RSS
Should governors appoint senators?
Why special elections might be a better way to fill vacant Senate seats
 

Rod Blagojevich did us all a favor, said Bruce Reed in Slate. By trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat, the Illinois governor pointed out how unwise it is to let governors, instead of voters, fill vacant offices. Historically, half of the appointed senators who ran for election to a full term ended up losing. So why not cut out the middle man, hold special elections, and let the people do the handpicking in the first place?

Special elections are far from a perfect solution, said Joshua Spivak in The Washington Post. Sure, the Blagojevich scandal and lesser controversies surrounding open seats in New York and Delaware expose problems inherent in gubernatorial appointments. But special elections cost state taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a pop, and usually yield turnouts dramatically lower than in general elections, so “winners are chosen by a seriously skewed electorate.”

No harm in deviating from democracy, right? asked Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune. Caroline Kennedy is gunning for Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be vacant Senate spot in New York, and she owes her prominence entirely to her bloodline. So New York Gov. David Paterson should treat the opening like a “hereditary monarchy.” But if he does, why not aim higher and see if Prince Charles wants the job?

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week