs. Obama could negotiate an agreement with Iran, as it appears he now is trying to do. He could diminish the vast American military presence and aggressive deployments throughout the world. He could shift America’s stance in trade negotiations away from the approach, followed under both Republican and Democratic administrations, of protecting the interests of U.S. financial, pharmaceutical and entertainment firms and instead favor environmental and labor protections in future treaties and in the enforcement of existing trade agreements.