Transcripts – The Seventeen Amendment

(Transcript from theTommyCshow, recorded on March 11, 2021).

It is Thursday, March 11 2021, and you are tuning into the Tommy C show, the podcast that’s become a popular resource for patriotic truth and action, the podcast that gives you the five substantial reasons why you should listen to it.

That’s where I want to start tonight. There are so many options out there. First off, you should listen to what you enjoy and what you find interesting and informative. If this is your first time listening to this show, I appreciate that I hope you’ll listen throughout the show and make a decision for yourself if this is something that you want to continue to listen to. There are so many options out there when you consider where we used to be with conservative talk radio.

It used to be, rest his soul, Rush Limbaugh and your your national networks really, and that was it. There wasn’t much else except for maybe some local commentators. Over the years, people like Levin and Hannity and Bongino came online. That led to others, like Shapiro and Kirk, and, you know, Crowder and some of these others that have been out there. I think it’s really cool that there are so many voices out there, I don’t think there are any real legends like Rush was, that’s a barometer that you just can’t compare anybody to. I mean, he’s in a league of his own, always will be in. But, I digress. The point being is, there are a lot a lot of options out there, and a lot of people have their own flavor.

Typically, people will listen to things that they can relate to, somebody that they relate to for the content, the charisma, whatever it may be, it’s relatable for them. They listen to it, and it gives them something that’s fulfilling in a way, whether it’s somebody that shares the same perspectives, or the way the content is delivered, or the context itself and what’s in that content, which really should be important.

But I want to give you five reasons why the Tommy C show, why this show, why you should consider this show and share this show and think of it as a good source a good place to spend, a half an hour or less, three to four times a week.

First, original content and commentary. I make a concerted effort not to plagiarize the work or the format, or the ideas or the style of anyone else. If I’m referring to another source, I credit those sources respectfully. Copycats are stale. And that’s the last thing I want to be perceived as is a copycat, there’s a lot of redundancy out there. It’s really easy to get out there and complain about things. I’d like to be much more about quality over quantity. When I started this show, it started off as a 10 minute show every Friday. That was it. Over time, it became longer, it became more days of the week. But it was a progression,  a slow progression. And that’s because quality was always at the forefront. It was always my goal. I think a lot of people, if they just want to hear the same redundant rambling and ranting and complaining over and over again, they go sit in a salon somewhere for a day. And I mean no disrespect to the hairstylists that that listen and watch the show. I know there’s there’s a few of them, I say this with empathy and respect towards them. Because I can’t imagine listening to the same stuff over and over again all day, it’s got to get very tiring. My point is that this show, first and foremost, this is all original content and commentary. You won’t find me mimicking other work. I just don’t think that’s there’s anything original in that, and you can get that in 90% of the other shows that are out there. So that was first reason — original content commentary.

Second, expanded common content and commentary. I have begun offering transcripts of my show, free, beginning with the last one, as a convenience for supporters of the show. A lot of times I talk about things in great depth, and there’s a lot of information that I provide that comes from some of our founding documents or other interviews or things that people may say. M I realized that there’s people out there that want some of that information, more conveniently. Sometimes it’s not easy to go back and listen to the show and try to find where a point was,  or to watch it again and try to find where a certain  point is at. And quite frankly, it’s so much nicer to just be able to copy and paste stuff, right? I mean, that’s the world we live in now. So, expanded content commentary is is providing these transcripts. While you can find grants to transcripts for other shows out there, mine are ultimately published directly by me, which is very unlike a lot of others. So you can be certain that you’re getting accurate information as I’ve shared it, and not someone else’s spin. I do use a third party service to transcribe. But I review that pretty in depth to make sure that it’s true, and  also to edit some of my redundancy or simple language that I use that can be annoying to read, certainly, much more than even in listening to it.

Third, the third reason why the Tommy C show, actionable content and commentary. It’s easy to get on here, to get on a podcast, to get online and talk about all of the things that are problematic, right. And we should continue to do that. We don’t want those things to get lost or get hidden. But none of that changes without action. I continue to not only appeal the action, but also and more importantly, often cite examples of exactly how you can take action. I like to share my own examples of doing that. Not just to be somebody that walks the walk when they talk the talk, but also to give you learning experiences. To share what I’m doing and how it’s worked, or maybe how it hasn’t worked. Actionable content and commentary, the third reason.

The fourth reason, verifiable content and commentary. The last thing I want to become is an echo chamber for the obvious objections of society. It’s important to me that I provide intellectually honest material that you can verify and feel comfortable sharing or reciting in your own discussions. That’s so important. With all the fake news out there, that disinformation and misinformation, the rush to information, the the expediency of it before the accuracy of it. I want to give you verifiable content and commentary.

Fifth, educational content and commentary. It’s been a goal of mine since I began podcasting to offer historical precedent regarding current events. That’s why I started doing it in the first place,  to look at our founding documents or the framework of our country, the backbone of it, and talk about how these things applied back in their time. And how they apply now as well; how we’ve strayed from them, how we can get back to them, why maybe things it’s right that things have changed a little bit over time. I try oftentimes to share the lesser known, but hugely impactful pieces of our history. To bring them to life relative to the stories in the news today and how they apply.

So, original, actionable, expanded, verifiable, and educational content and commentary. These are my pledges to you. They are the things you can consistently count on from me. They are the things I hope that you’ll expect from me, and you’ll keep me accountable for, that I continue to do that. And I know you will. If I don’t hold up my end of the deal, and I’m not interesting or providing these things that I say I’m going to provide, you’re not going to listen, you’re not going to watch, and I’m going to see that and the numbers.  I’m gonna realize that.

Those are the five big reasons why you should tune into this show, and feel confident when sharing it with others. Now, I’m not telling you not to watch or listen to other podcasts or shows. Not at all. There’s so much great information out there and so many different perspectives, and everybody has their own perspective and experiences and viewpoint on things. I’ve just making a case for why this show should definitely be on your list.

Let’s jump into some content. This week it was reported by several media outlets, including the Lexington Herald Ledger in Kentucky, that Mitch McConnell is working behind the scenes with his allies in the Kentucky State Legislature, basically to establish his own successor in the event that he should leave office or be removed from office prior to the end of his term. The current state law in Kentucky allows the governor to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next regular election of the House of Representatives, which is every two years.

Under this proposed legislation, Kentucky Senate bill 228, it would require that the governor appoints someone temporary to fill that vacancy left by a senator from a list of three names given to him by the executive committee of the political party of the senator who formerly held the seat. And the bill would add Kentucky to a list of several states, a handful of states that require an appointed successor be to the same party as the person who previously held the office. And I don’t believe that is that part is problematic. Clearly the majority of a state’s voters elect a candidate for their party affiliation more than anything else in modern times. But is further restricting the list of candidates good or bad? Is saying, well, you’ve got to pick from this party, and you can only pick from one of these three people?

Maybe or maybe not. That depends on perspective. Again, we should look at the history, the process that pertains to the senate and what our founders argued. I like to default to that as a reference point. Our founders weren’t always right. And in my last episode, I talked a bit about term limits and how the founders probably got that one wrong. But based on the perspective at the time, and based on the situation at the time, their arguments were valid, they were real, and they were right. So maybe really didn’t, they didn’t get it wrong, but their foresight wasn’t as in tune with the term limits as it was with some of the other things that we’ve seen play out.

Let’s take a look at how senators are elected and appointed according to the Constitution and the amendments since. I think there’s a lot of people out there that probably don’t realize that until just 100 years ago, basically, senators weren’t elected by the people, they were elected by the state legislatures. There wasn’t a popular vote that put senators in office. Article One, section three of the US Constitution, as it was originally written regarding the United States Senate reads, the Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state chosen by the legislature thereof.

That was the original language. And that’s the way it was for almost 125 years, from 1789 until 1913. Before the 17th amendment to the Constitution was ratified. Senators were elected by the state legislature, so essentially appointed by those state legislators, it wasn’t the popular vote of the people. Following the 1913 ratification of the 17th amendment and beginning with the 1914 general election, all US senators have been chosen by direct, popular election. The 17th amendment reads as follows: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, elected by the people thereof for six years, and each senator shall have one vote, the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature. Once vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies, provided that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill a vacancy by election as the legislature may direct.

It’s all just a fancy way of saying that the legislature grants the executive the right to appoint a senator temporarily until the people hold a next election to put them in.

The 17th amendment is big, because while the Constitution has been amended 27 times throughout our history, right, we’ve got 27 amendments, the actual structure of the Congress, as written in our Constitution, has barely been touched in those amendments since 1791. The only amendment to really do so in any substantial way is the 17th Amendment, which removed the power state legislators had to choose US senators, and gave that power directly to the voters in each state.

There have been arguments both for and against this amendment for the last century. During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison argued in federalist 62, that it was necessary to have the appointment of senators by the state legislators, Madison stated in part that it is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment and giving it to the state governments, such as an agency in the formation of federal government, as more security authority of the former. It may form a convenient link between the two systems. What Madison is saying there, is that by the state legislature/ appointing these senators, they’re beholden really, to the state. They remember that they’re beholden to the state. The balance of power. Madison’s argument was essentially both a balance and a check of power, ensuring that the states had an equally powerful voice as the federal government. Like all arguments made by our founders, it was sensible and very well thought at the time.

So what changed? Why the sudden pivot 100 years ago? Well, there’s a lot of different arguments about it, but really, in the mid 1800s, and most dramatically after the Civil War, the vision the founders had that state legislatures would deliberate over the selection of senators was beginning to actually harm the states. Many politicians seeking Senate seats began campaigning for state legislative candidates. The Senate candidates were were pushing certain legislators because they knew that they would vote them in return. One hand washes the other really, but the result was that state legislative races became secondary to Senate races. Now that really, that takes away from the point of making sure that the states have these powers and that people are engaged in the power the state, the actions of their state legislatures. It had the opposite effect on it. And one of the most notable instances of that was the 1958. Senate race in Illinois between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, where neither of them were really on the ballot.

Years later, many states started holding direct primaries for the senate, which reduced the degree of influence state legislatures had over the selection, because they saw the problem it was becoming at the time. The National Constitution Center states in one of its publications, that some states went further and began using something known as the Oregon system, under which state legislative candidates were required to state on the ballot whether they would abide by the results of a formally non-binding, direct election for us senator.

By the early 1900s, 28 of the 45 states at the time used the  Oregon system in some form or another for direct elections. Because of this, the push for the 17th amendment to become a formality occurred in both state legislators and the House of Representatives. Between 1890 in the early 1900s, there were 31 state legislatures that passed resolutions either calling on Congress to pass an amendment providing for the direct election of senators, or to hold a conference with other states to work on it, or to have a constitutional convention, such that their direct elections for senators could be included in a newly drawn constitution. It was that important, it was viewed as that big at the time and that problematic. The 17th amendment, obviously passed in 1914 and took effect.

What happened with the 17th amendment, really, by way of political abuse could be seen as one of the first ways politicians began to abuse their powers. The government at the time corrected that by putting more power in the hands of the voters, not more power in the hands of the government, which is very contrary to what we see now. As the government abuses powers, and we see things like problems with elections, the government’s wanting more power and more control, rather than then having the people have that power. The 17th Amendment is an example of that, 100 years ago. Our government at the time felt that it would be best suited to correct the problems of the government by putting it back in the hands of the people. How radical, right?! That’s what the whole country was founded on! Look how far we’ve gotten from that.

It hasn’t been popular with everyone, though. Ever since the 17th amendment was ratified, there have been people out there that have argued against it. Even recently, conservatives like justice Anthony Scalia often professed that the amendment removed important powers from state legislatures and added to a different angle of corruption and influence in election of senators.

Now, my biggest beef with the amendment is another more contentious points about it. And that is the effect of appointments following vacancies, to get back to the McConnell story. Under the original Constitution, if vacancies happened by resignation or any other reason, it would be the state legislatures that would fill those. If the legislators were on a recess, the state executive, the governor, would make a temporary appointment until the legislators were back in session and they would fill the vacancies. I read earlier the clause to the 17th amendment that pretty much lays that out and explains it. It does give the states some power to determine temporary appointments but still, it puts a decision-making in the hands of the states executive, ultimately, in the absence of good strong legislative action.

Neither is necessarily good by way of function in today’s bureaucracy. The government has way too much power already. We obviously need a process for temporary appointments to a body as important as the Senate. You can’t leave it vacant, but It should be done with two things in mind, the appointment should definitely come from the same party as the departed senator. I think that’s the most fair and objective way to do something like that. But it should still be the people who largely have a say, in who that appointment is, unless we’re prepared to repeal the 17th amendment and return to the constitutional standard of appointment that was argued for by Madison and the Federalists.

Right now, if you look at it through our lens right now, let’s take a look at that. Things would look drastically different right now. We have 30 state legislators that are conservative on both sides, the State Senate and the state houses. So 30 times two is 60 conservative senators, right now, according to the way our country balances out. And all the other 20 states, those they would be debating those senate positions, and how would those debates turn out? it would depend on the importance of issues to that state. That’s the important thing, is that goes back to the politics of those states locally, what’s important to those states, and who best represents the electorate in those states, the people in those states. It’s not saying that the remaining senators of your 20 states( 40 senators) would necessarily be Democrats, you probably have some other Republicans in there as well. If you look at it like that right now you go, yeah, let’s get rid of the 17th amendment because it would strongly favor conservatives.

However, it’s one of those things where if you react impulsively, based on current situations, that can always come back to bite you if these legislators flip at some point in time, and then, you know. I’ll give you my honest opinion on this. I’m torn, because I so strongly believe in the voice of the people, electing senators. But there is an argument in the Constitution, originally in the Federalist Papers, and then those constitutional conventions that the pamphlets in the debates that went into those, there’s such a strong argument for why the senators were elected by the state legislatures. It’s hard to argue with their premise and their argument behind it. Unfortunately, it was abused, really, at a time when our nation was most fractured during the Civil War era is really when the problems started to arise.

Maybe it’s time to go back to that, now that we are so fractured again, flip the script, get rid of the 17th amendment and go back to the way it was and and balance this all back out. The problem is that the 17th amendment is is overwhelmingly supported by both sides of the aisle. There are some outliers out there, there are some Republicans out there and conservatives that don’t like it, and would have no problem going back to the legislature’s appointing senators. It’s really how you view the risk, the reward, and all of it.

If I had to make a decision right here, right now about this, I would say get rid of the 17th amendment and go back to the way the Constitution was written by Madison and the Federalists, and their reasoning behind it. I don’t say that now because we have this great GOP majority right now, but  because it does balance the power out between the states and the federal government. It’s much harder for that federal overreach to happen. It’s something to think about.  

I think there are a lot of people out there that aren’t that up to speed on the 17th amendment, why we have it, where it came from where it started. Hopefully after the show today, you feel better informed about it and you understand it. If you feel passionate that, this is where we talk about action. There is something that you can write your senators and state legislators about, say, we don’t want this amendment. As you consider a convention of the states, and we talk about term limits and balancing the budget, and preserving the sanctity of the Supreme Court. One of the other things we want to do in there is get rid of the 17th amendment. Or maybe you don’t, maybe, after hearing this, you feel strongly about the 17th amendment, that it’s the will of the people to popularly elect those senators. Then write a letter and say You’re really a strong proponent for the 17th amendment, and if you form a convention of the states, please preserve that amendment.

I’m not trying going to sway your decision either way. I just want to provide complete information to you, because I could go on either way on this one, but I think we’re better served without the 17th amendment. That’s my opinion.

Hey, lastly, just again, my website, launched merchandise last week. It’s been really popular and I’m really grateful to everybody that’s placed orders out there. It seems like coffee mugs and hats, and things like that are the most popular right now. It’s really cool to see that stuff out there.

I mentioned in my last show that I want to do a contest for my 100th episode, which is coming up at the end of this month. Send me an essay, Tom at the real TommyC dot com, between 100 and 125 words, indicating a figure in American history that you feel is most influential to this country, and why you feel that way. Again, 100 to 125 words, email that to me by March 22. I will go through them all. I’m going to select five to read on my 100th episode, which would be later that week, two weeks from now, essentially. If  select your submission, I am going to send you out a very cool Truth Verified travel mug. You can find that Truth Verified merchandise on my store at my website.

That’s all I have for today. If you enjoyed the show, I’d be very grateful if you take a minute to share with your friends and family. If you’re watching me on YouTube, please hit the thumbs up button and subscribe. Likewise, hit that rumble button and subscribe if you’re watching on Rumble. Feel free to follow and engage with me on Parler, my handles at the Tommy C show. Check out my website, the real Tommy C dot com for other ways to contact me, to view my original articles —I put up pretty detailed one on today about all the children that are still missing from Obama’s cages. It’s a pretty profound article. So really appreciate if you will check that out, you might find it very interesting. There’s a lot of detail and a lot of links in there to back it all up.

If you find this show helpful and interesting, and informative, and you’re able to and want to contribute to the show, you can also do that through PayPal, Venmo, or cash app on my website. I really appreciate those that have gone out of their way, especially in a tough times like we’ve had in this economy to help out. This is not what I do full time. It’s something I do as a hobby in addition to my career. So that stuff does help. It helps me to get the right equipment I need to improve on that, towards my time to really put this together. There are so many great resources on my website again, the real Tommy Check out the truth verified store. And check out the our government tab on that website. I’m really proud of that one. There’s just such a wealth of knowledge and information for people.

Friends. It’s time for all of us to passionately take action, and we the people have a proud history of doing just that.

(Transcripts from theTommyCshow are produced by a third-party vendor and may be edited by theTommyCshow to correct spelling or grammar. All podcast content is intellectual property of theTommyCshow).

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