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Election of Senators

The Constitution in Article 1, Section 3, Clause 1 states the following pertaining to the election of Senators.

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.

The election of the President, Senators, and Representatives was debated by the Federalist and the Anti-Federalists with the Federalist holding to the view of the position written into the Constitution as a limited Republic. The Anti-Federalist were in favor of a democracy where the President and Senators would be elected directly by the people.

The Federalist believed that having a Democracy, where all officials were directly elected by the people, had been the downfall of all the great republics of the past. The solution was to have protections built into the system to keep the majority of voters, who may be a minority of the whole, from electing a one sided government thus having complete control of the government. Thus having the President chosen by the Electoral College provided for separating the people from electing the President directly. Having the Senators elected by the States Legislatures would provide the States with their representation in the government, again separating the election of Senators from election directly by the people. The House of Representatives would be directly elected by the people, thus providing their representation in the government.

From Plato's Republic, "The Ship of State" is a parable given by Socrates talking about Democracy. (Plato lived 428-348 B.C.) The parable is about the choosing of the pilot of a ship. The Greek word for pilot is the root for our word Governor. The ship sailors would fight among themselves to become the pilot. This competition between the sailors would lead to the election of the new pilot. The sailors became good at winning competitions but had no knowledge of steering a ship. The skilled pilot of the ship was unconcerned with the competition, thinking an unskilled sailor would never be elected as pilot: thus losing the pilot position over to an unskilled sailor. This parable implies that the ship will never reach its destination.

In a Democracy, qualification for being elected is about convincing citizens that you should be elected. Thus winners are those who are good at getting elected. The Federalist believed this would contribute to the downfall of a Democracy. Senators today are good at getting elected, always looking to convince the citizens to select them. On the Federalists' side, the Senators would be picked by the individual State Legislatures, choosing the wisest and best to represent their States.

In the early 1900's a scandal broke out when it was determined that a person was bribing the State Legislatures to elect him the States' Senator. Everyone was outraged and demanded something be done. So to satisfy the outcry the U.S. Constitution was amended.

In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified to change the election of Senators to be direct by the people.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have on vote.

The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

In addition, the changes allowed the executive of the State to fill vacancies provided the legislatives empower the executive the authority.

So now we have the outrage that an Executive of a State is trying to sell the vacant Senate seat. Thus we can see that the hurried implementation of the Seventeenth Amendment did not solve the problem. Now we have the Democratic Senator Leader, Harry Reid, saying on January 4, 2009 "We can do whatever we want!" in reference to following the Constitution about seating a new Senator he doesn't want seated. Senators gone wild! Hey Mr. Reid, the Senate was designed to represent the States and seating one of their appointed Representatives is not only your obligation but your responsibility as stated in the Constitution.

Not only did the Seventeenth Amendment not solve the problem but it deprived the States of their representation in our Nations' government. And as the Federalist had predicted, the direct election of both the Senators and Representative has been a decrement to our Nation providing a one-sided government where the majority voters can take rights from the minority and others who are unprotected.

The United States is not a national government because it leaves to the States all powers not directly specified in the Constitution. This maintained the sovereign status of the States. The Senators elected by the States Legislatures maintained this sovereign status and their representation in government. Losing this State right to elect Senators has reduced the sovereign status of the States.

The great achievement of our Constitution is allowing the inner factions of government to have a vitreous debate. We are losing this internal strife that has made our Nation the greatest that has even been born. The desire that when everyone has the same ideals and beliefs then the Nation will be better off is incorrect. The Nation will fail as the majority voters, who are a minority of the whole, prevail in their ideals over the Nation.

Based on the above consideration, we recommend that the Seventeenth Amendment be repealed.