Is the fire gone?
Let me quote the first sentence of an article from South Dakota, the Argus Leader: â€œAn effort to end term limits on state lawmakers in South Dakota fits with a trend nationwide that suggests the fire might have left the movement.â€
Okay, so . . . there was passion, once, for term limits. The fire raged. Now the fire has perhaps sputtered out. Slipped out the back, Jack . . . maybe. Taken the 3:10 to Yuma . . . possibly.
Itâ€™s okay for a journalist to be uncertain of a conclusion â€” even a lead-sentence conclusion â€” if he can report at least some evidence for it. So what evidence was offered in the article?
The first bit, obviously, is this â€œeffort to end term limitsâ€ in South Dakota. So, whatâ€™s the deal? Spontaneous uprising by the people? Naw, just the same old rearguard action by incumbent politicians and special-interest allies. Thereâ€™s still widespread popular support in South Dakota for term limits. Nothing new on either count.
The reporter also says fewer states are enacting legislative term limits these days. True. But thatâ€™s got more to do with institutional blockages than any slump in popular support. In 26 states, voters have no power to pass statewide initiatives. And where they have it, politicians are trying to hobble that process.
Meanwhile, voters continue to support term limits whenever they can, and to rebuff efforts to scuttle them.
So the fire isnâ€™t gone.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.