Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Merry Election Day! Despite this weekend’s proposal, in the New York Times, to “Cancel the Midterms.” The authors, David Schanzer and Jay Sullivan, begin by lamenting the predictable pattern of midterm elections, especially in second-term presidencies. And then they say the very existence of midterms — the mere possibility of the House and a third of the Senate reshuffling every two years — “is harmful to American politics.”

The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president, the only government official (other than the powerless vice president) elected by the entire nation. . . . The realities of the modern election cycle are that we spend almost two years selecting a president with a well-developed agenda, but then, less than two years after the inauguration, the midterm election cripples that same president’s ability to advance that agenda.

The nut of the argument comes down to the notion that it would be best to rig the game to avoid conflict and dispute for as long as possible so that an “agenda” — whatever that may be — can be firmly put in place.

It’s the very opposite idea of the Founding Fathers’, who were trying to set up a system of checks and balances to preclude big, barely popular change. And who feared a powerful executive.

The Midterm Cancellation proposal gets absurd towards the end, where the authors tack on legislative term limits — an awfully generous 24 years — to counteract the extended terms their proposal requires.

Counteroffer: let’s start with term limits. Real ones.

Break up the incumbency power in our sclerotic Congress; don’t rob the people of biannual input.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. IHeartDagney says:

    Unfortunately, a fallacy pervades our culture that “political experience” is necessary to govern. This “political experience”, of course, is only found on the left. Most people on the right are rubes, hicks, too religious, and just plain too stupid for our complicated government duties. The founding fathers knew that it was more necessary for character, good character, and a freedom sensibility be inherent in people you elect for government office. This you will find more often if people are limited in the amount of time that they can serve in any of these offices. Plenty people on the left say that 2 year elections are natural term limits. UNLESS, of course, if they are about to lose big. Then we must eliminate 2 year Congressional terms! However, with incumbents being re-elected, what is it? 80 to 90% of the time? There’s actually nothing limiting their terms unless they actually do have character and self-impose a term limit. Two things will change this country for the better for generations to come… term limits and the Fair Tax (which eliminates the criminal IRS). Talk about an American Renaissance!

  2. JFB says:

    I could easily support canceling the mid-terms, if we would first cancel the government altogether.
    As for the NY Times, I did not see this suggestion when the Republicans were in power. Can they spell duplicitous?

  3. Drik says:

    “Harmful to American politics”. As though “American” politics were somehow different or any less corrupting than any other politics. (“Politics” being what happens naturally whenever you get more than 2 people together and it is inherently, inexorably damaging to freedom.

    Part of the corruption comes from the absence of consequences and part from the natural human proclivity of viewing the world as “us” (being the close, familiar, like-minded), versus “them”( being anyone less close).

    The only exceptionalism about American politics is that it gives those not directly participating an opportunity to periodically get rid of those that are participating, without having to shoot them.
    If the midterms are “damaging”, then all I can say is: “Thank God!”

  4. Steve Trinward says:

    Correct as usual, Paul. Until and unless the “American” concept of citizen states(wo)men serving a term or two and then returning to their real lives comes back into fashion, we will continue to get what we’ve got: the crony-corporate, inept empire of USA Inc. Vote non-incumbent always, and independent or libertarian whenever possible.

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