by Rod D. Martin
October 12, 2018
Fun fact: if the 17th Amendment were repealed, it would radically change the composition of the Senate. Here’s why, and how.
The 17th gave us direct election of Senators. Previously (as in, from 1788 to 1912, which is to say, the way the Founding Fathers designed it), the state legislatures picked Senators. The idea was that the House of Representatives would directly represent the interests of the people, while the Senate would represent the interests of the sovereign states (and thus federalism, and thus block unconstitutional centralization and taxes). If the two could agree, than something should happen; if they couldn’t, it probably shouldn’t.
Just as so-called “progressives” pushed for the abolition of this system, they are now calling for the abolition of the Electoral College (which would result in a handful of coastal cities — and all their illegal aliens and big-city machines –determining the outcome of every Presidential election, of course). And they benefitted from the change. A lot.
How much? Well, let’s take a look.
Currently, Republicans have 51 out of 100 U.S. Senators (hardly any of whom represent the interests of federalism, needless to say). But if state legislatures picked Senators again, here are the numbers. There are currently 32 Republican-controlled state legislatures, 14 Democrat, and 4 divided (one party controls one house, the other controls the other). So assuming that the latter four were to pick one Senator from each party, there would be a whopping 68 GOP Senators, vs. 32 Democrats (not even two thirds).
That’s a more than 2/3 majority: enough to convict impeached officials, enough to amend the Constitution, enough to confirm anyone or pass…anything. Not in the House: that would still be a huge limiter. But the difference is extraordinary. And it also makes state elections vastly more important, resulting in vastly more civic involvement at the local and state levels, a positive good for everyone.
Oh, and interestingly enough? Bernie Sanders would not be a Senator at all.