If a well loved politician wanted to stay in power, how could they do it legally

Assume the US had a politician with the approval ratings of Putin, a consistent 80% approval rating. This person was perceived as being competent and being able to make things better, so people wanted them in power for as long as possible. If that person wanted to have a hand in major national politics, but didn’t want to change the rules how could they do it?

They could be president for 8 years, but then what? Can you become VP and then have the president retire, and just keep doing that? Just keep running as VP, then have the president resign on his first day in office? Or does the 22nd amendment prohibit that? I’m having trouble deciphering it but it seems to only say you can’t be elected president more than 2x, it doesn’t say you aren’t allowed to be elected VP more than 2x and then take over when the president resigns.

Or is there another position in politics where that person could maintain power? If so, what would it be? Would it be a legislative position like speaker of the house or senate majority leader, or would staying in the executive branch be best? If so, what position? Chief of staff?

If you are not eligible to be President, then you are not eligible to become Vice President.

You can remain a force to be reckoned with, even if not holding the CEO office itself.

This is one we keep going over and over here at SDMB. The theory that the requirement that the VP meet the same requirements to be President would be severable from being qualified to* run to be elected as *President in their own right keeps coming back up even more so than WTH does “Natural Born” mean but ISTM that the intent and spirit of those who came up with Amendmend XXII c. 1950 was is that nobody ever hold the office more than a grand total of 2 whole terms and part of another, period.

Possible methods: Restore the power of the Party, become the undisputed Party Boss to end all bosses and then have a sweet bespoke district perfectly gerrymandered so you can become the most powerful House Speaker ever. Be the master power broker without whom POTUS can do little more than pardon the Thanksgiving turkeys, and without whom nobody makes it to the convention with a majority. Or…

…Don’t even bother with a proper public office and just become the hugely popular Boss figure to a massive popular movement that the parties can’t do without, make it so without your annointment nobody gets nominated, never mind elected and pack the elected and appointed and senior professional branches with your devotees – and if anyone tries to change that, just one word from you at a public event and he’s nobody.

Run your wife. Worked for George Wallace, and maybe some other southern scumbag.

If you’re that popular, you work on having the 22nd Amendment repealed. Congress enacts a repeal, the states approve it, and you’re free to run for as many presidential terms as you want.

I’m always amazed how people create these convoluted interpretations of the law in order to sneak around the Constitution and get in a third term and ignore the obvious method.

If they start out doing the VP-to-president trick, they can keep doing it forever. Someone who starts out by being elected vice president twice and succeeding to the presidency both times still gets to be elected president once after that. And so long as they’re never elected president, they can extend that forever. (This is obviously delusional as something intentional, but it sorta-kinda-almost happened to Gerald Ford if you squint really hard. He was almost Reagan’s running mate in 1980, and Reagan almost died. So Gerald Ford could have gone into 1984 having served two terms of more than two years, but he still would have been eligible to be elected once in his own right.)

To those who ignore the distinction between being elected President and being President, would you contend that a term limited President could not later become Speaker of the House? Or would you say that as Speaker, he or she would simply be skipped over in the line of succession?

If either, upon what do you base that belief? In neither scenario is the person “elected” President.

This was my first thought. But note that the spouse will also time out. So you need to get divorced and marry the next replacement. But that person has to be trusted to do what you say, etc.

I suppose if someone wanted to stay in power, they could convince the next president to create a position in their administration that effectively handled the running of the country, and then get hired. By way of executive order, the president could give this position most of the major powers of the presidency. Or just greatly expand the powers of the Chief of Staff to run the country.

Is there any reason this couldn’t legally happen?

There’s a conflict between the rather clear intent of the 22nd Amendment - term limits on the presidency of no more than 2 1/2 terms - and the language. Technically, it’s impossible to determine exactly how it should be interpreted in the absence of a Supreme Court decision. Everything else is speculation.

But of course in any political reality resembling our present one, continuous reelection isn’t going to happen by any stratagem like this. One can image a totally different political reality where this might be possible, but it isn’t possible in this one.

This is sort of like saying that according to quantum mechanics it is theoretically possible for a macroscopic object to spontaneously disintegrate and reappear somewhere else, but in the real world its never going to happen.

I should think the best way would be the ‘power behind the throne’ method. Endorse some other schmuck for prez, and stay as his/her ‘advisor’, thus running the government (insofar as it can be run), unofficially.
I’m assuming that with that huge approval rating, your party/fans would fall into line with your recommendation.

When Madeline Albright was Secretary of State she was removed from the line of succession because she wasn’t a natural born citizen, so there is precedent. But she was removed from the line due to a different part of the Constitution, not the term limit portion.

As others have said, a Supreme Court decision would be needed to clarify things.

Because there is no fun in that answer.

This is how Putin handled it. And then got that pesky term limits provision repealed.

Become Chairman of the National Bridge Association. Hey it worked for Deng Xiaoping…

When there is a conflict between the intent and the clear language, the clear language controls unless the clear language would lead to an absurdity.

And, although, you might think it absurd to think of a President serving indefinitely because of this catch, I do not believe that the absurdity rules reach only to unforeseen results, but those results that are clearly goofy.

There’s no fun in a government that wants to weasel its way out of its obligations instead of doing things openly and above board either.

I guess we define fun differently.

This was not the approach that the Supreme Court took in its recent decision on ACA. It ruled that intent was more important than language.

As I said, you can try to make this case all you want, but its basically arguing that quantum mechanics allows for spontaneous teleportation. It may be technically correct, but it will never happen in the real world.

As I wrote, s/he could become Speaker and remain at the center of power for a lifetime. The only official who is required constitutionally to be eligible for the presidency in order to hold an office is the VP.