Don't tinker with the 17th Amendment
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 11:00 AM
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller created a stir when he suggested that the U.S. consider a "soft repeal" of the 17th Amendment which establishes the direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote in each state.
Zoeller would prefer to see candidates chosen by state legislatures, instead of primary voters.
A "soft repeal" would keep the Senate primary process intact. But it calls on state legislatures to pick their own candidate to put on the ballot alongside those chosen in a regular primary.
The motive is clear. It is to reduce the federal government's power, and to improve the state governments' ability to influence federal spending.
Unfortunately, that would come at the expense of depriving citizens of their right to vote.
Zoeller says that senators would be more accountable if they had to get renominated every six years. They'd be less likely "to pass statutes that stuck it to the states," he told the Times of Northwest Indiana.
There's already an adequate system of accountability in place, with senators standing for reelection, if they make it through the primary, before the voters. Whether or not voters actually use their power is another subject as evidenced by poor election turnouts.
The idea of a small group of insiders picking the candidates for offices is disturbing and shouldn't be allowed to happen.