The latest proof Republicans don’t actually like democracy much comes to us in the form of a bill sponsored by Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) in the Senate and Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) in the House, SB 0027 and HB 0021 respectively, which would change the Senate nomination process, doing away with primaries and letting state legislatures appoint candidates instead.
It’s a bill we’ve been warned about, brought to us by ALEC and the Koch Brothers, neither of which are big fans of letting the people have our say. Like voter suppression and gerrymandering, it’s yet another effort to minimize the influence of actual voters and concentrate power at the top.
As the infamously corrupt NYC politician Boss Tweed once said, “I don’t care who does the electing as long as I get to do the nominating.”
This is nothing short of a repeal of the 17th amendment, which was enacted to “reduce corruption at the state level”.
The bill still lets the people vote in a general election (how nice of them!), but would have candidates for Senate nominated by the members of their respective Republican or Democrat party of the Tennessee House of Representatives and Tennessee Senate.
No independent or write-in candidates.
No other state has done this yet, but ALEC is trying. As Nicely dramatically told The Tennessee Star: “This bill could change everything. It could save the world.”
Why? Maybe because, as the Star also tells us:
In 2018 the National Constitution Center posed the question, “What would the Senate look like today without the 17th Amendment?”
The simple answer, “It would probably be much more controlled by the Republicans.”
They’d clearly prefer to just repeal the 17th Amendment, but according to Mark Levin and the NCC that would be harder “Because of the idea that direct election gives the power to the people.” (yes what would give us that idea!)
The Niceley/Williams bill would go into effect November 30, 2019, impacting the 2020 U.S. Senate nomination process.