by Duane Norman, Free Market Shooter
Following the ultra-partisan confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, mainstream media suggested that the US Senate over-represented America’s interests, and alluded to possible changes:
It may not happen in our lifetimes, but the idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change. “Senators representing less than half the U.S. are about to confirm a nominee opposed by most Americans” t.co/DAZWYT9Txg
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) October 6, 2018
Sadly, WaPo is pushing for a plan that involves a large number of people congregating in a few urban areas, dictating their will to the rest of the country. This mob rule wouldn’t solve anything, except perhaps pushing America towards a second civil war…
Take note, Trump won about 85% of the counties in the US. That's a lot of land area to control if those voters just say "no" to the plan, secede, and force the urban voters to take the fight to them.
— FMShooter (@fmshooter) October 7, 2018
…but a different reform could improve the hyper-partisan nature of today’s elections – repeal of the 17th amendment.
Most people don’t even know what the 17th amendment is, much less what it did to our elections. Prior to the 17th, US Senators were elected by state legislatures, with the 17th changing it to the popular vote system we have today. The two primary reasons cited for the change were – legislative corruption, and electoral “deadlock” – both of which were far more infrequent than claimed, according to The Federalist.
Of course, it was none other than the progressive movement that was able to spearhead this change to the Constitution:
The progressives dealt with this roadblock to their agenda by spreading “fake news.” Media mogul William Randolph Hearst and his “yellow journalists” spread the idea of widespread senatorial corruption using flamboyant headlines like “The Treason of the Senate.”
Over time, people began to believe the lie. In a grassroots rebellion, they elected state representatives who supported direct election of senators. When 31 states passed resolutions calling for an amendment, Congress finally capitulated.
Thus, out of manufactured hysteria over nonexistent corruption, the Seventeenth Amendment was born, robbing states of their most notable constitutional check on federal lawmaking in the name of “democracy.” Ever since, states have been reduced to hiring lobbyists to influence federal policy. In 2009, state and local governments spent more than $83.5 million on such efforts.
Somehow progressives were able to con the public into believing it was easier to corrupt thousands of state legislators (currently 7,330) instead of just corrupting the Senate elections themselves, as noted by The Nationalist Review:
What's easier? Buying 3,000 legislative offices by funding 6,000 campaigns… OR buying 100 legislative offices by funding ~66 campaigns every 2 years?
(Math being # of seats x 2 since there are two main candidates running in each election)
— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) September 17, 2018
In addition, direct election of Senators caused citizens to care less about their own state’s politics, ceding an increasing amount of authority to federal officials that have been increasingly corrupted by national parties, which spend millions campaigning for Senators every two years:
Direct elections require Senators to build a statewide electioneering machine to win office. This is an expensive proposition. In fact, the average cost to win a Senate seat is $10.4 million—10 times the average expense of a successful House of Representatives race. The large amount of money necessary to win and hold a seat requires Senators to curry favor with interest groups, corporations, and big-dollar donors. Many argue that campaign contributors receive much greater access and influence than the average citizen in exchange for their donations.
Repeal of the 17th amendment would ultimately have Senators represent their state’s interests far more than the national political party, with local elections taking on added importance. The decentralization of power would also make it far more difficult for special interests to control Senators’ votes, as doing so would involve controlling thousands of local races, as opposed to just a small number of Senate elections.
The Daily Bell did the math on just how much more representation each voter would be getting if the 17th amendment was repealed:
Remember, your vote for state Rep and state Senate actually matter… in these small districts you have 105x and 39x more power than in a state-wide race.
So compared to the US Senate race, your vote has a MUCH higher probability of influencing 2 seats out of the 144 member legislature (39 Senators + 105 Reps).
If both your choices get elected, you have chosen 1.4% of the state legislators who will choose your US Senator.
But your vote for US Senate in the state-wide race gives you just .00002% say in who gets elected US Senator.
If both your choices for state Rep and state Senate get elected, you have 70,000 times more control over who gets elected US Senator.
The numbers don’t lie – repeal of the 17th amendment would not only give voters a bigger voice in deciding who gets elected to the Senate, it would give voters more interest in (and control over) their own state governments, which might finally hamstring an already omnipotent federal government.
As The Nationalist Review again articulates, the progressive push for direct democracy has further cemented the “rule of mob” into American politics:
Never realized how much I respected @ChrisStirewalt.
— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) September 29, 2017
The 17th amendment has thus been one of the worst modifications to the US Constitution in our 242-year history. It has removed much of the impetus for voters to change politics at the local level, instead federalizing even more power in Washington DC. Designed to give voters more say in their representation, the 17th instead changed the Senate to become far more similar to the House, only with special interests and political parties exerting far more control over Senators than the voters.
Sadly, repeal of the 17th amendment is as unlikely to happen as it would be good for the country. Who really believes progressives and big business would allow that much power to be ceded without a monstrous fight?