Term Limits? Extend Term Lengths Instead!

In today’s complex wold of government two and four year terms simply doesn’t give our elected officials enough time to learn their jobs before they need to prepare for the next election.  When these terms in office were originally established by the authors of our Constitution almost 240 years ago life was far more simple and government infinitely less complex allowing elected officials time to learn their much simpler jobs and perform their duties.  Elections were far simpler requiring far less time to prepare and run.  Now its all about seniority and getting into good and influential committees and the hundreds of issues that must constantly be dealt with and preparing for the next elections takes years of preparation and compromise to please potentially large campaign contributors.  And for the highest elective office, the Presidency, one must learn and master this very complex and highly responsible job in just one year, the honeymoon year and spend the next 3 years positioning oneself for the next election with good ratings.

As a rule the vast majority of elected officials run for at least 2 consecutive terms.  So why not extend the length of their term in office to twice what it now is.  Instead of a president running 2 terms of four years why not let a president run a single term of 8 years but not allowing any consecutive terms?  This means that once a president is elected he will have enough time to learn the job well and enough time to do the things he wants to do in office up to the very last day without ever having to be distracted by running for a second consecutive term.  But allow the President to run 8 years later if he wants.  Hi just cannot run consecutively.  He will have far more time to do things presidential up to his last day in office and we all can save time and money voting every 8 years instead of 4 for a new president.  This then puts both parties on an even keel not having an incumbent running for president.  If the president is running the country down into the ground there are procedures for removing incompetent presidents.

The same would go for senators and house members.  Double the length of their terms and let them run for only non-consecutive term.  They can run again but must skip a term. This would vastly simplify the entire elective process and allow fresh blood into government when terms are completed and eliminate the advantage of incumbents.  No politician needs to worry about running for office a consecutive time so they can spend all their time doing their job without worrying about a re-election campaign.  This also greatly reduces the influence of special interest groups and money going into incumbent politicians’ re-election campaigns to influence them while in office since they won’t be re-elected for a consecutive term.  Allow them to run again but not consecutively and that there will be no term limits if they wish to run 4 years later for the House or 8 years later for the Senate.  Most will not want to wait that long, especially 8 years, so there should be plenty of opportunity to see new representatives with fresh ideas.  And they would be far less influenced by factors related to re-elections.  This should cut campaign and election costs in half and focus our elected officials upon running the country instead of running of the next election.

Simply double the length of each term in office and eliminate consecutive terms for all elected offices.  People can run for office as may times as they want as long as it is not consecutively.  This means they lose their seniority and have to re-establish it when re-elected on an alternate term but it also means that fresh Senators and House members get a chance to gain seniority and positions on important committees.  Eliminate the need for elected officials to spend time preparing to run for re-elections and all its fallouts.  It seems so very simple yet solves so many problems.  It is abundantly obvious that what is now happening in government isn’t working.  Congress has the lowest rating in history.  We need a complete turnover in Congress.  What do you think?

Postscript:

I’d like to comment on concerns some may have regarding being stuck with bad legislators with the longer terms I am proposing.

If one looks back upon history it will show that we have a strong pattern of re-electing incumbent officials regardless of whether they are good or bad. Often it is a matter of perspective whether a legislator is deem to have a good or bad congressional voting record or political position. In fact the vast majority of voters don’t even know who their congressional representatives are. So most people simply vote down party lines or for the incumbent. So thinking you have control over who gets elected is an illusion. That is why we have so many bad reelected legislators in government today.

The real question that should be asked is how do we get the most out of those who we consider good or even legislators? I’d like to reiterate that by extending their term in office we allow them more time to focus upon doing a more effective job without wasting time running for their next term. It will allow them to be less influenced by special interests who donate to campaigns to influence legislation. Congress has its lowest ratings ever but we still reelect the same legislators. Reduced influence from special interest should help Congress function better than now. It will also get new blood into Congress.

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4 Responses to Term Limits? Extend Term Lengths Instead!

  1. stan m says:

    I don’t like it; we could be stuck with ‘bad’ presidents, congressmen, etc. for a long time. Frankly, (no pun intended), elections themselves should function as a way of setting term limits.

    • Frank Geefay says:

      In fact most incumbents get re-elected to office over and over again yet Congress has its lowest ratings in history. Why? Because it is so difficult for new candidates to beat incumbents. Most voters don’t even know who they are voting for so they vote for the incumbent assuming they know what they are doing. So by default incumbents run at least two consecutive terms. They spend about one to two years preparing for their re-elections instead of doing their jobs. During their terms they are influenced by big business special interests because they need contributions from them for their re-elections… So why not let them serve double their term but not run consecutively for re-elections?

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