Repeal of the 17th Amendment: Keystone to Restoring Republican Government

Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution prescribes a Republican form of government in all states.

Definitions

Republic: a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

Democracy: government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power rests with the people and is used directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Elected Agent (Representative): a person or thing that represents another or others; a person who represents a certain group of people or a community in a law-making body, esp. a member of the U.S. House of Representatives or of the lower house in certain state legislatures. An Agent is a person or business authorized to act on another’s behalf.

Influence: the power to produce effects by indirect means; the power to persuade, or to obtain advantages due to one’s status, rank, etc.

Micro vis-à-vis Macro Democracy

Thomas Philip, Jr. (Tip) O’Neill (D-MA) represented the people of Massachusetts as an tip o'neill - all politics is local book coverelected representative to state and national offices from 1936 to 1986. Tip O’Neill presided over the House of Representatives as Speaker the 95th through 99th Congresses. He was an Irish Catholic who was educated in Roman Catholic schools.

O’Neill was known for saying, “All politics is local.” Indeed, this is true. Throughout his political career, Tip, a liberal Democrat, held sway over five terms as Speaker of the House with this idea ever in mind.

Your influence is greatest within your circles of social interactions. A father may have great influence over his family and his influence diminishes as he interacts with co-workers, customers, neighbors, or church groups. Social interactions and the value you add to your social circles determine the degree of your influence. The smaller the social circle (Sunday school class, PTA, etc.) the greater your degree of influence, if you add value to the other members of your group. In summary, this is micro democracy.

Your significance is inversely proportional to the population of your social circle. Jethro may have been the very first person on earth to discover this truth.

Shortly after Moses led his fellow Jews out of Egypt, the people would come to him to settle disputes and dispense justice. So it was, he would hear from individuals throughout the day. His father-in-law Jethro saw what was happening to Moses and to the people. You can read the historical account in Exodus 18:17-26.

Following Jethro’s advice, Moses established a hierarchy of leadership to assure all of the people would be represented and a system of accountability to deter corruption.

Moses changed the system of government from a macro democracy to a micro democracy. Think of this as the first grassroots movement.

Micro democracy works well due to individual influence. Macro democracy is essentially mob rule.

Cause to Repeal the 17th

Our Founding Fathers understood well the principles of influence and accountability.

Article I, Section 3 prescribes the process by which senators were selected up until April 8, 1913 when the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified.

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.

It’s not that there was not cause for this amendment. Corruption in state legislatures left senate seats vacant. The amendment was deemed appropriate at the time. However, it was a short-sighted fix that created the even greater problem of unaccountable senators.

The Accountability Factor

31 senators and 150 representatives comprise the Texas Legislature – a total of 181.

At the end of 2016, the population of the State of Texas was ~27,650,000. Now in 2017 we can reasonably round up to 28 million souls.

Under the 17th Amendment, Senator John Cornyn answers to 28,000,000 Texans. Tell me your significance, being one in 28 million.

Repeal the 17th would dramatically elevate individual influence over Senator John Cornyn who would answer to 181 Texans, our elected agents, representatives. And, the 181 agents could recall and replace him.

Rush Limbaugh says, if you want to know why a politician does what he or she does, follow the money. Let’s follow the money into the campaign coffers of Sen. John Cornyn.

John Cornyn campaign coffer

Who contributes all this money? OpenSecrets.org tracks all the money contributed to politicians. Click on the chart above to learn who contributes the most to Senator Cornyn’s campaign coffer.

cornyn contributors chart

I don’t put the spotlight on Senator Cornyn to demonize him. Rather, my intention is to demonstrate how the 17th Amendment miserably fails us. Campaign finance is a systemic problem.

As it is with practically all U.S. Senators, John Cornyn’s Job One is to get re-elected. Period.

Action

Let’s restore accountability to the U.S. Senate and regain electoral influence by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.

In 2016, this issue was number 11 on the Texas State GOP platform. Naturally, no senator would endorse a repeal of this amendment. It is of paramount importance that all Texans work together – Democrats and Republicans – to regain individual significance. This is a non-partisan issue.

Learn more from the Texas Convention of States project via Facebook, Twitter, and the Convention of States Action page.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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