It’s time, in other words, to reconsider the Seventeenth Amendment. Given our current wave of populism, it might be wise to reintroduce some of those old ideas about federalism, and temper the passions of the electorate by letting states, not the people, elect senators.
After all, it’s not like the Seventeenth Amendment has reformed the Senate into a serious deliberative body that responds to the wishes of the people. Were it not for the Seventeenth Amendment, we might have never had Strom Thurmond hang around the Senate for 48 years, serving until he was 100 years old. We might not have had former KKK Grand Wizard Robert Byrd serve for 51 years. We might have even escaped the scurrilous and corrupt Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi, also a prominent Klansman, who once said “Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.” And who knows, after Chappaquiddick, the Massachusetts legislature might have picked someone other than Ted Kennedy to represent the state.