User:Leucosticte/Arguments for and against repealing the 17th Amendment
|Yeah, you can edit this.|
I think having a lower house that's directly elected is appropriate. Having them close to the "mob" gives them an incentive to introduce legislation that is popular. They bring forth needed legislation. The purpose of the Senate is to slow that process down, so that populist measures that are immediately appealing to the mob clamoring for it are held at bay to force them to stand the test of time. What is popular one day may turn out to be not so popular in ten years.
Most of the House seats are safe seats, so I wonder how much the House really represents the mob. If we got rid of direct election of Senators, then we would have even fewer competitive elections.
As it is now, the Republicans tend to control the House because the districts are drawn by Republican-dominated state legislatures. If we also had the state legislatures appoint Senators, then we would have two houses dominated by the Republicans. I think with indirect election of Senators, we would end up with more situations in which whatever party controlled the state legislature would be able to control both houses of Congress (the House by gerrymandering and the Senate by appointing Senators).
I'd rather be able to contact my Senator directly and say, "Hey, do this or I'm going to vote you out of office" than contact my state legislator and say "Hey, get rid of this guy or I'm going to vote you out of office." I can't vote my state legislator out of office because those districts are gerrymandered too, making those elections uncompetitive. The state boundaries, on the other hand, can't be gerrymandered.
There are already principal-agent problems with elected officials and it would probably be even worse if there were an assembly of middlemen added to the process. Just playing devil's advocate here.
I'm not saying the system is perfect or that improvements cant be made. I'm just saying as originally intended the federal legislature was part of the system of checks-and-balances, and with direct election, one very large impediment to federal power over the states has disappeared.
The control by one party should of course be addressed -- and it could probably be at least partially addressed by going to proportional representation. Pieces of land don't have political beliefs -- people do.
In addition, freezing the number of congressmen to 535 makes the lower house more prone to getting captured by the powerful. That could be reversed, also.
It sounds like you're basically saying, the mob is the enemy. But suppose the mob says, "Enough tyranny; time for liberty!" Then the Senate that's less responsive to the mob would tend to get in the way and slow it down. So it could cut both ways. Right now, the public wants to legalize pot, but it sure is taking forever; even our current system is pretty slow to change.