Skip to comments.Americans want term limits and end to Electoral College after re-electing a bunch of incumbents
Posted on 01/18/2013 9:13:37 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Later today, when I'm hosting the Ed Morrissey Show, you'll probably notice a deep red welt on my forehead and wonder how it got there. It's from banging my head on my desk repeatedly after reading the results of two polls released today. The first comes from Gallup, where overwhelming majorities of Americans of every party affiliation demand Congressional term limits and an end to the Electoral College --- just two months after re-elected almost every incumbent than ran for federal office:
Even after the 2012 election in which Americans re-elected most of the sitting members of the U.S. House and Senate --- as is typical in national elections --- three-quarters of Americans say that, given the opportunity, they would vote "for" term limits for members of both houses of Congress.
Republicans and independents are slightly more likely than Democrats to favor term limits; nevertheless, the vast majority of all party groups agree on the issue. Further, Gallup finds no generational differences in support for the proposal.
In other words, the message here is: Stop me before I vote for another incumbent! I'm no fan of term limits in Congressional elections, after my experience in seeing the application in California do nothing but make the dysfunction there arguably worse, and certainly no better. (The limit on presidential terms is more necessary, thanks to the power that has accrued to the executive branch over the last several decades.) The best solution is to vote out the incumbents one dislikes, by finding better candidates to oppose them.
On the Electoral College, the numbers are lower but still majorities:
Americans are nearly as open to major electoral reform when it comes to doing away with the Electoral College. Sixty-three percent would abolish this unique, but sometimes controversial, mechanism for electing presidents that was devised by the framers of the Constitution. While constitutional and statutory revisions have been made to the Electoral College since the nation’s founding, numerous efforts to abolish it over the last 200+ years have met with little success.
There is even less partisan variation in support for this proposal than there is for term limits, with between 61% and 66% of all major party groups saying they would vote to do away with the Electoral College if they could. Similarly, between 60% and 69% of all major age groups take this position.
This has been a relatively stable level for at least since the 2000 election, but it’s based on almost nothing else. What exactly is the problem with forcing a state-by-state approach that has worked well, with two (possible) exceptions, every four years since 1792? It allows states to have some influence on federal government, especially lower-population states that would otherwise get overwhelmed by the large coastal states in national elections. If they were this dissatisfied with the results the last time, why did they bother to re-elect the man who won the presidential election in that cycle?
We can ask the same question after reading the new poll at The Hill, too. In the survey, 42% say they are worse off than when Obama took office, with only 26% believing that life has improved — and they’re not expecting things to get better in the next four years, either:
President Obama is entering his second term with many of the nations voters still pessimistic or unsure about their economic prospects, a new poll for The Hill has found.
The president was reelected for another four years by a relatively comfortable margin, but 39 percent of likely voters say his first four years were worse than expected, compared to just 18 percent who say he exceeded expectations. Forty-one percent of those polled said his first term went as expected.
The president assumed office in the midst of one of the worst financial meltdowns in U.S. history, and those polled are still feeling the ensuing recessions impact four years later. On the economic front, 42 percent say they are worse off now than when Obama first took office, compared to 26 percent who say they are better off.
Respondents are not significantly more optimistic about the next four years, either.
Sixty percent say they do not expect to make major economic strides during Obamas second term, compared to just 38 percent who expect to be better off in 2016.
So why did Obama get re-elected? More people blame Congress than Obama for their problems … even though Americans re-elected the exact same leadership on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
And now you’ll know why I’ll have a big, red welt in the middle of my forehead this afternoon.
Oh great. Getting rid of the Electoral College and letting Democracy (big city feral rats) rule is a disaster.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I do not want well bing and freedom tied to a bunch of other idiot people in idiot states any longer.
If California wants to elect Diane Frankenstein, then let her take their freedom, not mine.
My state sadly elected Bill Nelson...and un-elected Allen West.
There is rapidly becoming no place to escape the idiocy of Americans it would seem :(
Electoral College kept us from having a Kerry Edwards presidency.
exactly. this just shows that some folks are dumber than a sack of rocks
We do NOT want to get rid of the Electoral College. It was designed to ensure that our elected officials would not collude with one another to steal our freedoms.
However, I would like to see the Electoral College do its constitutionally mandated job. To wit - require that it only votes for candidates who meet constitutional requirements.
How about making sure that ONLY AMERICAN CITIZENS vote?
The disaster of the 17th anti constitutional amendment tells me all I need to know to oppose doing away with the electoral college. GOP heavy states like Michigan continue to get stuck with Levin and Stupidcow due to a couple of cities.
Yes to term limits. No to getting rid of the electoral college.
When you’re handed only two choices - your guy (who’s bad) and the other guy (who’s worse) - you’re going to vote for your guy. This is not difficult to understand, is it?
Term limits solves this problem.
I don’t like term limits much. But given the way political demogoguery has split the country into two warring factions to be played off one another to the benefit of those who control our choice of candidates, it’s the only tool I see remaining in our toolbox.
Keep the electoral College but allocate electoral votes by district not by state. I am sick of my districts electoral vote going to the Dems every year because of Chicago!!!!
Actually I suggest a middle ground on term limits.
How about consecutive term limits. 2 terms then out for 1 before regaining eligibility to run for another 2 terms? That way if people really like their congressman, they can bring him back after 2 years out of office. My current congressman was voted out in 08 after 1 term and the tea party reelected him in 2010.
I think it would require doing away with all the restrictions placed on “freshmen” legislators.
The federal government cannot guarantee to the States a Republican form of government without the electoral college being in place.
Every year we hear how polls show congress has a very low approval rating.
The latest is supposedly 9% - below cockroaches and hair lice.
Yet every election we see something approaching 90% of incumbents reelected.
... with Rielle Hunter as First Concubine.
Most of these fools don’t know what the **** they want. It depends on the day of the week and how close they are to getting their welfare check.
These are not mutually exclusive possibilities.
Use a variant of the Maine/Nebraska system.
Each House district will determine its electoral vote, independent of the rest of the state.
The Senatorial electoral votes would be distributed as follows:
If a candidate gets 40% of the statewide popular vote, that would guarantee the candidate one electoral vote, 60% would guarantee two. If neither candidate received 40%, then the top two candidates would each get one electoral vote.
A majority of the electoral votes should be required for election, not a plurality. If a majority is not achieved, then a run off election would be held for the three candidates with the highest national vote total.
Had this system been in place in 1860, Mr. Lincoln might not have won the run off and the War of 1861 might have been averted (or at least delayed).
I could support that, but I really think this all falls back to Franklin's admonition, "A republic, if you can keep it." My opposition to term limits is one of freedom. If I feel I am the best qualified person for office, I should have the freedom to run for it - regardless of how many terms I've served. Similarly, as a voter, I should be able to vote for the person I feel best represents my views, my district and my state. The failure of voters to remove career politicians is not a flaw in the Constitution or eligibility law, it's a flaw in the electorate. There are myriad examples of laws passed in an effort to "fix stupid," and they are generally effective only as incubators of unintended consequences. Here in Louisiana, term limits were passed, so when their terms were up, we had Senators running for the House, and vice versa.
If there was one change I could make to the election of legislators (apart from repealing the 17th as you mentioned above), it would be a mandatory waiting period for lawyers. Practicing lawyers are officers of the court and as such, members of the judicial branch. When they sit as legislators, there is, IMHO, a significant conflict of interest. Before a barred attorney runs for a legislative or executive position, they should surrender their law license and have a cooling off period (2 years? 3 years?) between the active practice of law and any demonstrable ties to any law practice/firm. This of course would not preclude a congress person or committee from maintaining counsel or attorneys on staff, but they merely could not hold the legislative seat.