A push for term limits

Our country is in the middle of a U.S. Senate impeachment trial involving the President. The nation is also gearing up for the 2020 general election. 

The Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives voted almost completely along political party lines to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

And now it looks like the Republican-led U.S. Senate will vote to acquit the President at the trial.

What did President Trump do? In a private phone call with eavesdroppers, he asked a foreign leader to look into corruption involving U.S. foreign aid. No crime there, in my view. Quite the contrary.

To a lot of citizens, like me, all of this looks like a big waste of time and taxpayer dollars. 

U.S. citizens seem to be equally split on whether they actually approve of the impeachment proceedings against President Trump based - not so much on whether he is guilty of the charges against him - but rather whether they like President Trump.

It is difficult to overstate the extent to which term limits would change Congress – for the better.

Term limits, by the way, are supported by large majorities of most American demographic groups; and they are opposed primarily by incumbent politicians and the special interest groups which depend on them.

Term limits would eliminate many of America’s most serious political problems by counterbalancing incumbent advantages such as big warchests, ensuring congressional turnover, securing independent congressional judgment and reducing election-related incentives for wasteful government spending – which is what this current impeachment process is after all, in my opinion.

Perhaps most important, Congress would acquire a sense of its own fragility and temporariness, possibly even coming to learn that it would acquire more legitimacy as an institution by doing better work on fewer tasks.

Many arguments against term limits, on the other hand, are either mistaken (they claim that there already is high congressional turnover) or irrelevant (the attempt to change the subject to proposals for campaign finance reform).

Although many opponents claim that term limits are plainly unconstitutional, the Supreme Court’s recent acceptance of the Arkansas case undercuts their argument; indeed, federal cases on election law strongly suggest that the states are constitutionally empowered to regulate such matters as the terms of federal officeholders.

The grassroots movement favoring term limits for Congress is a tribute to public involvement in politics. It is substantive, not cosmetic; both allies and enemies concede that limiting political terms would create fundamental change in American politics. 

Our Presidents are limited to two, four-year terms. Members of Congress have no such term limit.

President Trump is currently in the unique position of facing both removal from office for cause and also removal from the ability to seek re-election, it is reported. This would be great politically for Democrats.

We all know how long it’s been since the Kansas City Chiefs went to the Super Bowl the last time – 50 years. Can you imagine members of Congress serving 30, 40 or 50 years? That’s happening.

I used to buy some of the rhetoric that incumbents recited about the importance of having an experienced voice at Congress. These days, not so much.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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