Right Idea, Wrong Reasons

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Recently, Democrat Presidential candidate Tom Steyer released TV ads in Iowa declaring he was the only one talking about term limits for members of Congress. His rationale: because there’s not enough diversity in Congress, and that’s what’s preventing progressive change in America. Never mind the fact progressive ideas have turned the West Coast into a shithole, literally in San Francisco’s case, or that Americans might not want a more progressive country because…well, San Francisco.

However, I do say I have to agree with Steyer on term limits. I used to be against them because I felt the only term limits should be placed on Congress members by the voters. Then, I went to work in the service industry. Within a few years, I came to the realization the people who I saw doing incredibly stupid stuff might actually vote. And given some of the people getting elected, the elected might only be marginally smarter than the voters.

Term limits are a way for the people to take back at least some control of the government because it has the potential to be a deterrent to lobbyists from all sides. One of the ways special interest groups sustain their power base is by helping elect candidates who will uphold these groups’ ideals and goals. Steyer’s plan is to allow only 12 years in Congress, which isn’t completely unreasonable to me. If you only have a limited amount of time to work with, special interest groups won’t have as much sway over a candidate near the end of his or her term. If written narrowly enough, I could get behind Steyer’s term limits push.

Now, here’s where I part company. Steyer may be the only Presidential candidate talking about term limits because…he doesn’t realize he doesn’t have the power to unilaterally make it happen. Thanks to a little thing the kids like to call separation of powers, the President can’t make Congress abide by term limits unless they agree with the idea. With thinking like this, I have to wonder how he made his billions because it’s not because he’s a critical thinker.

And that brings us to the other reason Steyer’s term limits idea wouldn’t work: Congress doesn’t want them. Out of the 18 candidates running from the Democratic side, 7 of them would be directly impacted right now, with an additional 3 that were in positions that would have been impacted by it. And let’s not overlook the fact both major parties would lose astonishing numbers of Representatives and Senators without replacements to continue their sloth…I mean work. If you want Democrats and Republicans to come together, forcing term limits on them would be a good way to make that happen.

Plus, there’s no guarantee more people of color, women, or women of color will get elected with term limits. It just means spots will open up faster for them to run. Sure, you might be able to catch lightning in a bottle by electing The Squad, but you might also elect solid candidates like Mia Love or incompetent candidates like Katie Hill. Term limits have nothing to do with who gets elected.

Nor do they have anything to do with the ideology of those elected. Not every woman, person of color, or woman of color is a progressive, like the aforementioned Mia Love. In fact, there are quite a few people of all colors and both genders who align more with Donald Trump than with Tom Steyer, and those numbers are growing. Assuming someone of a different color and/or gender think the way you do because of said color and/or gender is a mistake not worth making in a Presidential campaign.

Fortunately, Mr. 1% is polling close to what percentage he is in the socioeconomic stratosphere, so it’s unlikely he’ll see the White House anywhere but as part of a guided tour. Even so, I have to give him credit for talking about term limits. In fact, I fully support Tom Steyer being bound by term limits beyond the 8 years the Constitution states.

I’m thinking…zero terms.

Author: Thomas

I'm a small town boy living in the heart of Iowa watching the world go by with my wife and dog.