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Bannon’s war on the corrupt Senate made necessary by the 17th Amendment

by Bob Livingston
Breitbart head and former President Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon has engaged in a full-scale effort to take out Senate Republicans facing election this year in a bid to purge the fossilized do-nothing obstructionists he believes are standing in Trump’s path.

Bannon’s main target is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But McConnell is not on the 2018 ballot. So Bannon’s set his sights on lower hanging fruit of swamp-dwelling anti-Trump Republicans like Jeff Flake of Arizona, Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Dean Heller of Nevada. He has stated he plans to fund challenges to every Republican incumbent up for election in 2018 save Ted Cruz of Texas.

But Bannon’s war would not be necessary if not for the passage of the 17th Amendment. In fact, much of the oppressive statist legislation passed in the last 100 years was made possible because of the 17th Amendment, which put politicians in the employ of the big corporations and lobbyists from which they got their campaign funds and under-the-table largess.

Under the Founder’s Constitution, senators were beholden to their state and they knew and understood for whom they worked. They served at the pleasure of state legislatures and therefore their first priority was to serve the states that sent them to Washington and preserve their interests.

Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution required that “[t]he Senate or the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislatures thereof…” As such, senators posed a barrier against federal usurpation of states’ rights.

During the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, John Dickinson of Delaware argued “that the members of the second branch (the Senate) ought to be chosen by the individual legislatures.”

George Mason of Virginia agreed. He said: “Whatever power may be necessary for the national government, a certain portion must necessarily be left for the states. It is impossible for one power to pervade the extreme parts of the United States, so as to carry equal justice to them. The state legislatures, also, ought to have some means of defending themselves against the encroachments of the national government. In every other department, we have studiously endeavored to provide for its self-defense. Shall we leave the states alone unprovided with the means for this purpose?”

Depending upon their point of view, Founders either hailed or lamented the fact that, by simply refusing to appoint senators, the states could see the central government “destroyed” (William Richardson Davie) and “put an end to” (Samuel Johnston). Or as Alexander Hamilton (who actually wanted a U.S. system similar to British mercantilism) opined: “It is certainly true, that the State Legislatures, by forbearing the appointment of Senators, may destroy the National Government.”

When bills came before the Senate, senators were compelled to understand the will of their states on the matter and vote in the best interests of their states. Several times, senators either resigned because they disagreed with their states on legislation or were recalled and replaced if they refused to vote as their states directed.

James Madison argued that the Senate acted as a check on the federal government and prevented tyranny because “no law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence first of a majority of the people (through the House), and then a majority of the states.”

That came to an end in 1913 with the passage of the 17th Amendment, which has since played a key role in suppressing the voice and will of the people and elevating the fascist system under which we currently suffer.

After the ratification of the 17th, Senators were no longer bound to safeguard state interests, just as Mason predicted during the Virginia Ratifying Convention:

Is it not probable, that those Gentlemen who will be elected Senators will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of our State? They will purchase a good seat in or near the town, and become inhabitants of that place… The Senators living at that spot will vote themselves handsome pay, without incurring any additional expenses.

When the 17th Amendment was ratified it changed the way senators were selected from appointment to popular election. Today’s senators are now more influenced by lobbyists and payoffs than they are by the constituents they are supposed to serve. The result is the passage of Obamacare and other noxious bills, and the ongoing effort to grant amnesty for illegals – something the people oppose but big corporations, Silicon Valley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street and unions support.

Repealing the 17th Amendment would take the money out of Senate elections on the federal level. Senators would be beholden to their state legislatures again rather than the corporatist class that lines their pockets, finances their re-election campaigns and ensures them seven-figure lobbying gigs once their time in “public service” ends.

And their “public service” would end much quicker, negating the need for term limits, which are not likely to be passed anyway. Prior to the 17th Amendment’s passage the average term for a Senator was 5.1 years, which is less than a single term.

John McMullin, a lawyer who has written extensively in law literature about the 17th Amendment, says that repealing the 17th Amendment would give state legislatures a greater say in the federal political process in several ways. Among them, it would have the effect of elevating state legislatures from that of lobbyists to that of partners in the political process. The states would have the ability to decentralize federal power when appropriate. It would also give states more influence over the selection of federal judges and much greater say in the power of the federal judiciary.

The damage created by the 17th Amendment and its aftershocks cannot be overstated. It has helped destroy the federal system and republicanism and create a fascist, two-headed-monster, one-party system of graft and corruption.

The election process in America is nothing more than a disguise for corruption that attracts the corrupt. When men and women go to Washington, they pretty soon learn that they are paid by the federal government, corporations and lobbyists and, therefore, they are in the hire of the federal government, corporations and lobbyists. (Note: This applies to the elected class, the judiciary and the bureaucrats.) No allegiance to their constituents is necessary and, as a matter of fact, there is very little pretension — except at election time.

The process of repeal would have to be a grass-roots, from-the-ground-up campaign. It’s unrealistic to think Senate fossils would willingly give up their perks and power. But it starts with educating your friends about the damage caused by the 17th Amendment’s passage.


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