*sigh* Why‽ Why do want to take are ability to vote for are US Senators away from us?
Do you elect all your judges? You may elect local judges, but many places do not, and you certainly don’t elect Federal judges. Do you elect the president’s Cabinet? Do you elect the parliamentarian? Do you elect who becomes Speaker of the House? Do you choose the president’s running mate when you nominate your party’s presidential candidate?
Senators are different than judges, parliamentarians, and the Speaker of the House.
My point is that there is nothing inherent in any particular office that requires that senators be voted in directly.
I totally disagree. The US Senate represent one half of the legislative branch of our federal government. Heck if you can’t see why they should be elected, why should the House of Representative? Why should the President? Why have any elected office?
Why don’t you get upset that the other offices are not voted in, or not voted in directly (such as the Speaker)?
Why don’t we have the individual county governments in your state elect people to your state senate?
There are so many roles we do not elect? It’s not like it undermines democracy. Repealing the 17th Amendment is one of the ways I favor the democratic republic government.
I don’t get how.
Consider this: a senator is elected for six years, while a congressperson is elected for only two; senators are always two per state, while congresspeople reflect the general population. These traits were part of the Great Compromise of 1787 to ensure that small states were not overpowered by large states. But wait a second! Now that the people elect these individuals directly, these traits do not match the power granted a senator.
How does how the Senators are elected alter the traits or anything about the Great Compromise?
Because of the intent behind that compromise. It was intended that they represent the states on equal ground.
They still are, whether the people elect the members or the state government does.
Representing the people of those states is not the same thing because the difference in size/population has little meaning when representing the people directly.
They still represent the state.
Now a senator is nearly impossible to remove from office until he/she drops dead or decides to throw in the towel.
Senators can be defeated in elections. We can make it easier to remove US Senators from office if we need to without taking away the peoples’ right to vote.
For what? I have to explain you how we can make it easier to remove US Senators???
More frequent elections allow for congresspeople to be replaced more readily.
fine, change the term limits for Senators. But still have them elected by the people.
You mean the term lengths, though I would not squawk at term limits either. They are overdue!
Yes, I meant term lengths.
Also, if the population itself, instead of the state government, directly elect senators, then what is the point of having two per state?
The founders decided that we needed one legislative body where all the states were represented equally.
Listen, if representing a state government, then two senators representing that government represents equal footing. But if they are representing the state population, what difference does it make? Why should the people of North Dakota have the same amount of influence as the people of New York in federal decisions? Do you think the people care?
I don’t get your point here. The founds wanted each state represented equally in the Senate. That is done whether the people in the state elect them or whether they are elected by the state government.
The point of the Great Compromise is rooted in the nature of the American federation. E Pluribus Unum - Of many, one. The purpose was to guarantee that the rights of the states’ governments were given equal treatment. At the time, loyalty to your state was greater than loyalty to the country. States wanted an equal standing at the federal negotiating table
Since the Civil War, we have gotten away from that trend, and we likewise have abandoned the purpose of the indirect election. Now, I see little reason to fret that my state sends as many senators to Congress as California. I don’t really care that my state gets equal representation in that house.
The fact that loyalty to your state has changed since the civil war is another reason to drop the idea of state legislators picking the US Senators.
We are not safeguarding the small states when we are granting the general population proportionally larger power than the large states. We are simply divvying out the power of everyone’s vote unfairly.
I am not understanding you here. Whether elected by the people or by state legislatures, the US Senate would still represents each state equally as the founders intended.
I still don’t understand.
Now, look at the positives of having the state legislature make the call.
Yeah, US Senators win their seats by lining the pockets and kissing the a** of the members of the state legislatures and making corrupt deals. No thanks.
That is called a political bribe and it is illegal.
And of course our great members of the state legislators would never stoop to do something under the table. perish the thought. Do you honestly expect me to believe that the US Senate elections in the state legislators would never ever be corrupt? It would never be about who is doing the most favors for members of the state legislators. It would never be about getting the friends of the members of the state legislators comfy jobs in Washington? Come on!
What is not illegal, however, is lobbyists, wealthy donors, and corporations kissing the a** of directly elected senators to ensure they vote the way those influential supports desire. Might it not be nice to ensure that those interfering parties actually don’t get much say in the senators’ decision-making?
They still will even with the Senators being elected by the state legislators. Heck you could make the same argument for having the state governments pick members of the House of Representatives.
First, most people are set in their ways. Elections are decided almost entirely on the whims of the relatively few whose minds are not made up. The rest is left up to the enthusiasm of those committed to their worldview, whether they will get out and vote. But the end result on a large scale is what is called “the tyranny of the majority.”
Sorry, not following you here. Elections are decided by the voters, all of the voters.
Look at the referendum on the U.K.'s withdrawal from the EU. If you think about it, most people probably did not have their minds changed from the beginning to the end of the process.
But a relatively few did, and thus determined what, in my mind, was an economic catastrophe for Europe.
No, the few that changed their minds plus those that already had their minds made up, determined things.
What you fail to see is that large bodies of people who simply live out their lives act in a more fickle manner than a small body that deliberates over an issue. I was explaining why: because of the fairweathered decision-making of a relative few.
Nonetheless, it is still the people deciding things. I think that is what America is about.
What is interesting about deliberative bodies instead of direct democracy is that policy change does not depend on the whims of a relative few.
Again direct democracy does not depend on the whims of a few, but the whims of all that vote. I don’t get why you think the people don’t matter just because they already have their minds made up. This confuses me.
People debate and make decisions they believe will be in the lasting interest of the people.
real honest debates in Federal and state deliberative bodies are far and few between. Most of the “debates” grandstanding and for show. They come in with their minds made up long before “debate” begins.
Regardless of your cynicism about the reality of those debates, the fact of the matter is that a smaller body will make fewer decisions that change with the wind. The Senate can stop the hasty actions of the House, if needed.
The Senate can’t do that now?
Are you aware of the two bodies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom? One is a directly elected body. This is the lower house, the House of Commons. Policy is primarily determined there.
The upper house, the House of Lords, is completely unelected. Though it has changed drastically over the years, it’s role is different than the HoC, particularly in that it cannot indefinitely stop a bill from passing, but it can delay it and cause the HoC to rethink its approach. Its role, like the Senate, is to result in more deliberation. And the U.K. seems to work pretty well.
I think there are many that would want to do away with the House of Lords or have them elected. I know I would be totally against this unelected legislative body. The way the UK does it smacks of elitism. Definitely not for America.
Those decision are not sudden, but rather systematic and slow. Indirect elections can actually put a brake on kneejerk reactions. Take a look at this article where “the majority” of Britons actually oppose Brexit now.
53% to 47%, people now oppose it. Yet, that really represents the minds changing of only a relative few.
The point you are missing is that the few minds changed on matter because the numbers on both sides as a whole are very very close. This isn’t a few people deciding this, this is the whole of the country. If 90% had either voted to stay or voted to go, the minds of a few wouldn’t affect the decision at all.
The few had such an effect because the country was already just about split down the middle on the issue, and still are.
My point still holds true.
If we were to allow our state legislatures to have more of a role in the electing federal officers (i.e. senators), think of the positives. First, Americans would pay more attention to their local elections, making sure they put state legislators in place with whom they agree, and not simply voting for the president of their choice, and then marking all the members of the same party on the rest of the ticket.
Nothing is stopping the people from paying due respect to the local elections already. They are important enough already without the US Senate seats in the balance.
It’s not about respect. It’s about attention.
That is what I meant by respect, giving the elections due attention.
And I’m talking about how laws influence the way people behave. People naturally ignore local elections in greater amounts and turn out for national elections, most heavily for the presidential election.
That is their own fault. The people are free give the local elections all the attention they require. If they don’t, shame on the people.
That’s just human behavior, knowing which election might make the biggest difference in their lives.
It is also stupid. I wish people wouldn’t do it. I always consider carefully every decision on the ballot.
Second, it would allow for the legislators, who are more keenly aware of the states’ fiscal and policy needs than the average state resident, to elect a senator to represent the state government’s needs.
And I am sure state legislators would never ever put their own self interests or that of their party ahead of what was best for the state.
Why this bitter outlook towards state legislatures?
Its called politics.
Do you trust your directly elected senators to be more upstanding?
No, I don’t trust any politician.
In reality, your life should be shaped more by your state laws and lawmakers. That’s the way it was intended, and even with the erosion of state sovereignty, the state government still plays a heavier role than the federal government in your life. In the most ideal setting, I feel the state legislatures should be able to have a greater impact on federal policy.
Well that has changed more and more since the Civil War.
Remember, the state legislators are still directly elected. Now, they’ll actually be better able to perform their jobs because the federal senators would be answerable to them.
I’d rather the US Senators be answerable to the people than bureaucrats in the state legislators
The House of Representatives already does that.
I want both house to be answerable to the people.
There was a reason for the separate bodies, a reason which has been lost with Amendment #17.
And third, speaking of being answerable to them, if the senators get out of line, the state legislator could more easily remove them than we as a general population can.
Again we can make it easier to remove US Senators when necessary without taking away the peoples’ right to vote.
Fourth, those brakes I was talking about…senators would be less likely to make snap decisions based on the passing popularity of an item and would be more likely to represent the needs of the deliberative body on the state level.
But does that deliberative body always represent the will of the people of the state? I don’t think so.
Warbler, that’s my point. The tyranny of the majority is a real thing.
better the tyranny of the majority of the people, than the tyranny of the party in control of the state legislature.
Sometimes, it’s better not to represent the will of the majority, particularly on a hot issue.
That is why we have deliberative bodies rather than direct democracy.
Sometimes, it’s better to actually have people slow down and talk about things. Heck, the majority voted for Bush in 2004, though in the end, most people didn’t like him. Why don’t we throw out our representatives the moment theye stop representing the will of the people? Because those representatives have the opportunity to take part in a deliberative process and not act on impulse, like the general public have
The deliberative process is still there whether the US Senators are elected by the people or by the state governments.
(again, I cite the example that it only takes a relatively few impulsive changes of mind to change the actual majority).
again, that is only true when the people are split down the middle on an issue.
It may seem counterintuitive, but I believe repealing the 17 Amendment would actually improve the legislative process on the state and federal levels.
I couldn’t disagree with you more.
You’ve also forgotten about the problem of gerrymandering. It is possible due to gerrymandering(and it can even happen with out it), that the party in control of a state legislator is not the party favored by the people of the state. I think this is true in Pennsylvania right now. The Republicans are in control of the state legislator, but I think the majority of the people are Democrats. If we did things your way, the state would have Republican US Senators, even though the people would want Democrat US Senators.
Um…Senator Toomey is a Republican, directly elected by the people, Warb.
Way to totally ignore my point. gerrymandering is a thing, it exists and you know it. You also know it can be used undermine the will of the people and keep the minority party in control of a state legislature.
But again, that is the point. If the majority elected a Republican majority legislature, then they shouldn’t be surprised when that legislature elects a Republican senator.
With gerrymandering it is possible that the majority vote Democratic and still the Republicans end up in control of the state legislature.
Let us create a pretend state. It has 15 people in it. It has 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans. They are split up into 5 districts. They vote to elect members of the state legislature. Here are the results (D for voting democrat, D for voting republican
District 1: D,D,D
District 2: D,D,D
District 3: R,R,D
District 4: R,R,D
District 5: R,R,R
The result: 2 democrats and 3 republicans are elected to the state legislature. They in turn elect two Republicans to the US Senate, even though the majority of the state would want two Democrats to be the US Senators.
See the problem?
Speaking of the supposed ill of having representatives not always represent the will of the people, remember that sometimes, the majority may lean enough one way to put a representative in place that the people would not normally elect. Nevertheless, those representatives must represent according to what they were elected to do, even if it differs from the will of the people.
Lyman Hall said:
Mr. Secretary — Georgia seems to be split right down the middle on this issue [of American independence]. The people are against it—and I’m for it. But I’m afraid I’m not yet certain whether representing the people means relying on their judgment or on my own. So in all fairness, until I can figure it out, I’d better lean a little toward their side.
Lyman Hall later said:
In trying to resolve my dilemma I remembered something I’d once read, ‘that a representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.’ It was written by Edmund Burke, a member of the British Parliament.
You quote 1776, well played.
It’s okay to have reps that only represent a freeze frame of the electorate in place at the time of his/her election. It’s inevitable and allows for slow, steady change.
You may have a point here, but still to me it seems un-American to take my vote from me.