Federalism incorporates a system of government bound by its own fundamental political integrity to negotiate, as well as bargain on the sharing of authority among different powers. The distribution of various functions between states and the federation is streamlined by the basic law. The comparative study of federalism is fairly extensive, complex, and sometimes astonishing. This study will focus on defining, comparing, and contrasting various aspects of federalism with an aim of distinguishing their fundamental roles in the U.S. federal government.
Electoral College vs. Campaign Strategy
The US citizens do not elect their presidents directly: the Electoral College carries the responsibility of electing the president and his/her deputy. According to Miller (2012) Electoral College incorporates a group of people (electors) that are widely dispersed to represent their political parties in states by voting for the best presidential candidate in general elections. The US Constitution allows each state to pick a number of electors that equal to the accumulated total of its representation in the Senate, as well as its allocation based on the House of Representatives. The presidential candidate who garners the majority of Electoral College votes becomes the president.
Campaign strategy is the tactics applied by politicians to gain support from electors. Campaign strategy ensures that the presidential candidates not only wins the popular votes, but also wins favor in almost every state. Campaign strategy is guided by national opinion and politics concerning the Electoral College to understand how to articulate, prioritize, and to carry out policies that bear personal appeals (Wayne, 2015). An effective campaign strategy necessitates certain aspects of implementation, which include excellent communication, proper resource mobilization, scaling-up tactic, as well as an exit strategy. A winning campaign strategy recognizes the crucial goal and works toward accomplishing that goal in a competitive atmosphere.
Electoral College has an effect on the campaign strategy. Without the Electoral College, the techniques of conducting presidential campaigns could be quite different. The level of competition among states influences campaign strategy, as some states demand more resource allocation and time due to their size. Electoral College affects how campaign resources are distributed across all states, rather than concentrating on a small number of states that could offer the largest number of voters. Electoral College promotes the establishment of coalitions among the top political parties that lead in the presidential campaigns. However, electors are usually guided by their wisdom, rather than party affiliation, to make an ideal choice on behalf of the whole nation.
Speaker of the House Vs. Party Caucuses
In the US, the Speaker of the House is the supervising officer, who is elected by the Representatives through the majority votes. The House Speaker and the Senate Speaker chair daily sessions inside the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively. The Speaker is not necessarily required by the law to be an elected representative, but it is the majority party caucus that decides on who to become the Speaker in both chambers (Dewhirst & Rausch, 2014). In addition, the Speaker does not have any political role, except that he/she comes second in terms of succession, that is, after the Vice President.
Party caucuses are meetings or conferences held by all party members within the House of Representatives or in the Senate. For instance, the Democrats in both chambers have the Democratic Caucus while the Republicans have the Republican Conference (Dewhirst & Rausch, 2014). Party caucuses may or may not have specific times for meetings, and when they meet, they normally negotiate for procedures of handling substantive policy issues (McKay, 2013). The caucuses meet to discuss on party policy, upcoming legislative issues, or any other issue that concern the party. Party caucuses can meet to conduct elections for various Floor leaders.
The Speaker does not play any significant part in the party caucuses, though he/she is ranked fourth in the chamber’s party leadership if the party that sponsors him/her holds the majority seats in the House. However, the majority party caucus must negotiate on how to pick a speaker who has a strong support from the party that has sponsored him/her. In this case, the Speaker becomes the majority party’s head in either chamber, even though he/she does not vote nor engage in the discussion of motions.
Executive Orders vs. War Powers
Executive orders are declarations made by the president to undertake certain activities within the federal government. A presidential executive order (EO) involves a statutory or constitutional order that offer directives to the federal departments and agencies without necessarily requiring congressional approval (McKay, 2013). The President may choose to issue executive orders to bypass the lengthy committee process within the Congress. Executive orders are usually viewed as critical instruments of presidential powers. Some executive orders may hold an expiry date or may expire when the circumstances that led to their issuance have passed. The study of executive orders does not excite political scientists, since it is more descriptive than analytic.
War powers are federal laws that permit the president to handle armed conflict without the congressional approval. As Commander-in-Chief, the president is permitted to command certain actions, particularly during a war, or military predicament. The President is only allowed to ‘declare’ war, rather than to ‘make’ war. However, the concern for too much executive powers led to War Powers Act of 1973, which established limits on the president’s power to dispatch troops overseas (McKay, 2013). The presidential orders can be subjected to restrictions by the Congress if the Congress does perceive the directives as essential for the nation’s interest.
The president utilizes executive orders and war powers to evade a prolonged congressional process, which could delay the action that is meant to safeguard national interest. Both executive orders and war powers are vulnerable to misuse by some presidents to exercise their political muscles. While many presidents do not find the need to issue executive orders frequently due to their weakness in accomplishing hard tasks, some of the issued executive orders are meant to expand personal interests, and may create friction within Congress. On the contrary, war powers are usually issued during emergencies to carry out an essential task of safeguarding the country and its people.
Solicitor General vs. Judicial Review
Solicitor General is a person chosen to express the federal government’s legal position in the Supreme Court. According to Smelcer and Thomas (2010), the Solicitor General coordinates the executive branch litigation in all levels of appeal, in addition to representing the executive arm in lawsuit before the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General may engage in admitting an error as a sign of commitment to Supreme Court. Thus, it is not the exceptional relationship between the Solicitor General’s office and the Supreme Court that matters, but the competency among the advocates. Solicitor General is a President’s appointee, who also assists the Attorney General in handling appellate litigation.
Judicial review incorporates a court proceeding where a judge has to decide on the lawfulness of an action undertaken by a public body. Judicial reviews confront the way decisions are made, rather than proving whether the conclusion made was right or wrong. The Supreme Court looks upon the Solicitor General to safeguard its function by proposing for a judicial review only on cases involving the government, thus, offering the highest quality principles for the Court’s consideration (Smelcer & Thomas, 2010). Example of a judicial review is a decision by the immigration department concerning illegal immigrants.
In the Department of Justice, the government may lose a case. The Solicitor General must intervene through declaring further judicial review, despite of whether the case was an appeal, or a writ of certiorari presented in the Supreme Court (Smelcer & Thomas, 2010). Although the Solicitor General can argue politically to favor the government in the Supreme Court, the judicial review always consider the constitutional validity of every legislative act to enhance justice and equality. Judicial review is only required when the Solicitor General’s believes that the verdict against the federal government in the lower courts does not fit the national interest.
Federal Reserve Board vs. National Economic Council
Federal Reserve Board (FRB) is a body that governs the Federal Reserve System. FRB (or the Fed) is responsible for drafting and implementing monetary policy under the umbrella of the Congress’ Banking and Finance Committees (Bonvecchi, 2012). The board usually sets Fed policy, which includes setting the discount rate, establishing reserve requirements, in addition to carrying out other crucial economic decisions in the Federal Reserve System. The board, which is appointed by the president, ensures that the country is in stable condition financially through regulating systems that may create risks in the financial market.
In the US, the National Economic Council (NEC) is a forum that the President utilizes to undertake economic policy matters, in addition to seeking advice on global economic policy. NEC has a responsibility of coordinating domestic and international economic policies, in addition to supervising the execution of the President’s fiscal policy program (Bonvecchi, 2012). NEC, which is a component of the President’s Executive Office, is an amalgamation of numerous departments and agencies, whose policy influence is paramount in the nation’s economy.
FRB and NEC works together to enhance the economic policymaking process while the Treasury Department contributes in the formulation stage (Bonvecchi, 2012). Both agencies are involved in enhancing the government’s foreign economic policy, although the issues of balance-of-payment, lending rates, and investments by commercial banks are primarily held by the FRB. While the FRB is involved in the discussions of stabilizing prices and drafting long-term interest rates, NEC is only involved in the evaluation of economic policies that could enhance growth in the country.
Bonvecchi, A. (2012). Information, Organization, and the Crafting of Executive Responses to Economic Crises: Theory and Evidence from the Americas. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
Dewhirst, R. E., & Rausch, J. D. (2014). Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. New York: Facts On File.
McKay, D. (2013). American politics and society. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Miller, N. (2012). Why the Electoral College is good for political science (and public choice).
Smelcer, S. N. & Thomas, K. R. (2010). From solicitor general to supreme court nominee: responsibilities, history, and the nomination of Elena Kagan. Collingdale, PA: Diane Publishing Co.
Wayne, S. J. (2015). Road to the white house 2016: The politics of presidential elections. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.