We need term limits for our representatives and senators! We need them yesterday! The present system is broken.
Once elected, a person elected to the United State House of Representatives must immediately begin working on reelection. The reelection campaign will start less than a year after the representative takes office; and to be reelected, he or she needs party support, meaning close adherence to the party line. Also, to raise money for the next campaign, favorable relationships with lobbyists are extremely helpful. Independent thinking and actions are frowned upon, and the interests of the representative’s own constituents are often of secondary consideration.
Senators have more time away from the toil of campaigning, but after a term or two in Washington they become true political professionals and are more and more removed from close contacts with the electorate. Fund raising is elevated to an art form, and it becomes extremely difficult to unseat an incumbent.
I am aware that imposing term limits would lower the experience level of legislators, but I believe the effect of that would be inconsequential. More importantly, term limits are necessary if we are to make senators and representatives more responsive to the will of the people. I suggest a limit of two terms for senators and four terms for representatives.
To guard against the danger posed by a highly volatile and ill-informed electorate, effective brakes such as the filibuster must be kept in place. Those brakes, along with rotating elections of senators, should protect us from hasty, ill-considered legislative actions. As our founding fathers knew, pure democracy can be dangerous.
Along with term limits, we also need election law reforms. It would be especially helpful if we could shorten the campaign season in a way to focus attention on the issues, not the personalities.
I am aware that attempts to impose term limits have encountered some legal obstacles in the past, but there are some creative ways that could be employed to achieve needed changes without incurring a negative response from the courts.