The Founding Fathers tried to avoid the pitfalls of the British system of government that made the declaration essential as they drafted the Constitution – creating an interlocking system of checks and balances, offsetting powers and a process to prevent any single branch of government from gaining too much power.

Congress enacts laws that the president may veto and the Supreme Court hold unconstitutional.

The president may nominate justices; the Senate needs to confirm.

The House of Representatives may vote articles of impeachment of the president, which the Senate then tries with the Chief Justice presiding at trial.

It worked on paper, but the Founding Fathers couldn’t have foreseen a critical development in the new political world – the professional politician.

The United States is not a democracy, but a republic, reliant upon citizens giving up their time, leaving their work and their family to represent the interests of their neighbors and their community.

And then returning home at the end of their service.

The Constitution sets forth the number of years in the term of office for senators (six), representatives (two) and the president (four), but did not impose a limit on the number of terms those public servants could remain in office.

It’s doubtful the Constitution’s drafters even considered the possibility that any elected official sent to the nation’s capital would want to stay longer than a single term.

Had it occurred to them that career politicians would spend a lifetime on the government payroll, they might have added term limits to the Constitution.

They didn’t.

As a result, senators and representatives have grown powerful and wealthy as they settled in for long careers in Washington and while grassroots movements have pushed for term limits, it is widely acknowledged that Congress lacks any motivation to curtail its own powers by, essentially, voting itself out of office.

Now, however, the term limits have found a champion who might have the influence to make them a reality.

"If I’m elected president I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

Decades of failure in Washington and decades of special-interest dealing must and will come to an end,” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promised supporters at a rally in Colorado Springs.

It is doubtful, however, that members of Congress share the wildly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal evidenced by the crowd’s cheering.

 

 

 

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