Five Minutes Five Issues: Popular Vote, Arms Sales, Marijuana Progress, Ranked Voting, NATO Pushback

A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted on Saturday. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:

Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

People are saying Hillary Clinton, who received more votes than Donald Trump on Tuesday, would have won if the popular vote decided United States presidential elections. However, that conclusion does not follow from the election results.

In this close presidential race, both candidates’ campaigns had little incentive to focus on winning the most votes countrywide because the rules of the election say victory goes to the candidate who wins in the Electoral College. To win there, state by state victories are what matter.

Who would have won if the rules said the candidate with the most votes countrywide is elected? There is no way of knowing. It is illogical to assume the votes would have been distributed in that alternative reality the same way they were on Tuesday. Given a different standard for defining victory, the campaigns would have been run differently. Also, under rules in which so-called battleground and safe sate distinctions were no longer relevant, people would have voted differently.

Issue two.

Marcus Weisgerber and Caroline Houck reported Tuesday at Defense One that the Obama administration has approved more than twice the value of arms exports as did the George W. Bush administration. The article identifies Saudi Arabia as the number one recipient of the weapons, “reaping prospective deals worth more than $115 billion, according to notices announcing the deals that were sent to Congress for approval.”

Issue three.

On Tuesday, voters approved marijuana legalization in four states. In just one state — Arizona — a legalization ballot measure appears to have failed. Also, voters in all four states considering medical marijuana ballot measures approved them.

Marijuana legalization has now been approved in eight states, plus the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana in the majority of states. With an increasing majority of Americans supporting marijuana legalization, expect more states to liberalize their marijuana laws.

Tuesday’s election results are more indication that the war on marijuana is coming to an end. A patchwork quilt of state and local laws is developing for marijuana as it did for alcohol after prohibition. The new marijuana laws are not perfect, but they are less oppressive than a policy centered on arrests and incarceration.

President Barack Obama admitted last week in an interview with Bill Maher that passage of the state marijuana ballot measures on Tuesday would make the US government’s law enforcement approach to marijuana not be “tenable.”

We’ll see if Donald Trump articulates, and acts on, a similar conclusion.

Issue four.

A ballot measure passed in Maine on Tuesday that will make Maine the first state to implement ranked choice voting for state and national elections. Starting in 2018, Maine voters can rank candidates in an election first, second, and so forth. If no candidate wins a majority among first choice votes, the candidate in last place is dropped from contention and voters who picked him first will have their second choice votes applied to the remaining candidates. If nobody then has a majority, drop the new last place candidate and apply his voters’ next-in-line choices. Keep the process going until somebody wins.

One possible effect of the new system is more third party candidates winning elections. The argument goes that some people who otherwise would vote for a “lesser-of-two-evils” will rank a third-party candidate above Republican and Democratic alternatives because the counting assures there are no so-called wasted votes.

Issue five.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is pushing back against Donald Trump’s suggestion that the US might not engage in war to defend NATO nations that do not pay enough for their own defense. Robin Emmott of Reuters quotes Stoltenberg as saying in a Wednesday news conference that “All allies have made a solemn commitment to defend each other and this is something which is absolute and unconditioned.”


That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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