Idaho Citizens for

Good Government

The Great Divide

I was wondering, when the original 13 colonies decided to form a “more perfect union”, were the colonies then divided between Red and Blue states?  Probably not.

The two party system in the US has become a wedge of division and this has been exacerbated by constitutional changes over time which I’d like to take this article to explain.

The 17th amendment to the constitution changed the election of US Senators from being elected by their respective legislatures to being elected popularly.  That was passed in 1912 and I believe was instrumental in changing the character or our republic into more of a democracy.

The founding father’s hated democracy because it tended to divide the people and once a majority realized they could vote themselves the wealth of the minority, a quick and violent death of the country would ensue.  To guard against this, they formed a representative form of government where a bi-cameral house was created along with the Electoral College process to prevent popularity and propaganda from ruling the day.

A Bi-Cameral House comes from the Common Law idea in England of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.  One house represents the people while the other represents the large interests of the land owners.

In the US, we had the House representing the people and the Senate representing the states.  Because US Senators were elected by the state Legislatures, there was much less influence of populist forces such as media and demagogy on the legislature and a more equitable representation of interests. In addition to this, the indirect representation of the Senate tends to pull power away from populated centers and shares more with rural areas.  Size and population of each state makes no difference, each get’s two votes in the Senate.

The states also had bi-cameral houses, one that represents the people and one that represents the Counties.

What we have been seeing happening over the past 100 years or so is increased power being exercised by the populated areas over the rural areas.  San Francisco and LA run California, Seattle runs King County, New York City runs the state, etc.

We also see many Counties and States proposing splits to better balance the power distribution.

This is, I believe, because the direct election of senators has destroyed a key check that our founders put in place.

It is, in fact, dividing and corrupting our country.

The really interesting thing here is that we have preserved the two house design yet destroyed its function.  All the states and the Federal Government have the hassle of having to pass legislation through two houses yet both houses represent the same people.

It’s as if someone doesn’t want people to realize how fundamentally the 17th ammendment changed our form of government.

The Senate tends to have more concentration of power because there are fewer members each representing a larger block of the people.

Becasue of this, each state tends to have more problems with issues in the senate than in the house because, as we all know, power corrupts and concentration of power causes corruption to happen faster.

A prospective “investor” in a politician will spend his money on those with the most power.  This is natural as it gives you more “bang” for your “buck”.  Because of this weakness of a popularly elected Senate, we see things happening like the chart below shows:

In this case, the most powerful senators in Idaho are supporting each other with PAC contributions causing them to vote more as a block.

These powerful ones are generally RINOs because state spending is what political investors want most to influence.  This is one way the rich and influential steal the wealth of the middle and lower classes to support their own ends.  Thus the biggest spenders become the natural targets of PACs and the rich.

As this chart shows, the more populist and conservative and less powerful Senators are left behind to fend for themselves.

This propagates into the powerful inside crowd to assign chairmanships to committees to themselves and thus creates a monopolistic control over legislation.  

Those that would desire to spend less can’t get their legislation passed and this pulls them towards the spending group to gain enough power to accomplish something that they can get re-elected with.  This is why taxes never go down.

An informed and vigilant electorship can take their representative out but only after much damage has been done and there is no guarantee under such conditions that the replacement will do any better.  Thus we have this struggle between the middle-class and the rich and powerful that tends to make the problem worse over time.

This corrupts the whole assembly more and more over time.

It is perfectly natural, with no conspiracy required.

Big and small businesses will put their money into a PAC (Political Action Committee) in the hopes of being “protected” from bad legislation by pooling their money.

The more powerful the politician, the more this effect happens which is why our clever governor, Brad Little, has a reputation with most voters as a good conservative republican while he himself signs every spending bill that comes before him and weilds powerful PAC money (Check out his Inaugural Comittee PAC) to help not only his own political career but the careers of the most pwerful Senators.  They naturally work as a team to concentrate their power and collect more money and influence.

Much of this can be fixed by simply changing the way Senators are elected so that they represent the interests of the Counties.  County councils will keep a closer eye on their Senators and because they foot the bill on spending, will not allow quite as much corruption to take palce.

The Counties themselves suffer from corruption as well because their boards and councils are generally popularly elected as well and do not have a two-house system.

By changing counties to have a bi-cameral house with the upper house representing the cities, we will also alleviate the problem of the more populated areas controlling the more rural ones.

It won’t be perfect but it will help aleviate the natural inclination towards corruption that we have been seeing happening since the passage of the 17th amendment.

There are many other issues causing problems but for now we will just speak on this one.

Another funny thing is that we divide our houses by party which perpetuates this two party control over power.  We know how powerful this two party system is simply by seeing how much press is devoted to the perpetual Republican/Democrat struggle for power.  This too divides our country along party lines and pits Red states against Blue states and the like.

The corrupt love these kinds of adversarial situations as they can manipulate both sides to reach their ends.  This is known as the ‘Hegelian Dialectic” and has been used for centuries to manipulate and control large populations.

Voters see little choice except to vote R or D and this reduces the amount of research they need to do to decide who to vote for.  This reduces the quality of our electors and puts too much power into the hands of parties that in many instances have little “skin” in the game of property taxes or school levys or other sources of state income.

In the case of Idaho,which is a very conservative and republican party dominated state, it has brought forth the innovation of RINOship – which is simply disguising a liberal in conservative clothing, fooling the R&D voters.  Because the Republican Party (like the Democrats) seek power first, they are not vetting their candidates properly and are contributing to our problems and to their own demise as a party.

As I see it, much of our problems are architectural in nature.

However, this can only be corrected from the bottom-up because a constitutional convention at the top would threaten what is left of our republic.

My suggestion would be to concentrate at the County level and get a bi-cameral house system set up that can work its way up to the state level and finally to the Federal level.

The ICGG Editor