Todd Akin is currently in a primary race to be the Republican candidate to face Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri. As part of the primary, Akin took part in a debate last week and tried to justify stripping Americans of their right to vote for their senators, which is guaranteed by the 17th Amendment of the Constitution.
Akin claimed that directly electing senators violates state’s rights. As you may already know, state’s rights is a phrase that conservatives use to justify their opposition to things such as same-sex marriage, a woman’s right to choose, minorities having the right to vote, health care, and has been used in the past to defend slavery. Akin says that the only way to make state’s rights stronger is to take the election of senators out of the hands of the people, and allow state legislatures to hand pick them. In other words, Akin wants to take away a Constitutionally guaranteed right that strengthens democracy, so that conservative legislatures across the country can select senators who will faithfully push the conservative agenda, even if the people reject that agenda.
“I have a very serious concern about erosion of states rights,” Akin stated at the debate. “Very serious concern of that, and this, reversing this decision might pull that balance back. I am, as I’ve mentioned, a strong conservative, I don’t think the federal government should be doing a whole lot of things that it’s doing and it well may be that a repeal of the 17th Amendment might tend to pull that back but I haven’t written any thesis on it or anything like that.”
Here’s the video:
Over the years, many Republicans have called for repealing the 17th Amendment, including Utah Senator Mike Lee, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, just to name a few. Akin is just the latest Republican to do so. But why do Republicans hate Americans having the right to elect their senators? The answer is that Republicans don’t trust the American people. If you haven’t noticed, Republicans have been making efforts across the country to severely restrict voting rights. From voter ID laws to voter purges, Republicans have a major problem with people having the right to vote. A New Hampshire Republican once said that college students shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they’ll vote liberal. And conservative preachers and writers have actually complained about women having the right to vote.
Republicans over the last four years have attempted to seize power in Washington by disenfranchising millions of Democratic voters. They see voters as a threat to the conservative agenda and have therefore sought to restrict voting rights in an effort to rig elections in their favor. The way Republicans see it, people who vote Democrat such as women, minorities, young people, and senior citizens shouldn’t be able to vote because they don’t subscribe to conservative beliefs. Killing the direct election of senators is just another way for Republicans to push their agenda without having to deal with voters.
But it’s a dangerous road Republicans want to take America down. Repealing the 17th Amendment guarantees that conservative legislatures can select and will select a conservative to represent their beliefs in the Senate instead of the people as a whole. Currently, Missouri has a conservative legislature. If the 17th Amendment were repealed, Claire McCaskill would not have a chance to go back to work in the US Senate. Akin would almost certainly be picked to go to Washington. The same can be said of any other Democratic Senator serving in a state with a conservative legislature. This call to kill voting rights has everything to do with Republicans wanting to force their agenda on the American people whether they like it or not. And that is completely contrary to American values and what the Founding Fathers envisioned for this country.
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