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I am writing this article pursuant to this link found on Facebook which talks about Ted Cruz submitting legislation to enact term limits for senators. Now, just the fact that one of the most repulsive Tea Party Republicans was supporting this should automatically make you take a second look at what they are suggesting just to see how much they were trying to screw you. I have been thinking about this issue for a while now and thought I would put my thoughts in a quick post.
I. Term Limits Will Make Things Worse
I do not really support the introduction of term limits as any sort of solution to our plethora of electoral problems. Such legislation is useless because it does NOT solve the many root problems with our electoral system that allow such loatheable people to be elected in the first place. In fact, I would say that term limits will make things much worse.
A. Exacerbates the Revolving Door Problem
Ok, you have successfully enacted term limits, so guess what, another corporate owned clone who will sell you out to the their corporate owners for fun and profit will take their place. Different name, different face, but same corporate sponsorship logos. Just another corporate tool that is bought and paid for.
Term limits will only exacerbate the amount of corporate shills cycling through our government just trying to get paid and to get a lucrative job after they finish their 2 corporate sponsored terms. We will get more turnover, so that even less will get done, because they are running for office looking just collect their corporate check. You think the revolving door is bad now, wait until you have term limits enacted!
B. Accelerates Senior Slide
In their last term there may be significant ‘senior slide‘ where they will not do anything that is useful to the people because they have no chance of running for office again and, in the event that they do work towards something, you can bet they will be working towards getting their corporate job lined up by greasing the corporate wheels with political favors. Term limits will increase political corruption and corporate control over our government even more than it already is.
C. No Politician with a Vision or Expertise
Also, with term limits enacted there will be no one in office with a long term vision that can be there to fight for it and to attempt to carry it out. We will also miss out on policy expertise by more senior staff as well as those who have a significant knowledge on how to get things done. We will also miss out on having amazing legislators and representatives unnecessarily kicked out of office before they can do anything useful. Real change takes time and a focused politician that puts in the time to build alliances, issue awareness, and public support, and that will not really be possible with just 2 terms unless the corporations will pay to get it done.
Plus, term limits are undemocratic because they override the will of the people (for better and for worse). If the people wanted Roosevelt for 6 terms then that is what the people should get. Why should a popular politician be arbitrarily removed without the voter’s choosing otherwise?
E. Results of Term Limits in the Real World
What are some of the measured results of term limits? Research listed on the Wikipedia page for Term Limits in the US shows that:
- legislative term limits:
- increase legislative polarization
- reduce the legislative skills of politicians
- reduce the legislative productivity of politicians
- weaken legislatures vis-a-vis the executive
- reduce voter turnout
- Parties respond to the implementation of term limits by recruiting candidates for office on more partisan lines.
- States that implement term limits in the state legislatures are associated with also developing more powerful House speakers.
- Term limits have not reduced campaign spending,Â reduced the gender gap in political representation,Â increased the diversity of law-makers,Â or increased the constituent service activities of law-makers.
Term limits are a toothless stopgap to help make people complacent who do NOT know any better that they are being fleeced with this sort of a bill. People will now think “Term limits, yea! OK now everything is fixed! Things will get better!!” when, in fact, zero has been done to solve the actual problems which make people consider term limits as a solution to our electoral problems. It is a way to say “Look here! We did something! We are awesome! Vote for us!!” when in fact they really did not do anything useful. Not only did they not do anything useful, they made things worse for us and better for corporations and the 1%.
Term limits solve very little and are, at best, a token platitude to appease the masses who do not understand the massive problems we face with our deplorable lack of a democracy in the United States.
- The False Promise of Term Limits (Slate, May 2018)
- Five reasons to oppose congressional term limits (Fix Gov, Jan 2018)
- Congressional term limits are a bad idea (Vox, Oct 2016)
- Five reasons to oppose congressional term limits (Brookings Institute, Jan 2018)
II. Real Electoral Reforms That Will Make a Difference
In my 18 page post The Systemic Suppression Inherent with America’s Two Party System I go over quite a few issues that we face in our significantly broken electoral system. This rather large post really just scratches the surface of one important facet – the suppression within the Two Party System. In that post I talk about:
- how the two-party system is even a thing
- the dumbing down of America
- corporate control of the parties
- the shift of the two-parties to the right
- suppression of minority voices within parties
- the rigging of the presidential debates
- and much more…
<insert post to read The Systemic Suppression Inherent with America’s Two Party System>
Real electoral reform will cover many, many facets of not only elections, but of politicians, corporations, and corporate media too. My giant policy page on Electoral Reform covers the broad plethora of things that are need to be fixed in order to really do anything about our broken electoral system that term limits cannot at all solve. We need real and comprehensive electoral reform which is really trying to solve the very many root problems with our electoral system, so that the idea of term limits would never be thought of.
<insert page to read: Electoral Reform @ Interstellar New Deal>
You cannot fix corporate ownership of our government, our politicians, and our electoral process with term limits.
You cannot fix gerrymandering, voter suppression, lack of view representation, or hacked voting machines with term limits.
You cannot fix corporate bias in media, corporate ownership of the presidential debates, or the lack of representation and voting power of Washington DC, Puerto Rico or other US territories with term limits.
You cannot fix the pay for play schemes, politician-to-corporate-lobbyist revolving door, insider trading, and their plethora of other unethical conduct with term limits.
You cannot fix an ill educated, disillusioned, impoverished, and disenfranchised electorate with term limits.
These are many of the things that need to be fixed that will obviate the desire for term limits because the actual root causes will be fixed. You can find my Electoral Reform page and many other reforms on my policy site: The Interstellar New Deal.