Op-Ed: Voters decide term limits each election



“Asking an incumbent member of Congress to vote for term limits is a bit like asking a chicken to vote for Colonel Sanders.” – Bob Inglis, former Congressmen, R-California.

Every time we reelect the wrong people to run our governments, there is an impassioned plea from around America for term limits. Since our founders did not believe politics would become a lifetime career, the Constitution did not mention term limits. Rufus King from Massachusetts said, “We must limit the time spent in public office,” but most other delegates argued that they trusted voters to do that.

The term “career politician” is a pejorative for what is happening in governments across the nation. When states and the federal government realized people were voting with their parties and not with their heads, they passed term limits for the highest offices. But as the people took more abuse from government and asked for more term limits, state and federal legislatures told them to pound sand.

Author of “The Prince,” Niccolò Machiavelli told us, “Newcomers are always much more closely watched by the public.” Everyone knows what to expect from incumbents even though they elect them anyway. It’s newbies they watch like a vulture scouts for road-kill. Human nature cautions us to suspect anything new, and voters want their money’s worth.

“When their actions are seen to be skillful, they attract more men and bind their supporters far tighter than those before.” – Machiavelli

Incumbents shamelessly self-promote for doing nothing. They know the more media coverage they get the more voters will see them as champions for the people – yet they only champion their party. They make headlines writing bills to appease party voters knowing they have no chance to pass.

Incumbents are members of a fraternity that is above the law. They make critical comments about others who are trying to pass good laws. And their flock buys into this like the junk they order from TV gadget pitch-men. If it’s to their advantage to agree with laws that limit our rights, they clam they had to compromise to pass an important bill while most voters never question them for doing that.

A recent Gallup poll revealed 75% of voters want term limits. If most voters are not pleased with Congress, why do they reelect the retreads? They vote for their party, not their representatives. A Neilson poll shows only 15% approve of Congress but 67% reelect incumbents from their party.

“It is the besetting vice of democracies to substitute politics for common sense.” – James Oliver

If voters are so fed up with Congress, the way they vote doesn’t show it. We debate this before and after each election. It’s the people who always reelect bad incumbents who are responsible for the ineptitude in Congress. It’s the voters who reelect party hacks who complain the loudest when they had a chance to replace them with new lawmakers. It’s time voters share the blame for Congress.

As Americans continue to talk about term limits and how badly we need them, they forget that our founders already gave them to us with the ballot box. Since 1791, when Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton created two political parties, voters have allowed the party to choose the candidates; not them. For years, media political hyperbola shaped elections. Since we no longer have an objective press, it is up to voters to learn about their issues and the candidates before they pull the handle down; not after.

”Term limits mean that you don’t trust the voters. ‘Stop me before I vote again.” – Garry Wills

For over four years, we have elected and reelected the most disruptive Congress – people that have occupied seats in the House: Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. They have not only been the focus of intense scrutiny from Republicans, but they’re always sparring with other Democrats.

Congress is a stage for the “Squad” to vent their anger with being American and make incongruous unconstitutional proposals on how to make the USA into a third world nation. They pass each day mocking and criticizing our government, preventing other Congressmen from governing. They do not serve the people in their districts, yet they were all reelected last general election?

This Marxist-leaning “Gang of Four” came from countries whose governments are inept, corrupt and the worst in the world. Their drive to defund police, rename schools and tear down statues is a significant obstacle for the rest of Congress. That is why deal-making Democrats like U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is retiring from Congress this year. It’s impossible for his party to agree on anything.

“We shouldn’t ever accept mediocrity as the best that a politician can do.” – Joe Manchin

There are 100 members of the radical progressive caucus in the House who are trying to move the Democratic Party to the far left. They oppose all good bills so nothing gets sent to the Senate. The Senate’s only progressive caucus member, socialist Bernie Sanders, is spokesmen for the Squad. And leftist majority leader Chuck Schumer continues to lobby against all bills written by the GOP. He regularly criticizes the Supreme Court and tells members of his party to picket the homes of justices and harass them to influence their decisions.

Although Kamala Harris is Biden’s vice president, she was the most aggressive far left member of Congress. As veep, she has the authority to break a tie vote in the Senate on every bill. She has stopped the passage of more bills than anyone in U.S. history. That’s one reason Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided to retire this year. While announcing his retirement, he cited his inability to do more for his constituents since almost all of the current members of Congress lack bipartisanship.

Author Alex Macon wrote, “Voter education shouldn’t just cover when and how to vote, but why.”

Political parties have short changed the democratic process and voters continue to ask Congress to protect them from their parties. They don’t trust themselves to do the right thing when they are unhappy. Instead, they vote for their party’s favorite son, and they are the first who beg Congress to pass term limit laws and vote themselves out of a job? Are they serious? Who is fooling whom?

Most voters support term limits out of insecurity. They don’t want to make a choice and live with it, since in many cases it would also terminate the service of those we have depended on for years to navigate the harbors of bipartisanship like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. It would be a brain drain on Congress removing dedicated seasoned lawmakers who have served us and America for decades.

Voters hold the keys to the doors of Congress and can lock out anyone in any election. It’s been said, “Congress will always be incompetent and never do what voters want them to do.” But that doesn’t hold water in a republic with free elections. We’re responsible for Congress and the quality of people we send there. We have the power to limit the term of any politician. It is time we realize, in a government of the people, the government answers to us, we don’t answer to them. We must determine term limits, not them.

“The permanent institutional expertise class is now no longer the legislators, it’s the lobbyists who don’t have term limits and are there forever.” – Tim Kaine

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