Term limits have been a popular convention over the centuries. This comes from the idea that doing so keeps seniority from being a serious factor in governance, and increases equality in legislative representation. Several studies/reports done by groups such as the Cato Institute have shown truth to this argument, but there is still the issue of whether such a move is truly without problems. Many states still retain the same party identity among their governmental bodies despite such rigid structures in term longevity. Also, an argument could be made that though some politicians might be cautious to involve or pass policies that could be destructive upon them leaving office and returning to private life (the idea of the “citizen politician”), that hardly holds true for rigid ideologues. With the end of their term upon them, they might hardly see any reason for such pause since most politicians in government are some of the most well-off in the nation, and also because they don’t have to worry about another election. Power has also grown in other fields, such as lobbyists and bureaucrats, who of course aren’t affected by such limits and understand the power structure better.

Term limits don’t guarantee individual liberty or good governance. Ultimately, voters are beholden to remain vigilant in whom they support for political office. Even though Benjamin Franklin was supportive of limitations in political longevity, he also realized that no system will survive if people become complacent. No backstop or wall will remove such a problem. However, if such limits must stay, I feel that such initiatives should also include the capacity for a candidate to be recalled during their last term if they are found by their constituents to be acting irresponsibly. No politician should ever be left too comfortable being outside the judgment of their voters.

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