Repeal The 17th Amendment

Part 1 of a 3 part series

While waiting for a train the other day an older gentleman asked me, “What do you think of the U.S. Senate races in 2016?”

I told him that Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution says, “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof.” The 17th Amendment changed this to the popular vote system we have today and that was a mistake that needs to be fixed. This is one of the most significant changes to the original document because it altered the balance of powers. The House is elected by the people, the Senate by the states, and the president by the Electoral College. This structure gave us a balance between the popular will of the people and the collective will of democratically elected representatives. Remember now, this is a republic, not a direct democracy. But the 17th Amendment changed the balance by tilting the scales in favor of the people, the people who vote in depressingly low numbers, the people who can’t name their state or local representatives, the people who hardly pay attention to politics but have no trouble at the ballot box thanks solely to the sample ballot they received on their way into the polls.

He said, “Huh?”

I continued by letting him know the Founders believed in a division of powers so that no one majority could dominate another. The people would still have their voice heard as to who should be their senator at the federal level because they get to choose their state senator and their state delegate or whatever. Those state representatives would then represent their constituents in their state’s own little electoral college for picking senators. The people would of course still retain the popular vote for the House, but power of voting will be more evenly dispersed throughout the republic with the states getting their fair share.

While advocates of the 17th Amendment believed the people would be brought closer to the process, the opposite as been seen. State-wide elections are tough with a lot of geography to cover. Those campaigns have created an impersonal relationship with their potential voters as a candidate shots around a busy state. State legislators, on the other hand, have a much closer relationship with their constituents (ever been to Albo-Palooza?). State Legislators have the opportunity to seek and receive feed back at a personal level and then answer to the responsibility of their choice as part of a voter’s consideration in the voting booth come re-election.

As I continued I could tell that this guy’s surprise was not turning into curiosity, which didn’t really matter because I was not going to stop talking about how the 17th Amendment needs to be repealed so that our Republic can be restored.

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Tune in tomorrow for part 2 of Repeal the 17th Amendment. Same Red NoVA channel, same Red NoVA time.

  • Manny

    Absolute agree. The Senate is supposed to represent the states, in the abstract sense.

    My other reforms:
    Increase the size of the House (I would have no problem with something like 2000 Reps)
    Increase the number of justices on the SC (image not having to worry about what side of the bed Kennedy woke up on).
    Term limits (2 terms for any office).