Term Limit amendment on heels of Impeachment Trial

We all know how the Senate impeachment trial is going to conclude. Acquitted 53-47.

Since almost all politicians utilize political favors to assist in their re-election campaigns, maybe we should remove re-election from their responsibilities. Yes term limits on all elected Federal officials: POTUS, Senators, Representatives.

Many people are for term limits, but constituents love the power their individual congressmen as they have tenure. More pork for their state. But that’s also part of the problem.

When I heard Pelosi announcing the House team that would be trying the POTUS during the impeachment trial, I was amazed at the career length of many of these politicians that are elected to 2 year terms. Most of them had been in politics for more than 30-40 years.

My proposal:

POTUS - 1 - 6 year term
Senate - 1 - 10 year term
Representative - 1 - 3 year term

And if you wish to run for different office, you must resign from your current position and your state governor will appoint a successor to complete your term.

Elected officials will get more done for the people. They will not be concerned about campaigning.

It will never happen, but one can dream.

Either that or they won’t care because nothing can be done to them. Once your in all of your work will be for the person who’s going to give you your next job.

I saw the effects when Michigan succumbed to the nightmare, not dream, of legislative term limits.

It fit the consequences described in this LA Times article

I would add that they also increased partisanship and grid lock in the state legislature. Overall legislative term limits seems to me to be a bit like treating a blister on your toe with a shotgun.

We have term limits. They’re called elections.

If we keep voting bad politicians back into office, that’s our fault.

Do you want more power in the hands of unelected lobbyists?

If so, then term limits are the way to go.

I’ve seen it in Missouri. In brief, here are the negatives with term-limited officials.

  1. Running for office on a single issue and not giving a damn about governance, cooperation, or anything other than that single issue.

  2. Lack of understanding of how the institutions of government work and not enough time to learn them.

  3. Short-sided approach to long-term problems like infrastructure.

  4. Poorly drafted legislation, often relying on lobbyists to fill in the details.

  5. Legislators pandering to special interests and then getting jobs with them after they leave office.

Almost a quarter of the House of Representatives has been elected in the last two years. About two-thirds of them have been in office less than ten years. This strikes me as a solution in search of a problem. Also, if elected officials can’t be re-elected, what incentive do they have to “get more done for the people”?

The problem with having POTUS serve a single 6-year term is that it’s too long for a bad president and too short for a good one, and the POTUS is an immediate lame duck upon taking office. You see this issue with South Korea’s single-term 5-year presidency system.

Did anyone other than yr obdnt servant read the thread title and think that the Republicans were about to introduce an amendment to repeal the 22nd (carefully phrased so as not to be retroactive)?

As another MO resident, I’ll just second what Kent Clark (and others) have said. Term limits on legislators sounds nice, but the reality is it’s a disaster.

Especially in any area that requires some sort of institutional understanding or technical knowledge (think public service regulation, as a random example I’m somewhat familiar with). The big corporate lobbyists just dominate these newbie pols, who don’t have the background necessary to decipher the arguments being made to them and know that the only way to leverage a term-limited office is to move to another bigger office (thus needing campaign contributions) or moving to a corporate gig.

Now if you want to term-limit Senators to like 5 terms (30 years) or Reps to 10 terms (20 years) maybe I’ll listen.

Also I’d strongly argue against longer terms. I think routine elections are critically important for gauging the mood of the public.

Term limits are in theory a good idea. Implementing that idea is a nightmare, or sounds like it could be one.

For one, the terms you set up are 1. too long for the President and Senator and 2. too short for any meaningful legislation to pass for the House.

Term limits are a recipe for disaster. Without limits, over time the members get expertise in various areas. One person may begin to know a lot about intelligence, another about infrastructure, another about tax codes. When you force people with institutional knowledge out the door, then you wind up with a congressional body where nobody knows much about anything. I want legislators who know something about something. Instead, what we would wind up without them are a bunch of stooges at the whims and caprices of lobbyists and special interest groups.

Do you switch accountants or financial planners every 5 years?

I could see age limits but I agree with most above. Experience in the job shouldn’t be disqualifying.

I think most people for term limits are trying to limit entrenched power/corruption, not knowledge.

The only way to do both is to get the massive amounts of money out of politics.

I think in theory, the idea of term limits makes sense, in that nobody really wants some crusty old fart accumulating an immense amount of personal power by virtue of having been in Congress/state legislature/city council for 3 decades. That lends itself to all sorts of crookedness, non-responsiveness, etc… If nothing else, they act as brakes on progress a lot of the time.

But like others have said, a constant stream of short-timers isn’t good, in that if they’re not qualified or experienced already, they don’t get the time to accumulate enough experience to actually be effective and prudent legislators, and there’s no incentive for them to do what their constituents want, because they’re short-timers from the beginning.

I wonder if there have been any studies as to the “lifecycle” of a long-term legislator? Like they start out young and stupid, mature into smart and effective legislators, and then age into the very long-term legislators with the associated negative aspects? Maybe the right idea might be to identify where that divide between “smart and effective” and “old, cranky and crooked” is, and set the term limit just before that?

Agreed. We need to clean up lobbyists and PAC money. Representatives should be working for their districts and not Big Pharma, or the NRA, or banks.

All three of these terms are too long.

A political neophyte is difficult to judge before an election, and a freshman in the House would probably be a neophyte to most of the people in their district. In case the public misjudges they shouldn’t have to wait three years to undo that.

A President once every six years? It’s bad enough enduring a president you dislike for four years. You want to up the ante, and make the presidential election even more stressful?

And then for the Senate you are proposing a single term that lasts a decade. More than the other two positions, the Senate is supposed to be old and slow-moving and entrenched and experienced. That’s the point of the Senate. Twenty years might be enough, if you must establish limits, but ten is too little.

But even more important, these longer terms mean less frequent elections. For example, right now we have elections for every House member, every two years. Every other election you vote for president, and two out of three elections you get to pick a Senator. From the day I turn 18, it will be at the most two years before I can vote for one of the above positions, and at the most six years before I have an opportunity to vote for all of them.

Let’s look at your numbers. One election every three years for Representative, one election every five years for Senator (I assume), and one election every six years for President. From the day I turn 18, it could be three years before I vote for someone - anyone - who represents me in Washington. It could be ten years before I have the opportunity to vote for every official that represents me.

How am I supposed to feel that my Representative represents me if they don’t need me after being elected, anyways? Why would the Representative care what I think any more?


POTUS is already term limited by Constitutional Amendment. That is what it would take to impose limits on other federal elected officials. Not going to happen.

Yes, for the reasons you and others have listed.

An amendments convention–necessary for a new amendment–is also a recipe for disaster. At least for those other than straight white Christian males (who aren’t members of unions). Others, who prefer to think of themselves as full-fledged humans, will find that’s no longer the case if we go the AC route–because there are amendments ready to go that will take away many rights now enjoyed by those who fail the ‘straight white Christian male’ test.

In fact, some advocating for a term-limits amendment may be doing so cynically. Some are counting on the general ignorance about those lying-in-wait amendments. Once an AC is called, yowzah! All those pesky “rights” enjoyed by women and gays and non-Christians and non-whites and union members…they are going away!

Maybe some hope that, although it makes little sense because convention-approved amendment(s) would still need to be ratified by 38 states.

I’m old fashioned conservative enough to think that the U.S. has too much democracy. But I agree with those who say that replacing majority rule with rule by lobbying firms, looking to reward their patrons after one term, would be worse.

My last link has more subtle ideas than this next one. But if someone is looking for something dramatic to make our republic more like the one the founders – who distrusted democracy – envisioned, term limits would not be it. Forbidding electors from being pledged to a candidate would be much more in their spirit.

“And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office.”
– Alexander Hamilton in Federalist #68, describing hopes for how electors, under our Constitutional, would be chosen prior to their state-level deliberations.