Comparison between Texas and California
The United States of America has a total of 50 states governed under one president. However, every country operates under the legally elected governors who becomes the boss of in charge of almost all activities in the three branches of government (executive, judiciary and legislature). The fact that every State has an elected governor does not mean that they also have similar political structures. For example, California, as a state, have the rights to design their governments in a way different from that of Texas, Nevada, or the Ohio States. Several differences exist, including the reigning political affiliations in each State, which thus determines the representation in the legislative council of every State. This paper is set to compare the political alignments between Texas and California based on reigning parties and the design of their respective federal governments.
Issues facing California
In this state comparative paper, I have chosen California to compare with Texas because of the long distance between them, meaning that there are low chances of borrowing political structures. The second reason is that California is almost equal in size with Texas, and the two States are among the most significant states in the United States of America, thus creating ease of comparison. California, as a country, faces various issues that emanate from different platforms of economy, politics, and society.
Some of the issues include immigration, health care, and homelessness. The State has recorded an approximated number of 10 million immigrants, with around 20% being undocumented ((Matsusaka, 258). The total population in California stands at approximately 39 million. However, research studies provide that up to 3 million residents lack health insurance. The high number leads to the percentage of the uninsured to be below the recommended average of 8.9%. Lack of health insurance also leads to the usage of a lot of individual funds to cater to health care. The current status of California’s homelessness is understood to hit catastrophic extents because up to 100,000 people live on the streets at any given time, a number that represents 25% of the total population.
The policymakers (governor, legislators, and court) in California are doing their level best to curb the issues and provide sufficient statuses to the residents. For example, they have advocated for the building of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) to house the homeless. Through the intervention of the policymakers, real estate owners and landlords have come to a consensus to reduce the costs of rents and make houses affordable. Governor Newsom of California has been at the forefront to help deal with immigrant cases (Rodriguez, and Marybeth, 47). He has allocated money, which is used to fund those providing services to the asylum seekers and those providing legal services to the undocumented immigrants. At other times, he proposed that people should provide help in the form of charity to the immigrants. In the medical sector, the governor introduced a Medi-Cal initiative whose role is to help members easily access medical insurance.
California’s vs. Texas’ Political Makeup
In California, the legislative administration is made up of the Big Five, which involves the governor, speaker of the assembly, the assembly minority leader, the minority leader of the Senate, and the senate president pro tempore. The State is considered a home to various political affiliations. However, most of them are supporters of the Democratic Party. The total number of democrats hits 43% percent while the Republicans trail behind with a total of 24%. Unfortunately, some people are not affiliated to any political party, and they make up to 27%, while those supporting other parties constitute 5% ((Hyinks and David, 71). In many years, only the republicans and the democrats have managed to have representative posts in the legislative council. Every registered voter in California is eligible to vote. However, the registration requires that a person must be 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States of America, and a current resident of California. The State also accepts pre-registration as a voter where a person has to be either 16 or 17 years and meet all the other voter requirements. When they celebrate their eighteenth birthdays, they automatically become eligible voters.
Unlike California, which has been dominated by a single party (Democratic Party) for a very long time, Texas has experienced a change of political taste. In some years, Texas was dominated by the Democratic Party. However, the movie has brought their political taste to the Republican Party, which currently dominates the State. Although the Republicans make the current dominance (52%), Texas still contains a good number of the Democrats (41%), which heats the political ground in the State (Eskenazi et al. 749). The remaining percentages include supporters of other parties and those who are not affiliated to any party. All registered voters are eligible to participate in the process. The people who are eligible to register as voters in Texas are American citizens and residents of the particular Texas counties in which they want to vote. They must be 17 years of age with at least ten months and 18 years on the day of voting. The pre-voter registration in Texas is different from that of California as Texas only gives two months to reach the 18th years, while California provides a range of 2 years.
The voter turnout in California is higher than that of Texas. California is ranked among the most tranquil states in which a person can vote. The policies regarding voting are easy to understand and comply with, thus allowing many people to exercise their voting rights. In the 2018 November midterm voting, the turnout in California was 64%, becoming the highest ever number recorded in many decades (Matsusaka, 262). Conversely, the voter turnout in Texas is low because of the problematic voting rules which the lawmakers deem necessary for all the voters. Some of the laws include the voting registration, which must be done 28 days before the exact voting day, and the restriction on the people who can assist in voter registration, among other policies. People always want to exercise their political rights in the form of voting. Therefore, the lawmakers in Texas need to reduce the intensity and complexity of their policies to allow more eligible people to vote.
The Structure and Powers of the Government Institutions
The Government of California is a structure made up of three branches; that is, the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. Like in all American states, the head of California is a governor. Different people make up the three branches and perform various responsibilities to ensure smooth administration and political and economic stability of the whole State. The executive consists of the governor and all the officers who are either constitutionally elected or appointed to assume various offices (Hajnal, Nazita, and Lindsay, 375). The primary role of the executive branch is administering and enforcing the laws that guide the State. Each of the members of the executive can be elected for a maximum of two terms with each term containing four years. The lieutenant governor is recognized as the president of the Senate in California.
California has a bicameral type of legislative council, which means it contains both the upper and the lower houses. The lower house, which is the California state assembly, comprises 80 members while the upper house (California state senate) has 40 members. Members making up the legislative assembly in both lower and upper houses are elected by and come from different parties. For example, in California, the democratic party claims a supermajority in the legislative council with up to 61 members while the republicans taking 18 positions in the lower house because there exists one vacancy in the assembly (Hyinks, and David, 68). In the upper house, democrats occupy a total of 29 positions while the republicans are claiming only 11 spots. Elections of the members of the lower house are conducted every two years while those of the Senate undertaken per term (4 years) and a person eligible for election for only two terms. The legislative council is charged with the responsibility of making laws regarding public policies and deliberating them to fit the community. Moreover, the council also puts checks and balances to both the judiciary and the executive.
The judiciary/ court system in California is charged with the responsibility of interpreting the laws and policies that govern the State. Besides, this branch of the government provides methods to solve disputes between people, political parties, and organizations, together with electoral cases. The hierarchy of the judicial system runs from the Supreme Court at the apex, followed by the court of appeal (Mank, 211). The California superior courts lie at the primary levels and are situated in all the counties of California. In the election of judges, California applies a revised Missouri Plan, which provides that judges should be nominally elected at the superior levels after a first appointed by the governor. However, at the higher levels, judges are appointed by the governor, although it’s subject to the retention of the elections.
Comparing the Government Structure of California with Texas
Both Texas and California’s governments have similar branches of the executive, legislative council, and the judiciary charged with the same responsibilities. However, several differences identified at various platforms, include the composition and the election of the officeholders in each of the branches. The first difference is on the structure of the executive, which unlike the Californian version, includes the comptroller of public accounts, commissioners of agriculture and land, the attorney general, and representatives from the State Board of Education and the Texas Railroad Commission (Suro, 10). Finally, the executive also contains the secretary of the State. Like in California, the lieutenant governor is the head of the Senate while the governor heads the whole State.
All the members of the executive are elected independently except the secretary of State, hence they are not directly answerable to the governor of Texas. The legislature in Texas also has a bicameral form of ruling with both lower house (House of Representatives) and upper house (the Senate). The lower house has a total of 150 elected members, while the Senate has a total of 31 members. In the whole of the United States of America, Texas’ court system is known to be the most complex among other systems (Janiskee, Ken and Christina, 33). The State has only two courts; that is, the Texas Supreme Court (hearing civil cases) and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (hearing political-related cases). Unlike in California, where the election of judges depends on court levels, members of Texas courts are elected throughout the State except for vacant positions where the governor is eligible to appoint a temporary holder.
The Overall Impression of the Paper
This paper is critical as it identifies the similarities and differences of the political systems in Texas and California. Some of the effects of policies can be gauged and changed based on their performances and acceptability in the areas of application. For example, we have realized the massive difference in voter turnout between Texas and California arising from the tightness of the electoral policies. Therefore, Texas, which is the most affected State should borrow from California to use open and straightforward rules that allows every eligible person to practice their political and democratic rights. The paper also shows that a unitary president rules the United States of America. Still, each of the states has a vital role to perform in ensuring the political structure, economic stability, and the social awareness of the people. California is known for having a higher population of immigrants and the homeless, especially in its city of Los Angeles. The State administration thus needs to borrow some laws and policies from Texas to ensure that the issues two issues and many others are dealt with accordingly.
In essence, California and Texas shoe a more or less similar structure of the governments governing the respective states. Texas is found to be heavily dominated by the Republican Party while California remains a trustee and a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party. Many other differences are spotted on the organization of each of the branches of the government, with Texas having the most complex court system consisting of only two levels, unlike California, which has the apparent scheme. Both Texas and California face some issues (electoral policies in Texas and economic problems in California), which should make them borrow strategies from each other to create a foundation for a better place.
Works CitedEskenazi, Brenda, et al. “Association of perceived immigration policy vulnerability with mental and physical health among US-born Latino adolescents in California.” JAMA pediatrics (2019). 744–753
Hajnal, Zoltan, Nazita Lajevardi, and Lindsay Nielson. “Voter identification laws and the suppression of minority votes.” The Journal of Politics 79.2 (2017): 363-379.
Hyinks, Benard L., and David H. Provost. “Voters, Nominations and Elections.” Politics and Government in California, 17th ed., Pearson Education Inc., 2015, pp. 65-79.
Janiskee, Brian P., Ken Masugi, and Christina G. Villegas. Democracy in California: Politics and Government in the Golden State. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2019.25- 45
Mank, Bradford C. “State Standing in United States v. Texas: Opening the Floodgates to States Challenging the Federal Government, or Proper Federalism.” U. Ill. L. Rev. (2018): 211.
Matsusaka, John G. “Ballot order effects in direct democracy elections.” Public choice 167.3-4 (2016): 257-276.
Rodriguez, Jason M., and Marybeth Shinn. “Intersections of family homelessness, CPS involvement, and race in Alameda County, California.” Child abuse & neglect 57 (2016): 41-52.
Suro, Roberto. “California dreaming: The new dynamism in immigration federalism and opportunities for inclusion on a variegated landscape.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 3.1 (2015): 1-25.