Model bill dan­ger­ous

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

A “re­pub­lic” is a gov­ern­ment that al­lows its peo­ple to elect rep­re­sen­ta­tives who make their laws. How­ever, this now may be up for grabs. At the re­cent meet­ing of ALEC (Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Ex­change Coun­cil) a “model bill” was sub­mit­ted that would re­peal the 17th Amend­ment, which gives the peo­ple of a state the right to choose their U.S. sen­a­tors.

At a time when ger­ry­man­der­ing (the ma­nip­u­la­tion of district bound­aries to fa­vor one party over an­other) in states like Penn­syl­va­nia has al­lowed Democrats, who won 54 per­cent of the vote, to only take five of the 18 U.S. House seats (28 per­cent) in 2012. In 2014 the Repub­li­cans won 55 per­cent of the vote, but they got 13 of the state’s 18 seats (72 per­cent).

How did district bound­aries be­come so lop­sided to al­low such a fla­grant thwart­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tion? It’s be­cause these bound­aries were drawn by the state leg­is­la­ture con­trolled by, you guessed it, Repub­li­cans.

Ac­cord­ing to ALEC’s model bill, these same state leg­is­la­tures will be the ones to pick our U.S. sen­a­tors. Repub­li­cans had found the way to skew con­gres­sional district lines to win more House seats than they de­serve, but they were stymied by the U.S. Se­nate where sen­a­tors are elected statewide. Now, if they are suc­cess­ful in pro­mot­ing this “model bill,” they will be able to guar­an­tee them­selves ma­jori­ties in the Se­nate as well. Let’s not let this hap­pen!

AIMEE CRO­CHET

West Fork

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