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Tue Dec 31, 2019, 01:34 AM

It's up to voters to prevent four more years of institutional vandalism

Two thousand and twenty will be a year in which U.S. institutions begin to recover from a nasty infection, or to reveal lasting disabilities.

The immediate, televised test will come to a disturbingly weakened U.S. Senate.

This is the one institution that Americans decided the founders had gotten all wrong. Senators were initially selected by state legislatures as a counterbalance to the direct democracy of the House of Representatives. That changed with the ratification of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution in 1913. But the Senate’s immunity from public passions was partially maintained by six-year terms and by Senate rules allowing filibusters and requiring supermajorities to move forward at key moments. This gave individual senators extraordinary power to shape corporate outcomes and encouraged a healthy institutional arrogance.

The old Senate is nearly dead — mortally wounded by majority leaders of both parties who have prioritized efficiency over tradition. The current leader, Mitch McConnell, seems intent on delivering the coup de grace by publicly admitting to coordination with the White House in the impeachment process. This is the effective subordination of the Senate to the president, leaving a large hole where the framers intended an immovable object.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-up-to-voters-to-prevent-four-more-years-of-institutional-vandalism/2019/12/30/3fabb272-2b33-11ea-bcd4-24597950008f_story.html

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