Can We Agree on Anything?
February 1, 2017 | View PDF
Americans now have a new administration, battle lines have been drawn between the left and the right, and it would appear there is little hope that our fiercely divided nation can agree about anything. Politics naturally divides as it is only in the civil debate of opposing ideas are we able to create solutions to problems. Unfortunately, the continual stream of media commentary encouraging rancor in addition to an escalation of protests from the left designed to further divide makes the prospect of any sort of unity appear bleak.
While speculation regarding a divided nation makes for sensational headlines, and certainly fuels the fires of discord, is the premise correct? Is there not a single political issue that can unite Americans across ideological spectrums?
I think a common issue does exist among the electorate, one I covered in an article late last year which appeals to Americans across party lines, and it’s an issue that is tailored for the American grassroots of all stripes - Congressional Term Limits.
Obviously, it won’t unite everyone as it takes aim at those who are intent on attaining a congressional seat for their lifetime, but with more and more citizens becoming aware of just how broken our system is at the federal level, it’s time that the discussion of term limits moves to an action phase instead of only frustrated rants of why they are needed.
Term limits are unlikely to be enacted at the federal level, regardless of how many well-intentioned House or Senate members try to push through legislation, but awareness of the issue from the proposed Cruz-DeSantis bill can help our efforts at state legislatures across the nation, including our Alabama resolution calling for an Article V Convention for Term Limits that will be introduced during this 2017 legislative session.
Surveys conducted on February 12 to 16th, 2016 by McLaughlin & Associates* pertaining to congressional term limits reveal that American voters want a Constitutional Amendment for term limits on members of Congress in overwhelming numbers (80%) across political, geographic, and demographic groups. Additionally, 73% would more likely vote for candidates who support term limits, 62% are less likely to vote for someone opposing term limits, and 79% are in favor of a convention placing term limits on Congress. Whether male or female, Republican or Democrat, liberal, moderate or conservative, and across all racial and age demographics, Americans recognize that limiting time spent as a member of Congress is beneficial to our nation and its future.
One of the arguments against term limits has come from those who doubt it would have any impact whatsoever on the power of the special interests and bureaucrats in Washington, and would in fact give more control to that group, but one of the most infamous lobbyists of recent years disputes that claim. Jack Abramoff, once an influential force on Capitol Hill before he was charged and convicted of bribery – and now one of the most despised names associated with special interests – believes that the power and influence would diminish as the long-term relationships between those elected and the special interests would no longer be as beneficial to either party, and in fact, those relationships would be severed.
Additionally, consider that large campaign fundraisers would no longer hold the same value for a term-limited member, and the member would spend far more time in their respective districts rather than attending the never-ending Washington funding events. Have many times have you heard someone complain that once elected, our elected representative disappears until the next election cycle?
Term limits will provide a regular cycle of competitive elections, offering more choices for voters, and will also impact the quality of candidates for office. Voters would be offered more than 30-second commercial soundbites as candidates would necessarily engage in meaningful debates. An incumbent with an enormous financial war chest essentially discourages a serious challenger, knowing that the odds of winning are so stacked against them so they simply won’t run for office, and leaving our choices far too often as “the lesser of two evils.”
As American consumers, we anxiously await the “latest and greatest” when it comes to product innovation, and most of us can’t wait to swap out our cell phones for the newest model. Why are we then willing to re-elect those who serve us in Washington for decades on end without term limits? How can possibly expect any sort of positive change for our nation with a permanent incumbency class?
There are many important issues arising with 2017 Alabama Legislative session, but this is one that is winnable for the grassroots. Won’t you join me in this call to action?
*McLaughlin & Associates, Alexandria, VA. www.mclaughlinonline.com
Marcia Chambliss serves on the leadership team of Smart Girl Politics, www.smartgirlpolitics.com, an online community for conservative women. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics.