In this “Money With Mak and G” podcast episode, Mak & G are looking at the presidential election, how it all works, and why voting is so important.
The presidential election is in full swing and it looks like it’s going to be extremely close.
This episode, Mak & G look at how elections work, how we can decide who to vote for, and why voting is so important…
“Even if most people vote for one candidate it doesn’t mean that candidate wins.” – G
“There will always be two sides to an argument, and it takes a smart person to be able to think about them both and work out what to do.” – Mak
01:30 – The US Presidential election.
02:07 – What the electoral college is and how it works.
03:46 – Why COVID made it more difficult to work out who won the election.
05:07 – What voter turnout means and how many people voted in this election.
06:13 – How close this presidential election has been.
06:55 – The differences between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
10:06 – How to decide who to vote for in a presidential election.
11:55 – Different voting rules countries have.
12:30 – Why it’s important to vote for what you believe in.
13:27 – How to know what’s fake news and what’s legitimate.
15:20 – How presidential elections affect the market.
Connect with Ben Jones:
MAK: Hey Grant! Am I ever excited to finish our Jeff Bezos story. Last week was wild! Helicopter crashes, famous country singer cousins, acting in a Star Trek movie…a LOT to take in!
GRANT: Agree! But wait Mak, I have an idea.
MAK: Uh-oh, I do NOT like the sound of that. Every time you have an idea we end up in trouble.
GRANT: I can’t disagree with ya there sis. But hey, it’s what keeps life interesting. Anyway this is NOT one of those ideas. This is a good idea.
MAK: Ok…talk to me.
GRANT: Weeeell I thought instead of finishing that CRAZY Bezos story, we should probably talk about this OTHER little thing everyone’s talking about.
MAK: You mean how you’re going to be able to play Fortnite on iPhones again? I know! You must be pretty happy about that.
GRANT: I am. But no…that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the US Presidential Election.
MAK: Oh yeah…guess that is a pretty big deal.
GRANT: It sure is. So let’s do this. And then get back to Bezos next week.
MAK: DEAL! So where do we even begin…it’s just been a crazy week right.
GRANT: TOO crazy! So many weird things are happening, and everyone is saying different things. SO confusing. Where do we start?? I think… The most important thing is to understand something called the “Electoral College”.
MAK: Right. That’s the system that decides who wins the election right?
GRANT: Exactly. What I don’t understand is why it isn’t just the person with the most votes who wins.
MAK: That is pretty confusing. But the easiest way to think about it is that each state has a certain number of elected government officials. So Alaska only has 3, but California has the most, it has 55!
GRANT: OK so if I was running for President, and most voters in California vote for me, I get 55 points.
MAK: Pretty much! And whoever gets to the magic number first – by winning different states – wins and becomes President.
GRANT: And that magic number is…270! Because it’s just over half of the total number of “points” available across all the states, which is 536.
MAK: You got it! Which means that the total number of people voting for each candidate nationwide, called the “popular vote”, doesn’t actually matter so much.
GRANT: Weird. So even if most people vote for one candidate, it doesn’t mean that candidate wins. Got it. So what happened this time?
MAK: Well, the most obvious thing to say about that is…it was real, real close…
GRANT: No kidding!
MAK: And in fact, right now as we speak it sounds like it’s Biden, but there will still be stuff that needs to be done.
GRANT: Yea. It’s weird since the voting finished about a week ago!
MAK: Yeah, what’s up with that?
GRANT: Well Mak, it’s complicated. But there are three BIG REASONS why it’s taking so long. And the first one is this: Coronavirus.
MAK: WHAT? How does that make it take so long?
GRANT: Well because people were worried about going in person to vote, and maybe risk catching covid, a lot of people voted by mail.
MAK: You mean, like snail mail, with a stamp? You can do that?
GRANT: Yep! You get a little form in the mail, you tick your choice, sign it and send it back by mail.
MAK: Huh. Seems simple enough. That’s what mom and dad should’ve done.
GRANT: Yeah, it is pretty simple. But a lot of states count these votes LAST, and this year because of Covid there were MILLIONS of them, so it’s taking a long time.
MAK: Right. So, what were the other two reasons?
GRANT: Well BIG REASON number two is because of something called voter turnout, which just means how many people turned out to vote in this election.
MAK: Right, and I heard it was A LOT this time. It looks like its close to 70% of the voter population.
GRANT: Is that high? Shouldn’t everyone vote, like 100%?
MAK: Yea, they should. But, normally, it’s in the 50% range. So this is INSANELY high for an election. We’re talking about 160 million votes, and they all have to be counted BY HAND.
GRANT: Ouch. That’ll take time FOR SURE.
MAK: It will. You know what G, I think I can guess your last reason why it’s so slow.
GRANT: Go for it Mak!
MAK: Is it because it’s just really REALLY close?
GRANT: You got it! In fact it’s come down to just a few states where the difference between the candidates is less than 1%!!
MAK: Wow. That IS close. So that means they have to count all the votes AGAIN just to make sure they got it right.
GRANT: Exactly. I cannot imagine how boring that must be.
MAK: I guess. But they are deciding who will be the next President, so it really matters.
GRANT: You’re right. It really does. So I guess we should get to know the candidates a little better?
MAK: We should. Let’s start with President Trump. He’s running for a second term.
GRANT: Ok. And a term lasts four years right?
MAK: It does. Trump represents the Republican party, also known as the G-O-P.
GRANT: GOP? Let me guess…Good for Old People?
MAK: Ha! Nice G. But, it actually means “Grand Old Party”, which is an old name. They favor lower taxes, helping businesses grow and encouraging investing. It prefers to control immigration which means those who come to live in the US from other countries.
GRANT: Ok, and his opponent is Joe Biden right?
MAK: You got it. And he represents the Democratic party.
GRANT: And they are more in favor of helping people in financial need through social welfare. This is done by raising taxes. They like to help protect the environment, and support the rights of minorities in general.
MAK: Interesting. So it sounds like both parties have some good ideas. How do people decide who they’re going to vote for?
GRANT: That’s a good question, I think we should see what Dad says.
DAD: What’s up guys!
GRANT: Dad, what are you doing?
MAK: Yeah dad, I gotta say it smells amazing in here.
DAD: Why thank you Makenna. I am perfecting the art of the BARRRRRISTA. Ciao bella.
GRANT: That’s funny, because it looks like you’re making coffee.
DAD: Bingo G, a barista, is an expert coffee-maker. It’s Italiano, and they would know. MMMM that Espresso is-a molto-bello…
MAK: OK dad but it’s hot water and coffee, how hard can it be?
DAD: That’s where you’re wrong Mak! The beans must be evenly ground. The water must be a perfect 187.5° fahrenheit, the filter must be washed, the ratio of water to coffee must be perfect…
GRANT: Ok dad, I think you’ve finally gone crazy. Sounds like you’re in love…
DAD: I haven’t even got started on milk frothing yet.
MAK: Ok ok ok dad, enough already. Grant and I were talking about the election and we have some questions.
DAD: The election? Which election? Did I miss something?
MAK: Dad, the PRES-I-DENT-SH-IAL election!
DAD: I’m just kidding guys, it’s all we’re hearing about right now-24/7! So what are your questions?
GRANT: Well first off we were trying to figure out how people decide who to vote for, Republican or Democrat.
DAD: Well that’s a complicated decision Grant, and there are lots of answers. One is, a lot of people tend to vote the way they’ve always voted, it can be hard to change someone’s mind once they’re settled.
MAK: Yeah kind of like when you and mom won’t let us stay up late and watch TV, it’s a pretty short negotiation.
GRANT: No kidding. Iron will.
DAD: And for good reason, you’ll thank me when you’re older! But another way people decide how to vote is to look at what the candidate or party says they’re going to do, and decide if they agree with it or not.
MAK: What kind of thing dad?
DAD: Some questions are on healthcare, how much tax we’ll pay if things change, will they change how the government helps people. There are a bunch of BIG questions. It can affect each person differently.
GRANT: So if you have your own business, and they’re going to reduce business taxes, you’d probably vote for them?
DAD: You got it!
MAK: Or if you are unemployed, or sick, and need support, you’d vote for the person who says they’re going to use money from people’s taxes to help you out?
DAD: Exactly! So voting is a really personal choice, and it has some big money consequences, which we’ve spoken about in taxes and the US budget. It will also affect the stock market.
GRANT: That makes sense. But, don’t some people vote because they like the way the person looks or how they act?
DAD: That’s absolutely true. I think they want someone who can represent the US in a good way.
MAK: Well, there’s been a lot of talk about that in the news, for sure.
DAD: There sure has been. It’s really important to know what’s important to you. You should take it seriously because there are countries where voting is limited or restricted.
GRANT: If that happens, I guess it means you’d have a limited or restricted voice in what happens.
MAK: Dad, I read there are countries where it’s mandatory to vote or you get in trouble or get a fine.
DAD: That’s true, but it’s also Wo-mandatory too!
MAK/GRANT: DAD, that was bad.
DAD: Ok, couldn’t resist, since a woman’s right to vote around the world has been hard. Ok, so do you think you got it?
GRANT: Got it. OK, one more question dad. We live in Indiana, which I read has only voted Democrat TWICE since 1940! So why bother voting Democrat here if you know you’re going to lose?
MAK: That’s a great question Grant.
DAD: It really is. But, if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about what the government does if you lose. Voting is your voice, it’s the way you get to decide how the country is run. It’s SUPER important!
MAK: Right, and I guess even those two times Indiana voted Democrat, that wouldn’t have happened if people hadn’t bothered voting.
DAD: Exactly. The same thing is true in other states that usually vote Democrat, but have from time to time voted Republican, like California.
GRANT: OK dad, one last question. Mak and I did a ton of reading to learn about all this stuff, but it’s SUPER confusing! There are so many different stories going around, it’s hard to know what’s right.
DAD: You are exactly right. Especially since the Internet came along, we’ve had access to SO much information which ANYONE can put out there.
MAK/GRANT: FAKE NEWS!
DAD: Right! That’s a phrase you hear a lot these days.
GRANT: But how can you tell?
DAD: It’s almost impossible to always be sure. So. The greatest thing you guys can learn is to THINK FOR YOURSELVES, do your research, and form your own opinions. In fact, I have an awesome quote.
MAK: He’s always got a handy quote hey G…
GRANT: He sure does…let’s hear it dad.
DAD: Ok, it’s by a writer called F Scott Fitzgerald.
GRANT: I know him, he wrote a book called The Great Gatsby. A classic!! It got made into a movie starring Leonardo di Caprio. Very interesting.
DAD: That’s the guy! Good knowledge G-man. He said “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
MAK: I like that. So he’s saying there are always two sides to an argument and it takes a smart person to be able to think about them both and work out what to do?
DAD: Exactly. It’s a pretty good skill to have in life, especially in crazy moments like after this election.
GRANT: Wow we really covered a lot of ground today!
MAK: True, my brain is full, but F. Scott Fitzgerald would be proud that we’re looking at both sides.
GRANT: He would!! Let’s go check the news again and hear what’s going on with the red/blue map.
DAD: One more thing before you go…until next time…
Ben’s 2 Cents
These are crazy times and it’s likely that by the time you hear this, the story will have changed again!
The reality is that any time a major election is super close, like this one DEFINITELY was, it usually gets a little messy. After all, the winner gets to be President of one of the most powerful nations in the world. So it’s a big deal!
What does all this mean for money? Well, at first the financial markets took a little dip as things looked so uncertain, and as we know, money HATES uncertainty! So that might mean investments decrease in value for a period of time. But they recovered super fast once things started to get a little clearer. The long-term impact is pretty hard to predict, but it’s likely that further Covid measures are going to be put in place, which will cost the government money…that can only mean one thing.
GRANT: more taxes. So, hold on tight.
We hope you have enjoyed this special edition of Money with Mak & G. Thank you for being here. It means the world to us. Please like, subscribe, and, most importantly, REVIEW us, wherever you get your podcasts. We need your help in getting the word out. Nothing helps us more. Until next time. Bye!