On Term Limits

Opinion by

First, let me say, “You’re welcome.” Second, let me explain why. I’m quite sure I have figured out how to solve politics, or at least many of the problems that plague politics.

The answer is this: a term limit of one. I’m almost positive that a single term limit for every elected position could deal with a number of problems. Here’s why.

Many political issues can be traced to politicians’ concerns of being re-elected for a following term. An MP might not vote a certain way if she fears that it might alienate a certain demographic that would be key to winning her next election. Obviously, this fear would be eliminated if there were no possibility of running for another term in office.         

You might think there are actually more negatives than positives that could come from single-term limits. For instance, how would politicians be held accountable for their actions? As it stands now, we can tell our politicians whether or not we approve of their actions by voting for them again and again. Isn’t this a useful tool? Well, kind of. But here’s the remedy for this possible issue: a heightened implementation of impeachment. We should be impeaching more people if they’re doing a bad job. It would be so badass!

But what if someone’s doing a good job and we want him to keep governing? Well, this probably won’t happen because most politicians are idiots, but for the sake of argument assume it could happen. One option is to create a system wherein the most attractive replacement candidate will be forced to follow through on his predecessor’s actions. If the former was doing such a great job, voters will probably want to see the next ruler doing the same things. The other option would be to suspend all rules and create emperor-type rulers, like in Rome, and then just impeach them when they start screwing up (which they will, believe me). Problem solved.

Another issue is the question of who would actually want to run for office if they were only holding power for a short while. You could argue that some of those who run for office now only do so knowing they could spend a fair amount of time in that position and effect real change during that time. Well, you may have just provided my own argument for me. The people who run for office because they want power are not the kind of people I want running for office, anyway. Those are the kinds of people who make bad rulers. I may simply be being too idealistic and reading too much Plato, but I have faith that people exist who could be good rulers for the sake of the goodness of ruling and nothing else (notice, also, how I have started using the term “ruler” instead of “politician”). I think it’s quite possible that those who could make the best rulers simply don’t bother with politics because they know it’s a waste of time in its current state. But that will all change with the one-term limit.