By Mike Huckabee and W.V. Secretary of State Mac Warner
For The State Journal
Senator Joe Manchin needs to take a SLAP, a State Legislature Accountability Pledge. In doing so, he would lead the United States Senate in fulfilling the historical role of being a United States Senator.
The Federal Government is a product of the states, not the other way around. As the upper house of Congress, the U.S. Senate protects the sovereignty of the States. The lower House of Representatives is the congregation of “The People”.
This design ensures a melding of the states’ interests with the people’s interests and produces a Federal Government. The genius this structure unites us in is a constitutional republic which has endured for 233 years.
Prior to 1913, our Constitution directed state legislatures to choose their senators. The 17th Amendment changed the senator selection process to a direct vote by the people, but senators’ solemn duty to represent state interests never changed. Today, without accountability, growing numbers of rogue U.S. Senators routinely violate the will of their states.
Repeal of the 17th Amendment would improve senator accountability to their states, but the process would be long and tedious. Responsible governance cannot wait; there is a better, quicker way to achieve the desired end.
It is time to right the ship of state and call for a State Legislature Accountability Pledge (SLAP). This new pledge would ask politicians to be accountable, as intended by our Founding Fathers, to the Constitution and to their states. Citizens and groups wanting accountability in government should ask incumbents and candidates for U.S. Senate seats to agree to the following:
I will faithfully represent the interests of my State while serving in the United States Senate. If my State Legislature should ever render a two-thirds majority “no confidence vote” in my representation of the State, I solemnly swear to immediately resign my seat so the legislature and governor may appoint a person to fill my unexpired term who will better represent the State in the national government.
Anyone refusing to take the pledge should be queried as to their objection. The SLAP provides the best of both worlds — direct election of our Senators and a steadfast obligation to stick to their pledge to represent the interests of their state — not personal, special, or party interests. As issues arise, Senators should consult and align their representation with their respective legislatures back home.
This brings us to the current situation in West Virginia and Senator Manchin’s inexplicable detachment from West Virginia’s interests. …