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Repeal the 17th

| Opinion | April 11, 2019

Dear Reader,

I must admit that a day does not pass where I am not appalled by leftist making a unified assault against our Republic. I remember the words attributed to Benjamin Franklin. By tradition, when he walked out the doors of the Constitutional Convention, someone shouted out, “Dr. Franklin, what type of government did you give us?” He responded by saying, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” A Republic; not some sweetened version of democratic socialism. Not one concerned with the rights of the State, but rather the rights of the individual citizen and the states. (Not “state.”) The recent call for the elimination of the Electoral College is a call to dissolve our Republic.

Over one hundred years ago, a major support for states rights and a protection from tyranny was altered, and our country is the lesser for it.

When our founders, led by James Madison, wrote and approved the Constitution of the United States, they had a very different vision for how Senators are elected than they are under the current law. Just like the Electoral College, the Senate was designed to represent the interests of the individual states. It was written to be a further protection from the tyranny of the majority. The House of Representatives was designed to represent the will of the people and encouraged that the Representatives be close to their constituents by having a short term of only two years.

The Constitution made it clear how our Senators were to be selected.

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“Article 1, Section. 3: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six years; and each senator shall have one vote.”

Notice how it states that the two Senators for each state were to be chosen by the state’s Legislature and not by a general election. It was another example that we have a representative form of government and not a democracy. The people of the state directly voted for their state legislators and the legislators selected their two representatives to the U.S. Senate. The Senators answered only to the State Legislature, with no need to market themselves to the public. They had little outside influence other than their own legislature that could affect their decisions. It was a great system to make sure that their first interest concerned what would benefit their state.

That all changed on May 13, 1912, when Article1, Section 3 was modified by the passage of the 17th Amendment. The important change in the text is as follows:

17th Amendment

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each senator shall have one vote.”

“Elected by the people thereof” changed everything. Now senators needing funds for massive statewide campaigns are open to influence from donors all over the country. For example, I donated to Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. I was happy to do so. However, now I receive solicitations for his Texas state senate campaigns. I live in California and I believe it is wrong for me to be a source of outside influence in Texas politics. Do you believe that our U.S. Senators should be beholden to rich oilmen in Texas? I believe it’s time to repeal the 17th Amendment and help preserve the Republic.

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About Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith is a graduate of UCLA and has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area his entire life. In 2010 and 2012 he was the Republican Party endorsed candidate running against longtime incumbent Xavier Becerra, for the House of Representatives in the United States Congress. He admits to having a bias in favor of our Nation's founding principles. Stephen can be contacted at smith4liberty@outlook.com

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