RAMIREZ: Term Limits Are Not The Silver Bullet They Appear

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Luis Ramirez Contributor
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One of the concessions made by now House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to his Republican dissenters, was to put term limits up for a vote. Before the 22nd Amendment’s ratification in 1951, there were no term limits in the Constitution for the president or any representative. In The Federalist Papers No. 53, James Madison made the case for why they shouldn’t exist. Today, they are touted as a solution to Washington’s problems.

A common argument for term limits is the existence of the Swamp. While I support draining the Swamp, term limits are not the solution. After all, senior politicians aren’t forcefully inserting themselves into powerful positions. Rather, people are electing them. If anyone must bear some responsibility for the Swamp’s existence, it’s voters and those who don’t show up or get informed, or keep voting for the same over and over.

I do think advocates of term limits are well-intentioned. They want to clean up Washington by getting rid of all its impurities. No more sending money to Ukraine. No more omnibus bills. No more reckless spending. But the answer here is not government-decreed limits, but replacing problem politicians with grassroots candidates.

The longest-serving members of the D.C. Swamp have large war chests from megadonors. If you really want change, you have to take action yourself.  Support and donate to the alternative candidate you want. Get out in the field and be a force in your local, district, and state grassroots movements. Volunteer to help those candidates and their campaigns.

Start early, instead of waiting for campaign season to come around. Expose people to your opposition’s wrongdoings and how they’re negatively affecting your fellow citizens. Trump’s 2016 campaign is a great example of how to lead this kind of charge. Yes, he had plenty of money. But ultimately he won because of the movement he started and people taking action. Every powerful entity was against him — the media, the establishment, pop culture. And yet, he still won (and lost money in the process).

Why? Because he led a genuine, grassroots movement. So did many of McCarthy’s opponents, who relied on small-time donations. If you’re a politician who wants to drain the swamp, work to raise money and campaign for opposition candidates from the people they will represent. Whether you like him or not, Trump is already doing this by calling for McConnell to face a primary challenger.

Competition brings out the best in people, particularly for determined underdogs. Hungry underdogs are pushed to try and be better than the incumbent. And that’s exactly what we saw this past election cycle: Many incumbent Republicans lost their seats while populists surged to the fore fighting tooth and nail for their positions — even without Trump’s wealth.

Now we have leaders like Kari Lake, Blake Masters, J.D. Vance, Lauren Boebert, Chip Roy and Joe Kent — people who through all adversity and attacks have opposed the Swamp. Ron DeSantis built his whole campaign on opposing the Washington Swamp’s overreach and he won by 20 points. Draining the swamp and being an alternative candidate is a large part of their brand. And even though they didn’t all win, you’d be a fool not to recognize there’s a powerful movement behind them. We need such leaders long-term. Term limits didn’t get these people in — an informed, active electorate did.

Americans need to take matters into their own hands. Instead of relying on government intervention to try and solve every problem, act. Term limits may retire the longest-serving members of the Swamp, but there is nothing to stop K Street from influencing the next batch. They will also no doubt create a sense of complacency among voters. Instead, get out there, vote the incumbents out, and convince your fellow citizens to do the same and get good, principled people in there. The midterms proved it’s definitely possible if we try.

Luis is a freelance journalist and former English teacher who currently resides in Texas. He can be reached in Twitter at @Louie_Ramirez97

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.