Time for Change - Oust Partisan Senators

The Senate OnLine

Image of United States Senate World Wide Web Home Page
Image of United States Senate World Wide Web Home Page | Source

NOTE: This article was updated 8 November 2012 to reflect the results of the 2012 Elections, and was also updated 7 December 2014 to reflect the results of the 2014 Elections. See the updated table and the section titled 'Reality Check' at the end.

A prior article written by this author discussed a number of options considered with respect to trying to correct the situation that led to the Health Care Bill being passed. That article argued for a repeal of the 17Th amendment, in favor of other options such as ‘leaving things as they are’, and ‘creating a new States Repeal amendment’. What was not discussed in the article, and totally overlooked by those who commented on the article, was the power that could be exercised by ‘We the People’.

Many of our politicians have loudly subscribed to bi-partisan efforts, and many of our newscasters have loudly supported that position. Even while doing so, those same politicians and newscasters have also loudly argued that the other side was responsible for the continuing partisan behavior. For the most part, it seems fair to say that we all agree that partisan politics needs to go. Yet realistically, we fully expect that the partisans will never be the ones who will make it so. This article reminds folks that we still have the power of the vote, and reminds folks that we can use that vote to hold our politicians accountable for non-representative partisan politics.

In that same prior article, the analysis focused on the Health Care Bill, the Bill that caused so much discontent across the country. The article compared a list of States that sued against Health Care to a list of Senators who voted FOR Health Care. From this we identified states where the Senators vote was in direct conflict with their states legislature, but whose vote supported their party position. Those states are: Colorado, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, and South Dakota.

In that article, the pattern of voting was attributed to these Senators holding allegiance and loyalty to their Party over allegiance and loyalty to their State.

Constitution - Ordained by 'We The People'

Source

Open Government lets you Remember how they Voted

Senate elections come every six years for each Senator, with roughly one-third of the Senate eligible for replacement every two years. Because of that, remembering who did what with respect to Health Care (or other partisan actions) becomes an exercise in commitment for the people. In this case, the commitment needs to be to helping to undo a partisan system and focus on efforts to return to a system where partisanship is appropriately balanced against the other interests of our country and government. Partisan representation can be tolerated in the House, we can vote them out every two years if we don't like how they are voting. Partisan representation should not be tolerated in the Senate if it means our States are not represented

The 2012 elections provided an opportunity for ‘We the People’ to step in and do their part to help undo partisan politics, and to undo Health Care. We would be doing our part to help restore the balance of power in our federal government system, in this case, to help restore representation to our individual States, who were not faithfully represented by their Senators. It is my opinion that United States citizens are tired of the seemingly bipolar government that only makes our federal government bigger. This endless partisanship comes with a burden, a tax burden that is being paid by our taxpayers, and a burden that will be paid by our tax-paying children.

The issues we are facing today are much greater than any one issue. It is about how we allow ourselves to be governed, and about helping to restore the balance to our governance system. Proper representation for our States is one of the fundamental principals established by our forefathers when they wrote the Constitution. It was unforeseeable at that time that this principal would be undone by passage of the 17Th amendment. The 17Th amendment has not yet been repealed. In the meantime, citizens of the United States can remind our politicians that we recognize that proper representation of our States is essential to maintaining the balances of power in our government. We can do so by voting out those who choose to represent for their Party.

The table below shows Senators who voted for Health Care in 2010. The list is limited to those whose States sued to overturn Health Care at the federal level. It also shows their votes on a motion to Repeal Health Care February 2, 2011. Both votes strictly followed partisan lines, with one exception - Senator Warner of Virginia chose to abstain on the repeal Vote. You can review these voting records at http://www.senate.gov/. The ‘Votes’ tab is on the right-hand side. From there you can select ‘Roll Call tables’ for any Senate session. The roll calls of interest are “2010 (111Th, 2Nd) – Vote 00105” and “2011 (112Th, 1St) – Vote 00009”

On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that the key 'individual mandate' of the law was Constitutional. In rendering their opinions, neither side noted the fact that a majority of States were suing to overturn the law, nor did they note that 14 of the States involved in the lawsuit were misrepresented by their Senators. This fact has largely gone un-noted and un-reported in the general media. The implication is that the general media tolerates partisanship, while at the same time voicing opinions against partisanship.

Table of Senators who voted for Health Care, then had their States sue to overturn Health Care, and results of their next Election.
Table of Senators who voted for Health Care, then had their States sue to overturn Health Care, and results of their next Election. | Source

First - Let our Votes be heard!

The next Senate elections (in 2014 and 2016) provide the opportunity for citizens of the United States to help our politicians in their efforts to become non-partisan, by voting out elected officials who clearly hold allegiance to party above allegiance to representation for their States legislatures. In the case of many of the Senators who voted for Health Care, their allegiance is clear. We can help change this behavior by voting them out. This type of vote would also serve notice on our elected officials that we’d like to see some sort of balance of power restored to the States, and taken away from the Parties. They can talk about getting rid of partisanship all they want, but it won’t change until we start voting them out when their actions clearly are Partisan. Their actions speak louder than words, and so can ours. Exercise our power of The Vote!

Next - Support Repeal of the 17th Amendment

This process will be slower, but, an effort must be made to provide for proper representation of the States within our federal government. We need to restore overall balance of power between what States can afford and what People want. We need to restore the voice of our States legislatures within the overall federal law-making process, and replace the current partisan voices. We need a change that provides this balance as early in the law-making process as possible. Representation early avoids the economically damaging and time consuming process associated with going through an appeal to the Supreme Court. Representation during the law-making process, rather than through the appeal process, is consistent with the governance system that our forefathers put into place. It is also less costly, less time consuming, and less chaotic to our citizens.

As it is, government has two powers that are represented, the Democratic and Republican parties. State representation falls into the 'What are you gonna do about it?' category. The only path States currently have is to band together and appeal through the Supreme Court. This does not work if the Supreme Court is also beholden to one party or the other. This is unsatisfactory and needs to be changed.

Reality Check

Fact Number 1

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Affordable Health Care law.

Fact Number 2 (7 December 2014)

In the elections following passage of the Health Care Bill, there were seventeen (17) Senators up for election who had voted for health-care then had their state join the lawsuit against it. Eleven (11) were re-elected by the people of their States and six were voted out. Five chose not to run for re-election.

Fact Number 3 (7 December 2014)

One of those who chose not to run for re-election is preparing to run for President in 2016. Will he argue against partisan politics?

If we regard how our voters vote as the sole evidence, then two things seem apparent:

  • the people approve of the new Health Care law of 2010, and
  • the people prefer Partisan representation over States representation.

Yet still, I humbly disagree, and will continue to argue for changes that may help undo the mess of Partisan politics.

More by this Author


Comments 19 comments

FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 23 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

The Constitution is our governing document, containing within it the rules for changing it.

There appears to an activity underway now to have each of our States legislatures ask our United States Congress to call a constitutional convention. Web-site is located at www.conventionofstates.com.


Haruhisa 23 months ago

Who else would increase their salaires if they didn't? At least under Pelosi, they stopped the automatic annual raises. We don't need any more committees for anything except a citizen committee from the ranks of local volunteers but even they would get paid off by the politicians. Nothing is sacred. Everyone has a price.No amendments to the Constitution just for salaires. The Constitution itself is outdated and should be scrapped.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 24 months ago from Rural Arizona

As we can see even those recent winners of the last election are not living up to their campaign promises. Just another act in the ongoing circus show we call Congress.


Braian 24 months ago

It is worse than you think. They have it rigged so that they don't even have to vote for rasies, rather they passed a law a few years ago that makes the rasies automatic! We need to have a constitutional amendment that makes it illegal for congress to exempt themselves from laws. They don't pay Social Security, or Medicare, and they are probably exempt from Obama-Care too! I say one term only, with a very low salary, no insurance, or medical care, or retirement. If this was the way congress worked they would fix up this country in one term.


TexasLadyJuanita profile image

TexasLadyJuanita 4 years ago from Kemah, TX

Thumbsup. My only concern is that 47% number. Does it truly represent those who are not able to self-govern? When that percentage jumps up to 51%, is it game over? - especially when you think of all the Christian Conservatives who do not vote? Of course We The People can change the game afoot with our votes, if there are enough of us voting.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Thanks Mr. Archer, I just went back and reread that part and wonder if it might be better worded as "Once the controlling party decides to pass a law, if the States disagree, the party can then respond to the States with the attitude 'What are you going to do about it?" Neither political party should have the kind of power that allows them to dictate rather than represent.


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

Great job pointing out what should be obvious to all, but tends to be forgotten by most. Loved the comment "What are you going to do about it?" Ain't it the truth! They won't change until we do!


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Yup, Dan. Note where I said "Partisan representation can be tolerated in the House ..." My beef is when partisan allegiances takes precedence over allegiance to the State the Senator is supposed to represent. The States lose their role in the federal government when that happens, and currently can only overrule their representative through a long involved Judicial process.


Dan Q 4 years ago

Partisanship shouldn't be ruled out in opposing bipartisanship. In the case of US politics, bipartisanship is a single-party state which gets things done faster. Politicians and the MSM try to paint this single-party state as "nice" and "efficient" when regardless of method, the Founding Fathers set up a country where they intended it be difficult to pass laws. Partisanship is one way to discourage and delay potential legislation and encourage the freedom caused by lack thereof.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Frog, thanks for stopping in.

I've got to agree, recall of either House's elected officials seems like it might be helpful in discouraging allegiance to anyone other than the group they are supposed to represent.

Remember in November.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

The 17th Amendment was a bad idea from the start. Senators are supposed to represent the interests of the constituents in the state they represent. As you mentioned though, "the party" has become what is important to the career politicians who sit decades on end in the Senate. The ability to recall elected officials, especially Senators who serve for 6 years at a time, needs to be reinstated vai repeal of the 17th Amendment.

It is critical that in 2012 and 2014 that those who have made a career of being professional pick pockets in the Senate be put out to pasture. Look at Harry Reid and the present situation in the Senate. They want to play partisan politics from election to election and nothing productive is getting done.

The Frog


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Old Poolman, I wasn't trying to disagree with you, simply saying there are folks who are considering a different Constitutional Amendment for that aspect also.

I agree that it needs to change,

Jim


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

Jim, I wasn't disagreeing with you. I just read something about this the other day where the costs are soaring due to these politicians either retiring or getting booted out and still drawing their big fat paychecks for the rest of their lives. That has got to change.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Old Poolman, the point about paychecks for retired elected officials is also one where many have proposed an additional amendment. They seek to have no law be applicable to Congressmen/Senators that is not applicable to the general populace, and no law that is applicable to the general populace that is not equally applicable to our Congressmen and Senators.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

JohnKadu, the objective is to restore balance of governance power to the States, by encouraging Senator allegiance to his State over allegiance to his party. Term limits would likely limit the amount of time any one individual has, but wouldn't do anything to refocus his allegiance. Most elected officials will hold some sort of allegiance to those who got them there. If it is the power of the party machines that get them there, then they will place that allegiance over a responsibility to represent their State. The Health Care Bill is just an example of this effect.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

The only problem with term limits is it greatly increases the cost of government. When they leave, they still draw a paycheck and benefits for the rest of their lives, and we have to start paying their replacement. If we can change the rules on their retirement term limits would be a great thing.

This hub is outstanding and I will be back later with additional comments.


Johnkadu123 profile image

Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Above all there should be term limits for both Congress and the Senate. Some of the guys are just sitting there knowing that they have a seat for life.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Thank you for reading Ms. Dee. Let us hope that writing about it helps to make others aware. Even further, it would be nice if 'We The People' cared enough to e-mail their Congressman, or Senator, or others that can help us restore the balance to our Government.


Ms Dee profile image

Ms Dee 4 years ago from Texas, USA

These are very good points in illustration of how the individual states are not represented at the federal level, as originally designed. Sure wish the country was aware enough about this to push for repeal of the 17th Amendment.

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