Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska is calling for the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution that calls for the election of Senators by popular vote and return the selection to state legislatures.
Sasse argues that returning control to state legislatures would be a way of increasing local control in the Senate in a time of polarization and nationalization in politics.
“Different states bring different solutions to the table, and that ought to be reflected in the Senate’s national debate,” he wrote. “The old saying used to be that all politics is local, but today—thanks to the internet, 24/7 cable news and a cottage industry dedicated to political addiction—politics is polarized and national. That would change if state legislatures had direct control over who serves in the Senate.”
Yes indeed…different states bring different solutions…and we clearly see that today. Changing the process of selecting senators won’t change that for good or bad.
And yes, politics is polarized and in some ways national. But the popular election of senators in some ways negates that national influence…and we could take that influence out of state politics in even a bigger way if we took national money out of the elections. I advocate for campaign finance reform: if you can’t vote for a candidate, you can’t contribute to the candidate. Simple, direct, non-discriminating.
Now if the 17th Amendment were repealed, what would the effect be in Wisconsin? Well right now depending on the candidate and the turnout, Wisconsin is a relatively purple state for statewide elections. And right now we have Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Ron Johnson as our senators.
But given the solid majority enjoyed by the Republicans in both houses of Wisconsin’s heavily gerrymandered legislature, Wisconsin would be sending two Republicans to Washington.
It is never a good idea to take votes out of the hands of American citizens…even for the US Senate…as a matter of fact we should be pushing for the direct election of the United States President as well…and eliminate the Electoral College.