“CHANGE HAS TO COME FROM OUTSIDE THIS BROKEN SYSTEM”
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump wants U.S. House members to serve no more than six years in office (i.e. three terms) and U.S. Senators to serve no more than twelve years in office (i.e. two terms). In fact he says he will propose a constitutional amendment to impose such limits on all members of Congress on his first day in office.
“Change has to come from outside this broken system,” Trump said in rolling out his latest batch of reform proposals over the weekend. “The fact that the Washington establishment has tried so hard to stop our campaign is only more proof that our campaign represents the kind of change that only arrives once in a lifetime.”
Trump’s position was embraced by U.S. Term Limits, which said his support could be “a game-changer for our issue.”
“The American people – Republicans and Democrats alike – are fed up with the broken system in Washington,” the group said in a statement (.pdf). “Career politicians and special interests have teamed up to cheat the public out of the democracy they deserve. Congress has become the place where new and dynamic ideas go to die. We will work together with anyone who shares the vision of bringing term limits to Congress.”
In fairness, Trump hasn’t always felt this way on the issue.
“Well, I’m not a believer in term limits,” he said back in 2008. “If you don’t like someone, you push a button.”
“I don’t know why it’s popular,” Trump added. “I think it’s people who really press it who want to run for office and the only way they’ll get elected is, I guess, to term limit people out because they can’t win an election.”
This website has seen its position on term limits evolve over the years as well.
While we believe they are vitally necessary for leadership positions in legislative bodies, we no longer believe they ought to be applied to legislative offices themselves.
Still, support for term limits remains wildly popular among broad swaths of the electorate. According to 2013 data from Gallup, 75 percent of American adults said they would vote for term limits compared to just 21 percent who would vote against them. Majorities of Republicans (82 percent), independents (79 percent) and Democrats (65 percent) say they would vote in favor of term limits if given the opportunity.
Our guess is rising public anger with increasingly out-of-touch Washington, D.C. politicians has only fueled stronger support for term limits.
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