Skip to comments.Georgia Legislators Propose Ending Direct Election of Senators—Why Not Just Get Rid of the Senate?
Posted on 02/17/2013 10:14:16 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
It is a matter of public record that the United States Senate is a terrible place where serious policy issues are ignored; routine votes are occasionally delayed over concerns about non-existent terrorist groups; and proverbial cans are proverbially kicked down the proverbial road of sadness, gridlock, and despair.
What's less clear is why the Senate is such a congress of louts. Is it the endless pressure to raise money? The never-ending campaign? The fact that Americans hold lots of substantive disagreements on important things and are themselvesit's been saidsomewhat dysfunctional?
Actually, according to Georgia state Rep. Buzz Brockaway, the biggest problem with the Senate is that it's democratically elected. Brockaway, a Republican, has introduced a bill in the state legislature to repeal the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of senators, and instead restore the responsibility of choosing members to state legislatures (as was the process until 1913).
The bill, HR 273, laments that "the Seventeenth Amendment has resulted in a large federal government with power and control that cannot be checked by the states," and suggests that "the original purpose of the United States Senate was to protect the sovereignty of the states from the federal government and to give each individual state government representation in the federal legislative branch of government."
If the bill passed, Georgia would be the first state to endorse repealing the 17th Amendment, but the idea has gained traction among conservatives over the last few decades. Texas Gov. Rick Perry supports it; so do GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona. (Republican Indiana Sen. candidate Richard Mourdock endorsed the idea during his campaign last year, before, in an ironic twist, losing the popular vote.) As Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald noted in 2012, conservatives blame the 17th Amendment for trampling over the rights of states by changing the constituency to which senators are accountable.
Of course, introducing a bill is the easy part. Getting voters to agree to give up their right to vote will probably be a tough sell.
“Buzz Brockaway” who couldnt trust someone with a name like that?
I like it.
I think we should allow state legislatures to choose at least one of the two Senators from each state
I don’t get this and I’m not sure I like it—someone convince me otherwise.
“Getting voters to agree to give up their right to vote will probably be a tough sell.”
Do we even HAVE a “vote” anymore?-—
Just who is going to be in a position to “affect” this? Someone we “voted” for?
The Senate is probably the most unAmerican institution in the country.
I agree. Senators originally were to champion their State’s interests from being encroached upon by the Federal Government.
Once direct elections were enacted, we’ve seen a massive power grab by Washington, and the Senate has lost its connection to the constituent states.
Yes. But have you considered that those state legislatures would pick someone to the left of the voters every time. No one to the right of Dianne Feinstein would ever be in the Senate again.
“No one to the right of Dianne Feinstein would ever be in the Senate again.”
Perhaps that problem could be solved by requiring the first Senate seat to be appointed by the state assembly majority leader and the second seat appointed by the state assembly minority leader?
Is this guy on drugs or what? Nobody is losing their right to vote.
If anything repealing the 17th would make the votes of voters much more influential, as well as being more meaningful, to the people seeking office in their own States!
That’s why we need to clean out the legisl00tures and the Republican party before actually repealing the 17th. Nothing like a crony Senate.
The math adds up from your suggestion. Majority of states under control of whatever party controls the Senate.
The house members (who originally were the ‘everyday man’ legislators), were elected. The idea being they would serve 2-4 years and go home. But the senate was appointed by (the powers that be)....really could the appointment be worse than the elected.......????
Once “appointed” (by who?), how difficult to have them removed?
Yes, the intent was to limit or end corruption in the Senate, and so the states, at the behest of their outraged constituents, basically screwed themselves over. I believe the states threatened a Constitutional Convention to enact popular elections, so the Senate passed the 17th Amendment, along with the House, and it was ratified in 1913.
Thanks for the history lesson. You just saved me from doing more research and that is always a good thing.
The powers that be
“... instead restore the responsibility of choosing members to state legislatures.”
Who “votes” THESE people into office? How vulnerable are THEY to bribes and threats?
Frankly, I think the majority of “voters” in America are too stupid...er ignorant...to understand all this.
Actually, I think an important problem is the death of the true filibuster. I think if someone wants to hold up a piece of legislation from a vote, they should have the guts to stand up and defend their views for a good long time. Also, perhaps there should be a maximum that anyone in politics can spend, so more time can be spent on actually legislating. Members of the House have it even worse as they get voted every two years, and not every 6 like Senators.
How is that going to help? A Democrat or Republican state legislature is not going to put a conservative in the Senate. Not in any one of the 50 states.
Under this system, whichever party gets to gerrymander the legislative boundaries and has the most party representatives will win. This happens every 10 years after the Census. Right now this would probably favor Republicans, but it could just as easily shift to Democrats as the more liberal young, Black, Hispanic, and gay grow in electoral strength and the more conservative elderly die off.
The words of Mark Twain come to mind iirc. Neither life nor property is secure while the legislature is in session.
You mean in places like CA, IL, NJ, and NY? They will not be elected either. I say repeal: Original intent of the Founders — they apparently had their reasons.
And, no: It will not be perfect — not by a longshot.
However, it is almost guaranteed to heighten interest in local races.....
At least as far as AL, SC, OK, and TX go.
Not sure about the other 46 states, however.
Good questions but here is the catch 22, as you know. Ask yourself your questions with the current in place method of election, and then ask yourself is selection appointment better or is election better. Then ask, why did the Founders set up selection over election for Senators. Then see post 31.
So, we need to answer a few questions to get to the bottom of whether this is a good idea.
1st: Is there more or less corruption in the Senate today than in 1913? Or more precisely, is the corruption we have now a larger or smaller problem than what we had then?
2nd: Does returning Senate appointments to the state legislature mean that a Senator would no longer be a lapdog of their specific party? The way I see it, they stay in office by supporting their state legislature even if it is Democrats. But the Democrat party itself isn’t expending resources to elect or hold them in line... right? They either support their state or they get replaced correct?
This should also in theory make it MUCH harder to get Senators to agree or operate in simple lockstep with a particular party because the party doesn’t keep them in office so much as the individual state does.
This would be a dramatic improvement over what we have now, even if the state legislature’s are mostly Democrat.
Or am I missing something?
“No-they will not be elected, either...However, it is almost guaranteed to heighten interest in local races.”
How will it heighten interest in local races—Who will be interested? Who votes for the people who vote for the people?
Georgia now has Nathan Deal as Governor whoring after federal money from this fraudulent administration to put our pre-school children into communist indoctrination schooling (get ‘em young!); Kasim Reed has been “annointed” by the lamestream media to be the “next” Barack Hussein Obama. Obama’s eligibilty vetting was “traded” for the dredging of the Savannah Port by our local gov’t “representatives”!
Will THEY have any influence?
Yeah, there was an outcry for change that resulted in the 18th Amendment also. That worked out well.
refer to post number 38.
Shhh ! You’ll upset the anti-17th diehards.
Looks as though you have been here before. I’m a newbie. Any advice?
The Senate has no legal recourse to refuse to admit the Senators elected by the State Legislatures either.
No controlling legal authority to refuse to seat them.
Don’t care what his name is, if he can get the votes.
I always viewed the 17th as the end of Federalism. Get it done, get rid of it.
Yes. If you never want to have a Conservative Senate again, repeal the 17th. One of the stupider ideas to be floated on FR in recent years... criminally stupid.
I don’t think that’s the case. Regardless, the state of government is a reflection of our collective consciousness - and that’s in a pretty sorry state right now.
I really think I misunderstood but please know fully I understand your thought on having a Conservative Senate could only come to be by repealing the 17th till or until we would be overrun with those making up the majority inside of each state becoming overwhelmingly takers instead of makers. Either way it may not matter, regrettably, if we Conservatives (here in the present) allow the takers to overrun us. And taking over our nation and states by the takers is being facilitated by those who want to make the takers rule the day and this land. Americans, in their fifties may live to see it. A prayer I do not live to see it. Thankfully I am beyond the fifties. I do not wish this upon any of our people should the takers rule the day and win. May each of us live in interesting times? If I had my way I prefer boredom. My apology for this rant.
Thank you for your response.
A party can effectively place its man in the Senate by telling the legisl00ters to vote for him, or lose funding for their next election campaigns.