Why is one of the leading Republican candidates for president trying to stop the direct election of senators?

It may surprise many to learn that one of the leading Republican presidential candidates has pushed for the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, which allows for the direct election of senators. Yet that’s just what Rick Perry has proposed, and in this week’s issue of the magazine, The Nation‘s John Nichols explains that Perry’s “far-right-wing fantasy” is moving towards the center of the Republican politics.

In this episode of Nation Conversations, Nichols speaks with Nation Managing Editor Roane Carey about the historical context for Perry’s push to have senators elected by governors and legislators. According to Nichols, the first challenges to the Amendment came from the John Birch society in the 1950s and 1960s and resurfaced in the aftermath of the Democrats’ sweeping victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Perry’s agenda, like that of some key “thinkers” in the Tea Party, is to take the voters out of the election of the senate, an agenda consistent with the Republicans’ effort to make it more difficult for voters to register and easier for corporations to hold sway over elections.

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Jin Zhao