Would A National Popular Vote Be Better Than The Electoral College?

For Americans and people around the world, one of the great mysteries is the electoral college. The Founding fathers created the electoral college as a compromise between allowing the Senate to elect the President and the people. Unlike most of the world, U.S. voters are not voting for the President in their elections. Instead, they are voting for a group of electors from their state to cast a vote for the President. The complexity of the electoral college system has led to calls for the U.S. to the simpler popular vote model.

How Does the Electoral College Work?

In 1787, politicians in the U.S. had become deadlocked about how they would elect a President. The options available included a first past the post-winner-takes-all popular vote. The second option was for Congress to vote on who would be in charge of the nation.

A bitter split emerged between the northern and southern states regarding the best way to elect a President. To balance the needs of the north and the south, the Electoral College was created. The winner of the popular vote in each state is voted for by a group of electors who usually follow the result of the popular vote as they elect the President.

Rogue Voters

Electors have occasionally turned against the voters of their state. In 2016, two electors changed the name of the winning candidate in their states as part of a “not trump” campaign. A legal battle ensued that ended at the Supreme Court. The decision from the Supreme Court explained the Founding Fathers did not require the Electoral College electors to follow the results of the popular vote.

Why Switch to a Popular Vote?

Way back in 1934, politicians fell just two votes short of switching from the Electoral College to the popular vote. Support remains high among Democrats for a switch, but Republican voters feel the Electoral College gives them a better chance of winning The White House.

The biggest argument for switching to the popular vote is how Presidential candidates spend their time on the campaign trail. In Presidential elections in the 21st-century, candidates have focused their time and attention on four states. These swing states hold the keys to The White House because the other 46 states and the District of Columbia vote along party lines. Presidential candidates have spent the majority of their time and money in Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio in the 21st-century. By prioritizing these states, candidates are ignoring the majority of voters they hope will vote along traditional party lines.

Losing the Popular Vote but Winning the Election

In 2016, President Donald Trump won the electoral college and took The White House. The problem for Democrats was that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million, without taking the swing states needed to win the election. President George W. Bush also won the Electoral College while losing the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore in 2000.

Several states have introduced legislation to allow the popular vote to be used to elect the President. 33 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation to require electors to cast their vote with the people. The legal framework has already been passed in 15 states and the District of Columbia in preparation for a switch to using the popular vote in Presidential elections. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement requiring state electors to follow the results of the popular vote.

Using the popular vote is growing in popularity, but changing the Constitution is a drawn-out process. Although the majority of voters support changing the election model, political leaders show little enthusiasm for the change.

Scott Walker & Ted Cruz: Where They Align and Where They Don’t

Scott Walker and Ted Cruz are two high-profile Republican lawmakers. Both are prominent conservative politicians. Texas state senator Cruz is more recognizable on a national level. But Walker, as governor of Wisconsin, is very well-known, especially across the Midwest.

Walker is three years older than Ted Cruz, and each man is a strong advocate for conservative political ideas. However, while they align in many areas, there are points that they respectfully disagree with. Let’s look at where Scott Walker and Ted Cruz align politically, and where they don’t agree.

Where They Align

Both Scott Walker and Ted Cruz are members of the Republican Party. Therefore, they align with most of the general conservative ideology. Each is strongly pro-life, ardently opposed to abortion. Walker and Cruz have vocalized their distaste for the Affordable Care Act.

Each man strongly supports a secure southern border as a national priority. They each advocate for smaller government and fiscally responsible legislation. Neither Cruz nor Walker supports same-sex marriage or civil unions. Let’s look at some additional policy concepts where they align.

Climate Change

Senator Ted Cruz has voiced his rejection of much of the scientific consensus on climate change. Cruz insists that far too many people fall into the category of global warming alarmists. His biggest stance against climate change was the letter he signed along with 22 other U.S. Senators encouraging the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Scott Walker’s views on climate change have aligned with those of the Texas Senator. Walker signed a pledge to never support any laws designed to raise taxes to battle climate change. He has also been a keynote speaker, denying or rationalizing global warming denials. Walker also believes many environmental powers should be given back to the states, not the federal EPA.

Gun Control

Cruz and Walker differ somewhat on criminal justice, but they align closely with gun control. In fact, both are adamantly opposed to any form of legislative gun control. Cruz believes that gun violence is the result of a misplaced liberal focus on guns not restructuring crime legislation to punish violent crime more so than non-violent infractions.

Both Cruz and Walker oppose gun control legislation, but Walker has been visibly more committed to his beliefs. During his time as governor, Walker signed legislation making Wisconsin the 49th concealed carry state. He also helped remove his state’s 48-hour waiting period to purchase a firearm, plus allowed off-duty law enforcement to carry in a school zone.

Where They Don’t

Since both Ted Cruz and Scott Walker both align heavily conservative, the number of areas that they agree on politically is considerable. However, there are a few instances where they don’t necessarily agree, or at least they disagree on how to reach a conservative consensus on policy. Let’s look at a couple of these areas of political alignment where they don’t agree.

Criminal Justice

One difference between Walker and Cruz would involve their differences in opinion on criminal justice. Walker has long voiced an adamant position that was tough-on-crime. During his tenure in the Wisconsin state legislature, Walker frequently sought to impose tougher sentencing guidelines and a reduction in the pathway to parole for certain crimes.

On the contrary, Senator Cruz has supported a more lax approach. He has openly voiced a disagreement with overly harsh minimum sentencing guidelines for non-violent infractions. Cruz is an advocate for the death penalty. In addition, he does not agree that marijuana should be legalized, but he also feels federal laws criminalizing the drug should be removed given to the states.

Budget Policy

One of the few areas where Cruz and Walker do not align is on specific views about economics and budget. Ted Cruz is more of a free-trade advocate as opposed to Walker’s more nationalistic approach to economics.

Walker’s economic policies came to the forefront during his last tenure as governor. He encouraged Wisconsin dairy farmers to ramp up production. His state-focused policy caused a huge surplus in the milk market, a decision that actually reduced profits for his local dairy farmers.

Cruz, on the other hand, has proposed a total end to the IRS, plus supports a federal flat tax. The Texas Senator is strongly opposed to a federal minimum wage, while Walker has never spoken out against a national wage policy.

While Scott Walker and Ted Cruz are two visible leaders within the Republican Party, they don’t always agree on every policy. Most of their core political beliefs align very well. However, there are a couple of points where these two men don’t align. Nevertheless, they are both ardent conservatives who are dedicated to the Republican ideas.