A group state representatives in Georgia are proposing a resolution that would ask Congress to begin the process of repealing the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of U.S. Senators.
One of the representatives behind this effort, Rep. Kevin Cooke said, “It’s a way we would again have our voice heard in the federal government, a way that doesn’t exist now. This isn’t an idea of mine. This was what James Madison was writing. This would be a restoration of the Constitution, about how government is supposed to work. The fact that this coincides with the 100th anniversary gives us a pretty good snapshot of what has happened to the federal government since then. The federal government has grown exponentially since the amendment was ratified. This would restore the constitution to what it was in 1913.”
Of course, this isn’t really about states’ rights or the intentions of the Founders. The movement to take away the people’s right to directly elect their senators is about keeping Republicans in power. A recent PPP poll of Georgia found that if Max Cleland could be talked into running for his old Senate seat in the state, he would lead each of the top five Republican contenders. If the Democratic candidate is Rep. John Barrow, he would trail the Republican nominee by an average of four tenths of a point. Depending on who the Republicans nominate, the Democrats may have a chance at picking up a Senate seat in Georgia.
The idea of repealing the 17th Amendment is just the latest extreme example of how far Republicans are willing to go in order to hold on to power. Instead of trying to appeal to the changing face of the electorate, a group of Republicans would rather takeaway the popular election of United States senators.
Georgia’s demographics are changing quickly. People of color make up more than 40% of the state’s population. There is also an age gap, as 73.2% of Georgia residents over age 60 are white, but only 46.9% of the state’s school age children are white. The electorate in Georgia is shifting towards the Democratic Party.
Instead of changing with the times, some state Republicans have decided that the answer to their problems is to roll back the constitution to 1913.
Why stop at 1913? If they really want to hold off the demographic wave, they should also seek to repeal the 13th Amendment.
After all, the Founding Fathers also intended for slavery to be legal too.