Change in Senate cause of problems
I have resisted the early voting trend, having enjoyed the nostalgic notion of going to the polls on Election Day, but after the chaos of Nov. 6, I agree with letter writer Mike Gorman that "something’s gotta give." There’s got to be a better way.
I disagree, however, with his suggestion to split the Electoral College to represent proportions of the total vote. It’s one more step in the emasculation of the 10th Amendment. The founders had studied history and recognized that other attempts at democracy had failed because pure democracies become "tyrannies of the majority" and eventually morph into totalitarian regimes. Our government was designed with complicated sets of checks and balances designed to prevent that.
Part of that design was the creation of a republic, a collection of sovereign states united under a federal government with very few and limited powers: to secure the peace and the blessings of liberty. Since the 20th century, we have seen a continuous assault on state sovereignty beginning with the passage of the 17th Amendment.
The two houses of Congress were also a part of the checks and balances design. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives were to represent the will of the people and be elected by popular vote. Senators were to be elected by the state legislatures and would be able to bring reason to the table.
In "Federalist 49," James Madison explains how the House would represent the passions of the people and the Senate would act as a check on those passions, be more deliberate, taking into considerations the problems of the whole. Senators, not reliant on popular vote, would not bend and sway to the winds of popular opinion and could take a more detached view of the issues coming before Congress. It was also thought that senators would prevent members of the House from dipping into the national treasury to buy votes.
The passage of the 17th Amendment destroyed that balance. The states have been reduced from being an equal partner with the federal government to being common lobbyists. Senators too must run expensive election campaigns and, instead of checking the problem, they are now part of the problem. Special interests from all over the country get involved in bankrolling senatorial campaigns, and senators no longer represent their states but the passions of the whole.
Now here is the part I can’t really explain, but something in me says that if our Electoral College vote were to be cast proportionally, that somehow exacerbates the problems of state sovereignty. I don’t know if it’s possible, but what we need to do is draw back about 90 per cent of the power we have ceded to the federal government and retake our state sovereignty, county sovereignty, city sovereignty, neighborhood sovereignty and personal sovereignty.
Cora Lee Schingnitz