Originally Published: January 31, 2018 5:56 a.m.
Re: State legislators’ approval of U.S. Senate candidates
The bill proposed by Travis Grantham is an insult to Arizona voters. Surely there are better ways to ensure U.S. Senators stay in touch with State legislators than restricting the voice and voting rights of Arizona citizens.
According to Grantham, having the State Legislature select two candidates each for the Democrats and Republicans, would ensure the Senators ultimately elected would be responsible to and more readily do the Legislature’s bidding. And that’s exactly the problem.
Why would the electorate want to place the decision of who is “worthy” to go to the U.S. Senate into the hands of State level politicians whose focus and expertise is local? I agree that a Senator should keep his or her constituents’ concerns in mind. However, the Senate regularly deals with issues of national and global impact irrelevant at the State level. What wisdom and insight will Grantham’s legislators bring to those?
The proposed system also eliminates candidates from third parties, thus silencing a segment of Arizona’s population that happens to think differently from the mainstream. Third parties may not win elections, but they bring attention and innovative thinking to issues relevant to all parties.
Individual Arizonans can only help elect a few members of the State legislature; we have no control over who makes up the majority of the body. But we choose candidates and elect Senators directly: they are accountable to all of us, which is as it should be.