The Tennessee General Assembly is trying to subvert democracy. Republican lawmakers in that state want to revise our election process, and give themselves the power to select which candidates appear on the ballot for U.S. Senator. This is the latest GOP tactic to destroy our democratic process, and it’s their clever way of going around the 17th Amendment.
Before 1913, state legislators selected U.S. Senators, but the process was ripe with corruption. So, the 17th Amendment was enacted to give voters the power to select their leaders, and remove the opportunity for rich guys to buy themselves a Senate seat. If passed, Tennessee Senate Bill 0471 and House Bill 0414 would amend state election laws, to let state legislators nominate candidates, and thus would likely determine who represents that state in the U.S. Senate. As Tennessee voters are highly likely to vote Republican, it’s a virtual certainty that the GOP candidate selected by the state legislators would go on to represent that state in the Senate.
The 17th Amendment was passed to prevent wealthy men from buying off state legislators, and this new law in Tennessee would open the door to the same type of corruption all over again. Citizens United paved the way for mountains of cash in political races…but why spend millions in campaign ads when you can simply bribe a few state legislators and achieve the same effect?
Republicans know they can’t win elections on the issues, hence their attempt to disenfranchise voters and buy off politicians. Now they think they can simply decide who has the right to appear on the ballot. We must stop the attack on our democratic process. Our right to vote is our most important right, and it must be protected.