The 17th Amendment, which was enacted into the Constitution in 1913, allows for the election of state senators by popular vote. The repeal of the 17th Amendment has been a major cog in the message of many right-wing groups — most notably the John Birch Society. In recent times, Glenn Beck has preached it. Ron Paul has embraced it. Former Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia introduced a bill in 2004 to repeal it.
There is no candy-coating this. Republicans are doing whatever they can to lessen the franchise of voting. The reason is clear and one of the truisms of modern-day American politics.
High Voter Turnout = Democrats Win. Low Voter Turnout = Republicans Win.
The right-wing non-profit group ALEC, which is backed largely by the Koch Bros, is supporting a bill right now that would directly impede people’s rights to direct elections of their U.S. senators. Called the “Equal States Enfranchisement Act,” it would weaken the 17th amendment and give power back to state legislators to appoint persons to the Senate. This would make the deep pocketed Koch Bros very happy. See, buying elections can get expensive especially when you come up on the losing end of a string of national elections.
By repealing the 17th Amendment, factoring in the ongoing voter suppression and the adherence to Lee Atwater’s Southern strategy, the radical right circumvents the will of the majority. The reason for the enactment of the 17th Amendment was to curtail the corruption and cronyism of that day. One could only imagine what that would look like today if we regressed back to this way of choosing our senators.
“It’s an attempt to blunt the effects of the 17th Amendment by reinserting the state legislature and their views back into the process of electing U.S. senators,” said UC-Davis School of Law Professor Vikram Amar, stressing that it was just his first “gut reaction” to seeing the bill. “By itself, it’s not a full-fledged repeal or circumvention of the 17th Amendment … but it’s kind of an encroachment of the vision of the 17th Amendment.” (Source Huffington Post)
We live in a world where politics matters more than ever before. The issues mount up while the solutions to these issues are obstructed for a myriad of reasons. But rest assured there is a ” war on your right to vote.” Let’s be diligent to keep our eyes on the sparrow that we may be strong in our struggle to maintain this right given to all of us.
Watch Rachel Maddow discuss the 17th Amendment: