One of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s promises on the campaign trail was to “drain the swamp,” and a part of that, he announced during his “Gettysburg Address,” would be his push for a Constitutional amendment requiring term limits for members of Congress.
In October, I wrote about this promise:
Trump on draining the swamp:
“[O]n the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue the following six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC:
- FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;”
This is a worthy goal, one that would go a long way to draining the swamp of long-time politicians ensconced in DC, beholden to lobbyists and donors and not to their constituents. Rather than the current dismissive attitude toward the very taxpayers on whom many are dependent for their entire adult lives, including well after they leave office in the form of life-long pensions, term-limited members of Congress might be more inclined to keep their campaign promises.
To that end, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL) have penned a piece in the Washington Post arguing for congressional term limits.
DeSantis, who was a Senate candidate in Florida prior to Marco Rubio deciding to run, chose not to receive his congressional pension and even filed a measure (that went nowhere) to eliminate congressional pensions. Cruz has long been pushing for congressional term limits (as did much of the 2016 GOP presidential field).
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) December 9, 2016
In an age in which partisan divisions seem intractable, it is remarkable that public support for congressional term limits is strong regardless of political affiliation — huge majorities of rank-and-file Republicans, Democrats and independents favor enacting this reform. Indeed, according to a Rasmussen survey conducted in October, 74 percent of likely voters support establishing term limits for all members of Congress. This is because the concept of a citizen legislature is integral to the model of our democratic republic.
Though our Founding Fathers declined to include term limits in the Constitution, they feared the creation of a permanent political class that existed parallel to, rather than enmeshed within, American society. As Benjamin Franklin said, “In free governments, the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors. . . . For the former therefore to return among the latter was not to degrade but to promote them.”
We believe that the rise of political careerism in modern Washington is a drastic departure from what the founders intended of our federal governing bodies. To effectively “drain the swamp,” we believe it is past time to enact term limits for Congress.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) December 9, 2016
Tying Americans’ clear lack of confidence and trust in the federal government to the need to limit the number of terms members of Congress serve, Cruz and DeSantis list the immediate changes to the calculus of seeking and holding congressional office.
Term limits will change the calculus of those who serve in Congress.
Without term limits, the incentive for a typical member is to stay as long as possible to accumulate seniority on the way to a leadership post or committee chair. Going along to get along is a much surer path for career advancement than is challenging the way Washington does business.
With term limits, we will have more frequent changes in leadership and within congressional committees, giving reformers a better chance at overcoming the Beltway inertia that resists attempts to reduce the power of Washington.
The American people have offered Republicans an opportunity to enact meaningful change. They have rejected the status quo and put the Washington elites on notice that they will no longer accept the old way of doing business.
It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions. Favors for the political elite have gone on for far too long. In Washington, where corruption and collusion abound, entrenched politicians live fat and happy cutting deals and breaking promises, while those who don’t oblige are shunned. Congressional term limits are critical to stopping the ongoing abuse by D.C. insiders.
Watch DeSantis speak from the floor of the House on term limits:
It might be added, as well, that a different quality of person might seek to serve in Congress than the grasping, self-serving types who seem to be the majority on both sides of the aisle. With term limits, these people wouldn’t be drawn to a lifetime of leeching off of the American people and might instead seek work as race hustlers, community organizers, or media talking heads. This would clear the way for people who truly seek to serve their district or state and its people.
The time that President Trump will have to enact the many important changes he’s promised will be short; like Obama before him, he will have only a couple of years, until the next midterm in 2018. Congressional term limits is not only doable but an imperative part of his plan to drain the swamp.DONATE
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