Skip to comments.A Senate of the States – The 17th Amendment Part III (2018)
Posted on 01/15/2023 7:21:33 AM PST by Jacquerie
Progressives Blow Up the Framers’ Constitution.
Despite the lessons of history, Progressives promote ever more democracy, which, unless tempered and limited, is like turning one’s household over to the majority rule of teenagers. Is this household arrangement fair? Sure. It is also idiocy which no parent would consider. A senate of the states and not the parchment barriers of the Constitution stood athwart democratic rule by social justice emotions little different from those of the typical teenager.
What was the 17th Amendment (17A) supposed to do?
The post-17A senate was to respond to the people’s needs and free the senate from corruption and wealthy interests. Progressives built their movement on the promise of cleaner government less subject to corporate influence and bribery, and a more responsive and efficient senate that dealt effectively with the issues of greatest concern to the people.1
Did the 17A do what it was supposed to do?
Direct election did not diminish the role of money.
However, it incentivized senators to represent their new constituents and cooperate with initiatives from the House of Representatives.2 Once senators represented the people, a body already represented in the house, there was greater congruence between voters and their representatives in congress, with corresponding less opportunity for input from the states. For congressmen the 17A diminished opposition to their constituencies, increased their power, and made their votes more important to progressive special interests.3
What hath the 17A wrought?
No one today can formulate counterfactual certainties regarding the health of free government these past 104 years, had the nation not lost its head in Progressive vapors, had the politically erotic scent of democracy repulsed, rather than enticed. But, that doesn’t mean we cannot speculate.
The 17th Amendment:
• Encouraged explosive growth of a once-federal, now national, government.
• Is a direct assault on republicanism. The Constitution acts on the people and the states; to deny a component member of the greater republic a seat at the legislative table is tyranny. Only the occasional scotus decision stands between the states and their complete subservience to a national government.
• Rendered senators three-term congressmen in a smaller club, a more detached version of the house. The short-term memory of their constituents works in favor of multiple terms. Whatever the level of discourse at which state legislators and senators had previously conducted their mutual business, the 17A promoted future discourse at a more general level. The 17A guaranteed the ascendancy of a different kind of senator: one whose primary skills are dealing with the masses through public appearances, mailings, shallow social media, and sound bites.4
• Emasculated a once-proud senate. Rather than defend and execute its Constitutional duties the modern senate is an institution without a purpose beyond reelection of its members. Recall the Iran/Obama “deal.” The senate shamefully abrogated its duty to consent to treaties when globalist President Obama obligated the nation to subsidize the nuclear ambitions of an islamic terror-state.
• Brought instability to the law. As opposed to reps’ two-year terms, which were designed to reflect popular sentiment, six-year senatorial terms of state-appointed senators lent stability to the law. The Framers left voter qualifications to the states with the understanding of a senate strong enough to resist the popular sentiments of an ever-expanding franchise.
• Along with the 16th Amendment, the Progressive Era Amendments made the New Deal possible. The 17A led to progressive income taxation, the embodiment of the Framers’ fear of government-enforced societal “leveling.”
• Led to a politicized scotus, which at times attempts to serve the 10th Amendment political duties of the states. At other times it imposes elite social justice diktats like abortion and homosexual marriage on a defenseless society.
Led to the appointment of Social Justice Warriors to the federal bench. Absent the 17A, would lawyers with a paper trail of hostility to enumerated powers and the 9th & 10th Amendments even bother to stand for nomination?
Dis-incentivized the senate to police itself for the states' account. The task fell instead to scotus, which soon found the 10th Amendment tautologous, and left most questions of state-federal relations to a political process that no longer represented the states' political interests.5
Led to scotus’ dominance of post-civil war amendments that granted congress enormous power over the states. A senate of the states made these powers safe in the hands of congress. Post-17A, the scotus interjected itself as the arbiter of due process and equal protection rights. Thanks to the 17A, and subsequent scotus abuse of the 14th Amendment, taxpayers must educate illegal aliens in public schools and illegal alien mothers may grant American citizenship to their children.
• Aided the explosion of the democratic element, i.e. voting by women, abolition of poll taxes, lowering the voting age to eighteen, extension of voting from a single day to weeks, same day registration, motor voter, voting rights for ex-convicts, and provisional ballots, . . . all of which serve to extend the franchise to an ever-expanding portion of the public. But, to what end? Has the expansion of the democratic element strengthened free government? The pull of democracy continues; witness the National Popular Vote Movement to elect presidents.
• Enhanced the influence of big-city political machines in congress. Pre-17A, the typical state legislature was mal-apportioned in favor of rural districts. Post-17A, organized urban constituencies gradually came to dominate state senatorial elections. Thanks to Progressive decisions from the early 1960s scotus, “one man, one vote” entered the national lexicon and forced revision of state constitutions nationwide. These opinions diminished the stabilizing influence of rural voters in state senates, and are largely responsible for the pending bankruptcy of several state employee pension plans.6
• Led to today’s oligarchy of Uniparty elites backed up by an unelected Deep State. On July 2nd 1787, Gouverneur Morris argued the necessity of a legislative house for the wealthy. The proper security is to form the wealthy and the less-well-off into separate institutions, such that the two forces will check each other. Unless the wealthy are corralled in a house of their own, they will infest and soon dominate the popular branch. Morris: “Let the rich mix with the poor in a commercial country, and together they will establish an oligarchy.”7
• Encouraged multiple terms in office. State legislatures abandoned senatorial elections to party machines. Party bosses, not legislative compromise, selected senatorial candidates. Pre-17A, the ambitions of state legislators helped curb multiple terms in the senate. Legislators had more natural ambition to the office and thus more incentive to watch and replace senators.8 The 17A worked against rotation or tenure limits because the elective body (the people) had less ambition to the office it controlled.
In the pre-modern Congress, senators regularly came and went. There were few senior members as the typically unstable state party situation often made senatorial reelection difficult.9
Sending “better” men and women to a popularly derived senate cannot possibly correct its inherent deficiencies. The Framers got it right. If we are to arrest and reverse our occasionally slow, yet often rapid slide into despotism, we must restore the Framers’ keystone to free government. All good things are possible with, and impossible without, repeal of the 17th Amendment.
Thankfully, joementia reminds us that none of the amendments are absolute. So, any blowback if someone infringes on the, say, 13th or 19th amendments? 🤪
Article V ping!
The 13th has been infringed on every 4 years starting with Abraham Lincoln.
In before the Convention Cowards start soiling their drawers.
Where is the movement to repeal? I can see in my minds eye right now, the arguments from Politicians that money will become all powerful in the election of Constitutional Senators. An argument that can’t possibly be seen as speaking of reality. Yet the moron masses will lap it up. They LOVE having powerful people above them. For some reason, it makes them see, themselves as more important. Though less empowered, they FEEL more empowered.
I’d bet not one American in a thousand is aware of the 17A, let alone the damage it has done.
I must admit, given the myriad Obiden/Deep State crimes and evil policies, I thought by now most every Freeper would be on board for a COS.
same with the 19th ...
From the essay:
The post-17A senate was to respond to the people’s needs and free the senate from corruption and wealthy interests. Progressives built their movement on the promise of cleaner government less subject to corporate influence and bribery, and a more responsive and efficient senate that dealt effectively with the issues of greatest concern to the people.Given the period of industrialization coming out of Reconstruction, I argued that what some saw as "wealthy interests" and "corporate influence," others might see as state industry leaders and prominent wealthy state families.
If one state was primarily controlled by lumber interests, another state dominated the iron ore industry, and a third state had large steel mills developed during the rail boom, wouldn't the legislative agendas of these states want to find a way to bring these industries together in cooperation for projects profitable to all the states, such as in housing or commercial construction?
The Senate was the place where states negotiated cooperative compacts between the leading influencers and factions within their respective states, bringing together the exploitation of regional resources in ways that a single state could not.
Today, the Compacts Clause of the Constitution seems like a dead letter. The last we heard of it was during the push to work around the Electoral College with the National Popular Vote movement. But what was the true purpose of the Compacts Clause if not to support the role of the Senate in our bicameral legislature? The Compacts Clause was a check on the Senate by requiring the House to agree to deals made in the Senate between the several states.
I'd like to see more discussion on this point of the Constitution.
Time to repeal the 17th.
Only if we could exclude "Progressives" from such an event.
My expectations are not optimistic. A Convention would be subverted by the Left before delegates were even selected. And we would get a new Constitution almost immediately in a series of new amendments and repeal of existing provisions. The first and second amendments would be gone. Lots of other stuff would be added. None of it would be an improvement.
State governments might resist the work product of a convention and refuse to ratify it. Or they might not resist. The Left would not be standing idle in the State governments if a Convention was scheduled. They would be putting maximum pressure on "Red" states to approve all of the new amendments. That would certainly include "Silver or Lead" proposals for the more difficult holdouts. They would be playing for all the marbles, forever. There are no limits on what they would do.
The Left has already cheated their way into power in the last two national elections. They are on track to do the same in 2024. Clearly, they have the manpower and organizational skills. They might very well be able to control a Convention of States and the subsequent ratification of the work product.
I see no upside to a Convention.
Let us start with this. Democracy is not what the founders gave us. Democracy fails every time it is tried, just like socialism.
Repeal of the 17th is the first item The convention of States should promulgate.
and then the 19th immediately thereafter ...
Chuckles. Strong evidence to support that.
The 17th amendment officially killed the republic. We became a RINO nation. A republic in name only.
...and it’s evil twin sister, the 16th.
Separation of electors to the Framers’ four institutions (House, Senate, Exec, Judiciary) was the foundation of separation of powers. The 17A destroyed the foundation of the senate, and with it, the entire Congress.
Fluff amendments (congressional term limits, balanced budget, etc) are worthless.
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