The thought occurred to me the other day that maybe the problem of the never-ending campaign, in which it seems America has no sooner finished one election season than another begins, would be to change the length of terms to which politicians are elected.
Currently, the President is elected to a four-year term with a maximum of two terms. Senators are elected for six-year terms, with approximately a third of the Senators up for election every two years. Representatives are elected for two-year terms with the entire House of Representatives up for election at the same time.
What, then, if we changed the President to a single, six-year term with no chance for re-election? Senators could remain a six-year term, but modify it so half the body changes every three years. Representatives could be increased to three-year terms.
It would seem that the upshot would be a bit more time between election seasons, allowing for more opportunity to govern. Especially for the President, since he or she could not be re-elected, there would be more freedom to govern based on one’s positions rather than the poll results.
What do you think? Would there be any pros or cons to this plan?
Wasn’t it Roosevelt that was in power for over 8 years ? People kept voting for him. So politicians out of fear that a dictatorship or somesort of Caudillo would place itself, changed the rules of the game to what we have now. Your suggestion is a good one. Under those terms a President would have time to allow his policies to take effect. And maybe thats why, they made it a 4 year term. What if the President sucked big time. Better to kick the bastard out sooner than later.
It does seem that the President spends his first term preparing to run for a second term. Maybe a single term in office for 6 years would prevent that. Anything with reelection means wasting time running for the next term and in congress there are unlimited terms.
Four year term is probably the optimum term period for a presidents, while I cannot imagine how unbearable it’ll get with an unpopular president for six years, especially during a recession like the recent years. On the contrary, if the first term turned out satisfactory, there’ll still be a final four year term to continue the legacy.
I think there would definitely be advantages with these longer terms, that you describe. The downside of course would be in case one would have to suffer for six years under (for example) a wacko tea party republican president, with a mandate to ignore public opinion…
In Hong Kong the Chief Executive has a five-year term. I think five-year term for the U.S. President is appropriate.
There are good and bad points to that, as told by the above readers. I just hope that the government stops this big nonsense playing on now, where the country is taken as a hostage, waiting to see whether there will be a market collapse.
Hmmm. See my January 21, 2005 post.
First of all, have to give credit to John, who wrote about this in January 2005. His thoughts on what he calls the Curmudgeon Party are worth a read.@Inciteful – Thanks for suggesting that entry, John. I left some comments there.@ClimbUpTreesToLookForFish – With or without multiple terms?@CurryPuffy – @Zissu25 – @Fatcat723 – I can understand the concern that with a six-year term you might get someone you aren’t happy with. At the same time, I feel that a four-year term really doesn’t give a President the time to put his stamp on America so when it comes time to vote for re-election, we perhaps can’t really evaluate the extent to which the President is or is not effective.@The_Eyes_Of_A_Painter – Yes, it was Franklin Roosevelt whose multiple re-elections spurred lawmakers to propose a change to the Constitution. Those were extraordinary times.@ZSA_MD – Watching it from 9000 miles away is like watching a volcano start to erupt.
Dear Chris,Interesting thoughts here. I recently read an article about local politicians in California, where I live. Supposedly, our politicians are supposed to be “citizen politicians” who only serve for a term or two, and then go back to public life, however history shows that most politicians get sucked into all the perks of political life, and are forever campaigning and switching jobs (due to term limits), leading long political lives.Sometimes I think the whole theory of American politics should be rethought. What’s happening this year on the beltway is disgusting. I predicted Obama would prove to be in over his head, but I didn’t realize that with the Republican party nearly splitting down the middle (cons vs. tea partiers) that business in Washington would nearly grind to a halt. World economics bothers me too. The EU seems to be going down the drain. All currencies seem to depend upon futures speculation, sort of like playing poker with world’s money as far as I can ascertain, and this is what causes such wide swings and ‘corrections’ (or stock market crashes). It would seem that somebody “in charge” should be able to manage a more stable economy. However, I’m one to talk. I borrowed heavily at high interest rates and am paying for it now.Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool
@baldmike2004 – Michael, there is no doubt that the system doesn’t seem to be working very well. Or, perhaps more accurately, it doesn’t seem to be working well for anyone but the already rich and powerful. I’m registered in Kansas and we have a new Senator and a new Representative, both of whom owe a debt to the Tea Partiers. I write them regular emails commenting on their positions and policies and making sure they know that at least one of their constituents believes that governance is the art of compromise.