Skip to comments.Repeal the 17th Amendment?
Posted on 08/25/2010 7:07:09 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I should start by acknowledging that repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment is hardly a mainstream issue and certainly not anything likely to come about (which is an understatement). However, the fact that there are people out there seeking its repeal is sufficient to garner comment, especially since said persons were significant enough within factions of the Tea Party movement to actually get some Senate candidates to state that they were in support of the repeal.
Further, every once in a while I will get a commenter who is favor a repeal, so it seems worth some discussion.
The proximate cause of this post is the following from TPMDC: Tea Party-Backed Repeal Of The 17th Amendment Gets Republicans Into Trouble
The “Repeal The 17th” movement is a vocal part of the overall tea party structure. Supporters of the plan say that ending the public vote for Senators would give the states more power to protect their own interests in Washington (and of course, give all of us “more liberty” in the process.) As their process of “vetting” candidates, some tea party groups have required candidates to weigh in on the idea of repeal in questionnaires. And that’s where the trouble starts.
In Ohio, Steve Stivers — the Republican attempting to unseat Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in the state’s 15th District — came under fire from Democrats when it was revealed he had checked the box saying he would repeal the 17th Amendment on a tea party survey (see question 11 here).
(Excerpt) Read more at outsidethebeltway.com ...
I’m in favor of repealing the 17th as well (why bother with a bicameral legislature if you keep it, anyway?) But the vast majority of people would have their eyes glaze over if you tried to explain why. (In brief: Prior to the 17th amendment, state governments had influence on federal legislation via the senators they appointed. This tended to undermine the tyrannical centralization of power that we’ve seen in the federal government in our lifetime, keeping political power more decentralized, local/grassroots in nature, and ultimately more subservient to the citizenry.)
With repeal of the 17th amendment it would make recalling your Senator much easier.
I agree with repealing the 17th. How the states let go of this power is unfathomable to me. It was a wholesale destruction of state powers and a huge leap in destroying states rights, which is what those advocating a powerful central government want (it’s easier to rule over the people that way . . . ).
Repeal of the 17th would go a long way into making all politics local again.
Who woulda thunk it? ;-)
"How much am I bid for this man's senate seat? Do I hear an undersecretary position and $1,000,000? Ambassadorship and $1,500,000?"
I was far more eager to repeal the 17th before Blago was caught selling a seat in the Senate.
Anyway, the specific reason as I understand it for the 17th amendment was to broaden democracy, and counter what had become a fairly corrupted process at the state level, where people could buy senatorial seats by bribing the legislature back home without the world finding out about it.
Somehow, fools like Teddy Roosevelt thought it would be cleaner if the scoundrels bribed "the people" directly.. Go figure.
Now, in the age of pervasive communication and news coverage, it would make good sense to restore the elements of federalism that were sacrificed back then, and strengthen the people by decentralizing power.
Because congressional seats represent regional interest and senate seats represent geographic interests. In many states, it's vastly different when you look at their house delegation compared to their senate delegation. Both in the kind of people they elect and how many they elect. Hence South Dakota's elected officials have a lot more weight in the Senate than in the House, whereas Texas' elected officials have a lot more weight in the House than in the Senate. Michigan's Senate delegation is all liberal Democrat because Democrats outnumber Republicans statewide, whereas Michigan's house delegation is majority conservative Republican because there are large pockets of GOP areas around the state. And so on.
>> But the vast majority of people would have their eyes glaze over if you tried to explain why. <<
I understand the "reasons" given for repealing the 17th, and it only makes sense if you're in ALSO favor of repealing the 11th amendment as well so you can "go back to the original system the founders established" for electing the executive branch of government. In such a scenario, John McCain would become Obama's veep.
Hickley buzzard, are you also in favor of abolishing recall elections, referendum votes, direct initative, term limits, and selecting party nominees by primary elections instead of closed-door party conventions? How about giving women the right to vote, are you against that?
All of these things became popular and were first enacted into law during the "progressive era". Are we to presume ALL of them are bad by default? Speaking for myself, I wish we had term limits and recall elections here in Illinois.
You correctly point out that there are differences now between house and senate delegations (mostly due to gerrymandering), but miss the larger point that state governments have been transformed into powerless administrative provinces of the federal government, short of secession.
The 17th fails on its own merits - it's a century-old experiment, and its time to recognize it as a failure and end it before more damage is done.
I concur. Repeal the 17th, and gives the STATES a voice in the satanic Fed.gov!
I’ve been in support of repealing the 17th Amendment for a long time now.
It’s not a failure. By your methods, all you do is put half (or more) of the Senate seats out of permanent reach of electing Republicans. Direct elections ensure that EVERY state has a shot at doing so, including even Massachusetts (Brown’s election would never have occurred with a 90% Democrat legislature).
Repeal the 19th Amendment.
It lays out the common reasons why the 17th passed, and then tries to disprove them by pointing out incongruities in the arguments, and then finally explains a market within the Senate for trading political votes based on longevity (the ability to back up the promise of future votes due to the guarantee of being there).
The bottom line is that the original system wasn't corrupt enough, which is why the 17th was passed -- to give Senators (as power brokers) the ability to promise to deliver legislation because of the guarantee of remaining in the Senate long enough to make good on trades for votes.
While we are still likely to end up with corrupt hacks in the Senate, at least they will be beholden to the interests of their own state.
As it is, money for senate campaigns come in throughout the country, and we end up with senators who are more beholden to Wall Street or the banks or the high-tech or medical industries.
No, we cannot escape corrupt politicians but we can at least try to direct their corruptness to our own states.
“The bottom line is that the original system wasn’t corrupt enough, which is why the 17th was passed”