Term Limits, the chimera.

I know, I know, my opinion on the subject of “term limits” is not mainstream. Sometimes I wobble a little, but each time I study the problem I end up back at my original conclusion.

Term limits are NOT a solution to “better governance of the country”.  It is leaving the 800 pound gorilla of elections  unaddressed.

Elections are about voters and our choices.

Term limits is about restricting voter choice. It is about imposing an arbitrary limit on how many elections a candidate will be allowed to win.

It is promoted as a way to get rid of the entrenched old fossils, those representatives who are making a life career out of slavishly following their party line and not representing their electorate.  And, I concede, that is a good argument for it. But my biggest argument against it is simple – the voters have the opportunity to oust any politician at any election. But they do not. They tend to vote in the same party and candidate.

If “term limits” advocates wish to change the outcome of the status quo they need to work out how to persuade voters to change their habits. This is the ONLY way to succeed.

Several States have enacted term limits – how has that work out for those States? And I am really asking that question out of a desire to know – personally I do not know the answer. But as I have seen no campaigns touting the raging success of “term limits” I tend to be skeptical.

The biggest block to term limits are the two Parties – The Republicans and the Democrats. It costs the parties less if they are re-electing the same candidate, the candidate makes contacts, takes more of the load of fundraising etc. If there are term limits then when the change arrives the most important point of continuity is the Party Organization. They will choose their candidate and they will elect a candidate like the one that just left.

Without a sea-change in the Electorate, without us teaching  an influential minority in EACH party that  evaluating candidates, really looking at what they have done and are doing and exercising the judgement that a new person is needed and the old one has to go, judging the worth of candidates based on what they do for the country is our DUTY as CITIZENS. We are not “voters” we our citizens using voting to exercise our control over our servants, the politicians.