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Saturday, August 14, 2004
I Don’t Think That That Will be a Winning Strategy…(And Other Thoughts on Federalism)

By Steven Taylor @ 9:33 am

Keyes Wants to End Election of Senators.

I am not unsympathetic to some of Keyes’ arguments about the decline of the system of federalism as established in the Constitution, but not only is this one of those thing that isn’t going to be undone, it isn’t one that I think should be undone. The fact remains that the basis of representation remains different in the House and Senate and does result in specific power to the states. As such the current configuration of the Congress, regardless of the means of selection, maintains the federal structure. Senators represent whole states whether elected by the people or selected by the state legislators. Indeed, all the old system guaranteed was that the interests of the state legislature was attended to in Congress, which, granted, should reflect state needs, but the current system erradicates any barriers to true state representation that gerrymandering might create vis-a-vis the state legislature.

For example: while Alabama is clearly a Republican state in statewide contests, the state legislature has never been controlled by the GOP. So, would having the Democratically controlled state legislature pick Senators lead to better representation for the state of Alabama in the Senate? I think not.

The part that Keyes gets right in regards to federalism (but that isn’t mention by this piece) is the fact that the Congress uses the vast tax revenues it collects to affect public policy that falls nowhere in the realm of its expressed or implied powers within the Constitution. As such, the power of Congress (and of the federal government in general) far exceeds anything envisioned by the Constitution. Our system of government has developed such that the amount of money the Congress has to spend has radically increased to the point that Congress can “persuade” states to engage in policies via grants that it could never order the states to do via its constitutional powers.

Of course, I shan’t hold my breath waiting for any of that to change.

  • Blind Mind\’s Eye linked with Keyes' reparations proposal, two birds with one stone
  • Blind Mind\’s Eye linked with Keyes' reparations proposal, two birds with one stone

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  1. Going back to a statehouse-selected Senator might make people pay more attention to who their own local representatives are, and might get a few issues back in statehouses where they belong.

    Comment by Mark L — Saturday, August 14, 2004 @ 12:16 pm

  2. I had forgotten to put a link to your entry, it’s in now. I am not sure what options you are running on with IE and Firefox. My page is dependent on Javascript for the layout. It dynamically chooses a stylesheet based on your screen resolution. Supported resolutions are:

    800x600, 1024x768, 1280x968/1024, 1600x1200

    There is a stylesheet for people above 1600x1200 and below 800x600. I haven’t heard any complaints so far, and it has rendered correctly in every browser I have tried so far, including my friends’.

    Comment by Mike — Thursday, August 19, 2004 @ 1:03 pm

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