Should We Repeal The 17th Amendment That Deals With Elections? It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your most pressing questions!

Air Date: 02/07/2019

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And, my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.

Learn More and Send In Your Questions

And, you can find out more about us and the ministry at our two websites: WallBuildersLive.com and WallBuilders .com. Now WallBuildersLive.com is where you can get archives of the program, which means you can actually go back over the last couple of weeks and months and see some of those programs there and listen to them; and then, you can also get a list of our stations across the country. Then over WallBuilders.com, that’s where you can get the tools you need to equip and inspire yourself, your family the people in your community to get involved and learn how to be better citizens and help save America’s constitutional republic.

Now today, we’re actually going to let you drive our conversation. In other words, your questions will determine which subjects we cover; and, those subjects then, we will look at from a Biblical, constitutional, and historical perspective. So, if you want to do that, just send an email in to [email protected] That’s [email protected]

Your question can be about Founding Fathers or about something in the Constitution, maybe something you saw in the news and you want to know how that applies to the Constitution or what the Bible says about it. Whatever your curiosity, send those questions in, and we’ll try to get to as many as we can.

Let’s toss it over to David and Tim Barton. First question, guys, is from Joe; and, it’s on the Electoral College. If you remember, we covered the first half of this question last week or the week before, and it had to do with whether or not the Founders intended for us to have the states elect the president or the people. So, we went through that whole thing.

Should We Repeal the 17th Amendment?

The second half of his question wondered if we should repeal the 17th Amendment which changed how we elect our U.S. senators. So, I’ll toss that half to you, and we won’t rehash the whole thing about electing the president. But, in terms of electing U.S. senators, do you think we should repeal the 17th Amendment; and, if you would, give us a quick primer on what the 17th did.

David:

Let’s go back to the original intent of the Founding Fathers on what was to happen with the House and the Senate. The House and the Senate were two completely different bodies in the way that they were elected and represented different parts of the electorate.

Rick:

Now wait; so, you’re saying, David, that the House and the Senate are not two of the three branches of government; because, one of our congressmen thinks that.

David;

{laughter} That’s right.

Rick:

For those that did – it is not an inside joke; it’s a public. But, many people maybe didn’t see. Anyway, I’ll leave that one alone.

David:

Well—

Rick:

They’re not two different branches of government; they are the Congress together.

The Legislative Branch

Tim:

But, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is a congresswoman from New York, was a little confused. And so, you can YouTube. You can look that up on Google or whatever search engine you use.

And, she’s had several mishaps and misstatements along the way; and, you might actually have an entertaining afternoon just looking up some of the things she said. Or, it might be frustrating, depending on how you view what she’s saying. Nonetheless, yes, she thought that two of the three branches of government were—one was a House and one was a Senate.

No; that’s actually part of one, the legislative branch. Nonetheless, Rick, back to your question.

Rick:

Yeah. Yes, sorry, David, I got us off track there. But, you were explaining that they were to be two distinct parts of that Congress.

The Purpose of the Electoral College

David:

If you go to the Electoral College, remember that the Electoral College was set up to represent both the people and these states. So, you don’t just have the majority of the whole nation vote. You have the majority of each state vote.

And, if it had been just the majority of the nation, you could elect a president today with only four states giving you the president. But, because of the Electoral College, it takes a minimum of 12 states and as many as 39 states before a president can be elected. In other words, a president can’t just go campaign in four states, get the requisite number of votes and popular vote; “I’ve won with going to four states.”

You have to go to a lot of states, and that’s what the Founding Fathers designed. They wanted all the states to have a voice: little states, big states. And so, what they did was in the Senate, every state is exactly equal.

You can have a Wyoming, which has a half million people, and they get the same voice in the Senate that California does, which has 50-some-odd-million people or however many it is. So, in the Senate, Rhode Island and Wyoming are equal to California and Florida or California and Texas. They have the same voice.

Now, if you get into the House of Representatives, which is based on representation, you’ve got one congressman from Wyoming, and you’ve got 50-some-odd from California and 36 from Texas, soon to be 40. And those little states would get whipped in the House of Representatives because of popular vote kind of stuff.

The Ninth and 10th Amendments

So, the way the Founders set it up was in the Senate, states are equal, and that’s where the state is protected. The 10th Amendment is what says that anything that’s not an enumerated power belongs to the states. And, the Ninth Amendment says anything that’s not an enumerated power belongs to the people.

And so, the House represents the people, and the Senate represents the states. As such, to be a U.S. senator under the Founding Fathers, the state legislatures chose the senators from that state. It was not a vote of the people.

It was the Legislature because the senators are to represent the states. So, the state legislature said, “Here’s who we want in Washington representing us at the state.”

Tim:

And, it was a kind of vote of the people, just a different kind of vote.

David:

Right.

Tim:

Because, you elect your state representative who then elects the senator. So, almost how we have an election to choose our elected officials to go represent us, it was just one more stage of that when it came to senators. Because, we elect our state representatives who go to our state capitals.

From there they would say, “Hey, who’s going to do the best job representing our state?” Then they would choose the senator to defend and protect the states. And, actually most of what happens in the U.S. Senate today is not what’s in the best interests of states; it’s based on kind of this national-popular idea of What does the nation want or what’s best for the nation?

David:

Yeah

Tim:

And, it would look a whole lot different if you had U.S. senators saying, “We are here for the benefit of our state; and therefore, everything we do is going to be to try to protect and preserve our state.

Original Intent: Another Check and Balance

David:

And, that would keep the federal government from growing; because, the state folks would say, “No, no, no, that is a state power; we’re here to protect the states. Federal Government is not supposed to be doing police powers; that belongs to the state. Federal government’s not to do education; that belongs in state. Federal government’s

not to do etc.; that belongs to the state.”

Tim:

Even if the U.S. Congressman, even if the House, thought, “No, the federal government should,” the Senate would go, “No; we’re not letting the federal government come and run our state.” And so, that’s where you even have the check and balance between the House and the Senate; because, they’re advocating almost for different teams, so to speak, in the sense of what they’ve been elected to represent and what their interests are.

Because, one is specifically to guard and defend and protect the rights of the state, which is part of the 10th Amendment. And, most Americans—Dad, you’ve mentioned many times before that we really don’t teach civics anymore. So, most Americans don’t know about the Ninth Amendment and really what it represents or the fact that it says that we have rights beyond what is just enumerated the Constitution, as individuals. The 10th Amendment says, “Well, states have rights beyond just the specific things that are allowed to them from or that are restricted to them from the Constitution.”

And so, the fact that the Founding Fathers recognized they needed to protect individuals’ rights and states’ rights, which is why we have a U.S. Senate, today Americans, I would argue, by and large, have no idea what the Tenth Amendment or U.S. senators were actually for.

David;

I’ll go further than that. The U.S. Senate has no idea what U.S. senators are for.

The Original Purpose of the 17th Amendment

Tim:

That’s probably accurate too. But so, it raises an interesting question of Should we repeal the 17th Amendment?

David:

Well, you have to look at why we instituted the 17th Amendment. And, the reason it got instituted, the reason we changed what the Founding Fathers wanted, was you started having guys saying, “I want to be a U.S. senator; I’ve just got to go get in Texas, 150 members of the House. I’ve got to get 71 guys who will vote me to be the U.S. Senator; I need a majority the House voting for me. Okay, here’s what I’ll do.

“I’ll dump $15,000.00 into the campaign of each of those 71 guys.” Another guy says, “Well, I want it more than you. I’m going to dump $20,000.0 into the campaigns.” And so, what happened was, guys would start trying to buy the U.S. Senate seat, and they would do that with state legislatures.

And so, it became somewhat corrupt in the process. And, there were other times when the state Senate and state House might send somebody, and the people said, “You chose who? Are you kidding; why did you choose him?”

A Super House of Representatives

And so, the state senators and reps would take a beating. That’s when the 17th Amendment came in. And, that’s one of the things that was introduced under President Woodrow Wilson; he was there for the enactment of the 17th Amendment.

And they said, “No, no, no, let’s just let the people and the states vote for the senators.” Well, what happened was it became a super House of Representatives. You got the people voting for the senators just like they vote for the congressman.

But, this time, all the senators are equal to one another. So, instead of having the people have a greater voice from bigger states, it’s not. And, these guys no longer represent the states; they represent the people.

So, you’ve got a House of Representatives to represent the people, and you’ve got a Senate to represent the people. And, there’s nobody to represent the states. Now, could we get rid of the 17th Amendment?

Cause and Consequence: Corruption

Well, if we did, the question becomes How do you stop the corruption that goes on at the state level? And, the only reason we got into this mess of not defending the states was corruption. And, the only reason you get into corruption, according to John Adams in his diary entry is 1768, is because you lack a fear of God.

If you fear God, you’re not going to be corrupt; because, you know God will judge it. Well, when you stop being God conscious, your behavior changes. So, this is more of a spiritual problem we’re talking about, than it is a constitutional problem.

But, the constitutional issue, the constitutional consequence, of bad behavior is you now have no entity that is watching for the rights of the states in the 10th Amendment, as it should be.

Tim:

Well, you also the challenge of any time we talk about the idea of Could we or should we, those are different things. Right? Because could we: this is where you again have the challenge of an uneducated populace, where most Americans don’t know why the 17th Amendment was there or what happened before it or  the difference between having the senators representing and defending the states as opposed to what it is now.

And so, you would have to have a massive education campaign, which actually, I don’t think is a bad thing. We ought to help Americans understand the Constitution better, and the best way to help the Constitution be the most effective for states, for the nation. But, this is where sometimes it’s fun to think about What would happen if and Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do this? But, if we could and if we should or probably two very different things.

Send In Your Questions

Rick:

Quick break, guys, we’ll get to another question when we come back. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, which means we’re taking your questions and diving into founding principles on those questions. So, if you’d like to send one in, we’d love to see it.

Send it to [email protected] WallBuilders.com. Stay with us. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live!

Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

This Precarious Moment Book

David:

This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.

Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.

These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.

Be At All Times Armed

Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”

Rick:

Welcome back; thanks for staying with us on WallBulidersLive. Foundations of Freedom Thursday’s what we call these Thursday programs, and it’s a chance for you to ask questions; so, please send those into radio at WallBuilders.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Here’s a great question, guys, on voter fraud. It says, “In New Jersey, it’s reported that 10,000 mail-in ballots have been tampered with from the midterm elections. Does a governor have the authority to fire his secretary of state?

Many of our senators and congressmen are former lawyers. Would it be constitutional if the federal government established a commission of these folks to investigate and prosecute all the offenders found guilty of voter fraud across the United States?

And, what’s the process to make the FBI accountable to the people; or, what is the constitutional means to abolish it, assuming we can replace it with a commission of senators and congressmen?

So, a few questions here, guys, on first of all, voter fraud; but, obviously the question about the FBI, because we’re seeing so much in the news about some of the mishaps and frankly, abuses, that were happening over there.

Voter Fraud

But first, if you would address the voter-fraud issue. Because it affects the federal government, should there be more federal involvement on the voter side? Or, is that a state issue, and in the federal government, those are just those are the representatives of each of the states? What do you guys think?

Tim:

First of all, I think it’s kind of silly to pretend like voter fraud happens. We know better than that.

David:

Have you been watching CNN again?

Tim:

I have seen so many reporters say it never happens. I’ve seen politicians say it never happens, guys.

Rick:

David, we got to put Tim on a CNN fast.

Tim:

This is a conspiracy theory.

Okay. And, I’m saying that because I can only imagine as we discuss this people are probably having those thoughts; probably not the people that listen to our program.

However, those are very real arguments from people and culture: Does it even happen?

And, we’ve seen multiple occasions in Texas. We’ve seen people that are actually going through trials right now and different people that have been arrested. There’ve been fines for tampering.

1200 Convictions

David:

Well, at the ProFamily Legislature’s Conference we had last year, we had a group in that showed 1200 convictions, just in recent years, of voter fraud.  Some of them for hundreds, even thousands, of votes; but, 1200 convictions of those guilty of voter fraud.

So, you know, when the media says, “Oh, it never happens.” My gosh; what’s 1200? That’s a whole lot of it never happenS.

Tim:

Right. Then, the challenge is a lot of the media does not cover this; therefore, people are not aware of the level at which this happens. And, a lot of a lot of Texans say, “Wait a second; we live in the South, and we’re fairly conservative and still believe in honesty, integrity, and the basic core values.” Or, “Surely people wouldn’t do that down here.”

But, even in Texas—now, I would think it’s probably not as bad in Texas as some other places; however, this is a very real problem and threat. And so, Dad, let me throw to you What is part of the solution to this voter-fraud problem, at least in the context of this question?

David:

Well, in the context of the question, the Constitution says very clearly, “The states are the ones who determine the times, places, and manner of elections.” So, you can’t have a federal commission do all the elections for the states. And, the question about the state—

Tim:

And, by the way, we do believe and what the 10th Amendment says, that states do have the authority to have jurisdiction over these things and that this is a right that they have. So, this is something that falls inside their state jurisdiction. So, we do defend their right to be able to hold their own elections; however, there ought to be some standard of integrity in all the states.

Can a Governor Get Rid of the Secretary of State?

David:

Well, there should be; and, because this is different from state to state—and by the way, the question about Can a governor get rid of the secretary of state? It depends on the state constitution.

In some states, the secretary of state is elected by the people the same way the governor is; he runs for office. In other states, like in Texas, the secretary of state is appointed by the governor; and therefore, the governor can replace the secretary of state if that’s a problem. But if they’re elected by the people, the governor can’t get rid of them any more than get rid of a senator or anyone else; so, it’s each state that determines their own way.

George Soros’ Secretary-of-State Project

Now, there’s certainly a lot of attention on secretary of state because of voter fraud. One of the things we’ve seen in recent years is George Soros had a secretary-of-state Project where he funded big money to get his guys elected to office; because, they’re the ones who ultimately decide what votes count and what votes don’t count or if there’s a recount. Consistently his guy’s secretary of state would recount until their guy got ahead, and then they would shut the recount down, “Our guys have won; we declare a winner.”

So, this is an issue, and fraud is there. So, that’s why some states do like voter I.D. laws. Texas, by the way, just got its voter I.D. law upheld b0y the Federal Court. Why is it that people did not want a voter I.D. law in Texas?

You guys ready for this? Any reason that you think you –

Rick:

You mean, based on what they said to the pollsters that they asked?

Voter ID Law: Why Not?

David:

Well, what they said in the arguments before the court and everything else on what Texas shouldn’t have a voter I.D. law.

Tim:

Because illegal things don’t happen in Texas.

Rick:

Yeah, yeah. There’s no voter fraud. Or, you are just going to make it difficult on people that are trying to vote.

Tim:

It’s a racist. It’s sexist.

Rick:

Yeah, yeah.

David:

Here was the argument of the other side: “The new law could be used to intimidate voters who could face several years in prison if they’re found guilty of voter fraud.”

Rick:

Don’t pass the law, because it will intimidate people and make them follow the law.

Tim:

You can’t say that stealing is wrong; because, if you do and there’s consequences, then people that steal are going to get in trouble, and that’s not right.

David:

If you pass a voter-fraud law and someone commits voter fraud, now they’re going to be punished. So, we can’t have people being punished for committing a voter-fraud. That was the argument.

It’s a silly argument. But, that was the argument against this thing, is that would punish people who actually commit voter fraud.

A Federal Commission

So, the answer to the question is that you really can’t set up a federal commission on this. That’s why the difficulty we have now of state secretary states not talking to each other about who’s living in one state or another. There was a study done not long ago where that they found 53,000 people who voted in New York and also in Florida; the same people voted in two states.

They had homes in both states; they voted in both. You can’t do that. But, because the secretary of state of New York won’t talk to the secretary of state of Florida—one’s Democrat; one’s Republican—they won’t share a voter’s list; you can’t tell who’s doing that.

So, when there is such a high amount of fraud and there is such a small amount of character and there’s so little fear of God, as John Adams talked about, then you’re going to do stuff because the end justifies the means. So, there’s not a good answer to this constitutionally, at this point, except to elect better people to office who give you better secretary of states who will enforce the law.

And, Tim, as you just mentioned, our attorney general here, Ken Paxton, has been very aggressive in going after voter fraud. He’s got another case that that’s just been announced. So, that’s what you need, is people who will make an example out of those who break the law.

Solutions: Good Laws, Good Attorney Generals, Etc.

Rick:

So, we need we need the laws to be passed; and therefore, people need to encourage their legislators to have good voter-fraud prevention laws and an improvement in the system.

And, then we need good attorney generals and D.A.’s out there that will actually implement that law, defend and enforce it. After that, hopefully you’ll get exactly what these folks didn’t want, which is intimidation, meaning the bad guys will decide not to break the law because it will be actually enforced on them.

Great question though. We’re gonna take a quick break; we’ll come back with more of your questions. You’re listening a WallBuilders Live!  It’s Foundation of Freedom Thursday.

Greatest Political Privilege

President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”

Front Sight Training Course – Join Us February 22nd-23rd!

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Questions of Power

Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Rick:

We’re back at WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Last question of the day has to do with some Bible verses about Christian patriotism.

Question is: “What are some Bible verses that best defend the idea that love of country is a moral and religious duty.” Interesting question, guys; because, I think about maybe New Testament, there’s not much about love of country, right? Or, am I missing something there? Old Testament I could probably find some. What do you think?

Christian Patriotism

David:

So, Rick, that question sounds like something we’ve discussed, at least a quote before from Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration and great Founding Father, where Benjamin Rush said that love of country, patriotism, is both a religious and a moral duty. And so, from Benjamin Rush having said that, we would say, “Okay, what’s the Biblical basis for that?” So, Tim what are some Bible verses that would support that?

Tim:

Well, think there are several versus we can point to in Scripture. There’s not one specific one that says, “Love your country;” that’s not quite what is there. However, when you look at a lot of things that God told His people and that Jesus told his followers, you definitely can see some correlations and parallels.

For example, in Jeremiah 29 when Jeremiah is taken into captivity, he is told that you need to “seek the good of the land in which you’re going;” try to help the land go better and pray for it to prosper; because, when it goes well and prospers, it will be not only good for those people, it’ll be good for you.

The Golden Rule

When Jesus says in Matthew 7, what we know as the “Golden Rule” that we should do unto others what we want them to do to us. Well, I want to enjoy freedom and stability and prosperity, which America has long enjoyed; but, I need to do to others what I want them to do to me. So, if I want that for me, well then I also want this for them.

I want others to enjoy stability and freedom and prosperity and not just in America. I want everybody to enjoy that; but, because I live in America, I’m going to seek the good of the land in which I’m living. And, because I want to put other people first, this golden- rule concept, then I’m going to strive for my nation. And I think it’s okay to appreciate what your nation does well.

Where the Bible talks about “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” and “righteousness exalts a nation,” I think there are certainly things that we can look at and we can almost have like this fatherly pride in some areas, where we are so happy where our nation is good. Where it’s not good, we want to fight for it. But, certainly I think the Bible would give us reason to think that patriotism is a good thing to connect our heart to; because, it gives us something to fight for and strive for and the righteousness and the godliness and praying for it.

And, so I don’t think this is an ungodly concept; but, there’s not one specific verse that really resolves this. But, there are several that I think kind of give this idea.

Send In More Great Questions Like Those on the 17th Amendment and Elections

Rick:

Great questions today. There’s lots of other great questions; but, we just didn’t have time to get to them today. Be sure and go to WallBuildersLive.com today and you can get in the archives section and listen to some of the past Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs and also some of the Good News Friday programs and those great interviews Monday through Wednesday and wonderful guests that we that we have.

So, more of that there at the website WallBuildersLive.com. And then, I’ll also ask you to go to WallBuilders.com today and consider making a one-time contribution; or, maybe you’d be willing to come alongside us and become one of our monthly donors. Either way you’re helping us as a listener-supported program to expand and grow and get this good news in the hands of as many people as possible so that we can equip and inspire them to help restore America’s constitutional republic.

We sure appreciate your listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!

Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and their freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against all hazards; and, it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”