We don’t see a lot of pro-term-limits writing in our major, “corporate” media outlets — but a New York magazine account of the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales is a welcome exception.
“The disgraceful and chaotic manner in which the once-beloved Morales is leaving office is an object lesson in why presidential term limits are important,” writes Jonah Schepp. “Running a country for more than a decade has a tendency to make people more susceptible to authoritarian impulses, whether or not they started their careers as dictators.”
The Atlantic also acknowledges term limits’ vital role. “Evo Morales Finally Went Too Far for Bolivia,” the “too far” being the “authoritarian powers” claimed “in the name of the popular will.” Yascha Mounk explains how Morales’ once-touted support for presidential term limits evaporated in 2016, when he placed before voters a binding referendum to allow him to stay in office indefinitely. Bolivians voted No, only to witness their supreme court set aside term limits using the bizarre rationale “that limits on the length of his tenure in office would violate Morales’s human rights.”
After irregularities in the October 20 presidential vote, Bolivians took to the streets. Morales resigned on Sunday.
“For a socialist president who was until recently hailed as the great success story of the Latin American left,” New York’s Schepp explains, “this unseemly end serves as a cautionary tale of what happens when world leaders remain in office for too long.”
On a 2015 trip, President Obama remonstrated African leaders for their attempts to overturn popular term limits. “I’ll be honest with you,” he said before the African Union, “I’m looking forward to life after being president.”
Mr. Morales, Bolivia’s now-former president, is not so fortunate. Yesterday, he fled the country.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.