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.
I bet she wasn’t the ‘first’........................
I agree the Electoral College is probably necessary.
On the term limits, I have been harping for years the biggest problem WE have is, as a whole, WE MOSTLY agree that ALL pols are crooked and should be replaced.
EXCEPT ‘MINE’, he is a good guy, it is the rest of them.
With that prevailing mindset, ‘we’ keep sending the same trash back year after a year with people making careers out of a job that was set up to be mostly voluntary with some expenses paid.
California has 57 counties and 37 million people. Oklahoma has 77 counties and 3.7 million people. So a state with 1/10 the people should carry more weight in the electoral vote?
I know what you’re saying and I really like my congressman despite the fact that he’s arguably a “career politician” with some 14 years in the statehouse before going to Washington.
I think one difference is the fact that he still sees it as serving his constituents and he isn’t getting rich from a bunch of side interests. He’s one of those rare 6 figure congressmen. Its more than I have but its what the job pays. I agree with about 95% of his votes and that’s pretty good.
They threw a fit about him sleeping in his DC office two years ago and I read a similar story a few weeks ago about him still doing it today to save money.
I could go along with that, definitely. Anything to reduce the power that has been built up around incumbency.
Of course none of this addressese - let alone solves - the real problem, which is limiting their power. And that’s not likely to happen once a nation becomes as divided as ours is. Each side will authorize increases in power as long as it believes that power will be used to do what it wants. This ratcheting will continue until the citizenry is no longer a threat and therefore their authority no longer needed.
“Term limits solves this problem.”
Are you sure?
Instead of “two choices - your guy (whos bad) and the other guy (whos worse)” you could get “two choices - two guys who are worse than your guy, (whos bad) but is term limited.
Yeah, I should’ve put it like this instead:
“Your guy, who is the incumbent and who is bad, versus the other guy, who is worse.”
Too many times, the only way to get one of our bad incumbents off the ticket is to elect the other guy and then wait two (or four or six) years. And that’s a hard proposal to sell.
Electoral college by state does not solve the problem of populous states versus the desert states, despite what some believe. Electoral college by county or congressional district would.
Term limits? Who are your congresscritters now? They are bosses of 200+(?) employee state subsidized companies, whose job (the bosses’) is to collect money for re-election, to lunch with the lobbyists, and to be the faces of these companies, which are in fact run by the faceless professional unelected employees on Capital Hill and in district offices. Don’t kid yourself that your congresscritter actually reads your sincere letters and postcards of concern, they are read by the gofer Monica Lewinskys and Chandra Levys of the day, if they are read at all. .
The reelection rate is not a problem of the lack of term limits. The problem is the government and thus incumbents have WAY to much power and influence over our lives. The offices carry with it unlimited income potential and celebrity status.
Take away the power of government and the perks that go with elected office, the way the founders intended, and the incumbents will term limit themselves.
The answer is to limit GOVERNMENT not the terms of office.
So who will elect presidents by popular vote?
New York .......... 8,489,713
Los Angeles .......... 4,083,122
Chicago .......... 2,901,633
Houston .......... 2,400,133
Phoenix .......... 1,657,153
Philadelphia .......... 1,656,138
San Diego .......... 1,582,739
San Antonio .......... 1,391,022
Dallas .......... 1,383,776
San Jose .......... 1,098,132
Detroit .......... 901,160
Jacksonville .......... 822,401
San Francisco .......... 817,411
Indianapolis .......... 798,382
Austin .......... 757,688
Quick, learn Spanish faster!
More fitting to say "and/or."
Man, New Mexico and Iowa surprise the heck out of me in that graphic. Having lived in both places...but then, that was decades ago.
I wasn't that serious about it... but the counties could be allocated based on population.