Exploring Potential Term Limits in Congress

Exploring Potential Term Limits in Congress

One of President Trump’s campaign promises was to “drain the swamp.” His intention was to clean out the corruption that plagues America’s institutions of democracy and justice. To accomplish this, Trump has placed certain individuals in key positions to fix our country and keep it running at peak efficiency.

However, his best efforts haven’t been able to fix all of our problems. Given all of the craziness happening in our country, particularly in Congress, it seems that something else needs to be done to drain the swamp. Could enforcing term limits in Congress help to fix this issue?

Career Politicians

Some individuals make it their life’s goal to act as a career politician. While desiring to represent the American people often comes from a good place, it’s easy to get comfortable with that kind of power. As the saying goes, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

These “career politicians” find it all too easy to slip into a pattern of self-perpetuation and to serve their own interests. Running a political campaign isn’t cheap, which encourages the career politician to prioritize funding and re-election over fully representing the interests of their constituents. When someone stays in the same seat for nearly a lifetime, it’s not hard to imagine that individual becoming too comfortable with their status at the expense of our democracy.

If stagnation and corruption can result from a member of Congress holding their seat for too long, then, perhaps, imposing term limits would be a step in the right direction.

If Enacted, How Long Should Term Limits Last?

Currently, our major institutions of power have term lengths, but not always limits.

Here’s a short breakdown of our highest offices:

  • House Representatives serve 2-year terms and are up for re-election on even years.
  • Senators have 6-year terms and are also up for re-election on even years. However, these cycles are staggered so that only one-third of the Senate is up for re-election at a time.
  • Presidents serve up to two 4-year terms, for a total of 8 years. In special circumstances, a succeeding president can potentially serve 10 years.
  • Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, though the average term is 16 years.

So, only the president has an upper limit of terms they can serve. Two terms for presidents seem to have worked out well so far. Why not try out a two-term limit for members of Congress?

Is Anything Being Done Right Now?

Theory is all well and good, but something probably needs to happen in the present before irreversible damage is done to our national institutions. That seems to be happening now, even if inadvertently. More GOP Representatives than Democrat ones have exited the House for the last two years.

In fact, there’s a clear trend showing that, in recent years, more Republicans have vacated their House seats.

Though their reasons vary, this trend among Republican House Representatives is allowing fresh faces to guide America. Democrats seem to be doing less to improve upon our already great country and more to keep House seats for themselves. It seems clear that some sort of term limit in Congress could help to truly drain the swamp. What do you think?

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