Term Limits

There is a candidate for President who is running with a platform item of Term Limits for Congress. I disagree with this idea.

The problem we have with “career politicians” isn’t as simple as how long they have been there. There are plenty of long term, career politicians that work diligently for the people in their districts and states, just as there are plenty that prefer to work for special interests and the “donor class”. Term limits is not the answer because then you are getting rid of the good as well as the bad.

The problem we have is much more complex. It is instead one where the already corrupt have corrupted the system to keep themselves in power. The problems include voter suppression and gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is when the politicians redraw the voting districts so that they choose their voters rather than the voters choosing their representatives. One good place to get more information about this is the book “Constitutional Calculus” by Jeff Suzuki . Mr. Suzuki covers this and so much more about how math affects politics. (disclaimer, he’s a friend). Politicians, usually but not always Republicans, redraw the districting maps to give themselves an election advantage.

Voter suppression takes many forms, and again is usually perpetrated by the Republicans. It can be voter ID laws to require forms of ID that happen to be very hard for poorer people or students to get, sometimes coincidental to the closure of government offices in areas that those targeted citizens live in or restricting the available hours in those offices to when people are at work. For ones targeting students, it can also include requiring any vehicle used by the student to be registered in the town they go to school in instead of where they came from.

Beyond that, I don’t think term limits are a good idea because then instead of having career professional politicians and a chance at a steady set of policies, we wind up with amateurs and polices that swing widely from session to session with corresponding changes to laws, treaties and other international relationships.

The fix to the problem isn’t term limits, it’s unrigging the system, so that no one gets an unfair advantage. It’s undoing gerrymandering. It’s restoring voting rights and access. It’s getting money out of politics so that people cannot literally buy elections. It’s a complex fix for a complex problem.

It is not as simple as term limits.

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