Yes, you read that headline correctly – Jeff Flake doesn’t want Arizona voters to vote for him in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race. He want’s Arizona’s Republican controlled State Legislature to
anoint appoint him to the position. The Payson Roundup reports that in a recent meet and greet with area Republicans in Payson Jeff Flake called for the repeal of the 17th Amendment and return to the system of state legislatures appointing U.S. Senators, instead of voters selecting who they want to represent them in the Senate.
He even said he preferred having state legislatures appoint U.S. Senators instead of the voters, a system that changed in 1912 with the adoption of the 17th Amendment.
Prior to the 17th Amendment, passed in 1912, voters had no direct say in who represented them in the U.S. Senate. Voters were considered too stupid to make the correct choice, so their state legislators selected U.S. Senators. However, in 1899, a man by the name of William Andrews Clark revealed the flaw in that cozy little system. (Politicians choosing which other politicians get to hold office – what could possibly go wrong?) Clarke was one of the “Copper Kings” of Butte Montana. He grew wealthy repossessing mining properties when owners defaulted on their loans. He grew even more wealthy with copper smelters, electric power companies, newspapers, railroads and other businesses. But he yearned for something more – he wanted to be remembered as a statesman. So he used a portion of his wealth to bribe enough legislators to appoint him U.S. Senator from Montana. But, as it has a habit of doing, truth prevailed and details Clark’s bribery leaked and erupted into a huge scandal. The U.S. Senate refused to seat him, and the scandal led to the passing the 17th Amendment and voters selecting their U.S. Senators. In his defense, Clark said “I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale”. THIS is the system Jeff Flake thinks is more “reliable” than Arizona voters choosing who they want in the U.S. Senate???
However, Flake’s elitist position didn’t stop with his wanting to end voters directly selecting their Senators. He enthusiastically embraced Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget plan – a plan that guts federal government support for education, infrastructure, housing assistance and much more. A plan which would force future retirees to buy their own health insurance or do without. A plan which doesn’t balance the budget until 2040 because even with all those cuts to domestic programs it raises spending for defense – even though the Defense Department says it doesn’t need it – and doubles down with even more steep tax cuts for the wealthy.
Jeff Flake is an elitist and so wrong for Arizona in so many ways.
Rich Carmona, a refreshing, Independent voice for Arizonans.