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Presidential Term Limits: A Matter of Political Stability

Updated on February 10, 2014

Like many Americans, we all have an opinion about how this Country is being run. Whether it's the affordable care act, illegal immigration, or just politics in general, most people I've talked to aren't happy with the current state of our union or our congressional leadership. In fact, a recent survey I read about suggests that Americans believe that only 31% of the congressman in office today actually deserve to be re-elected for another term. This sad statistic isn't really all that surprising.

President Obama's approval rating isn't all that great either. In Barack Obama's first term his approval rating was an average of 48%. Right now his approval rating rests around 40%. It's likely that by the end of his second term his average approval rating will be around 45%. This would put Obama near the bottom for the lowest average approval rating of all time.

This is very issue is sometimes called the "Second Term Curse." Historically, two term presidents generally have lower approval ratings in the second term. On average, a presidents approval rating will drop as much as 20% by the time their second term is over. While there are exceptions, obviously this has happened often enough for the media to coin a term for it.


A Case for a Single Term

Clearly I have several issues with the current term limits that our leaders have. Currently, the President of the United States serves a 4 year term with the possibility of being able to serve just one additional time. This gives our country's leader a maximum of 8 years to reign supreme. Supposedly, the two term limit was created to prevent problems of abuse of power and ensure that no single person stands behind the wheel of our country for too long. I can certainly see the benefit of a two term limit, but it does have its flaws.

In my opinion, two terms for a president is one term too many! I don't really care how good the guy or gal is as a leader, the re-election of a president should not even be an issue. Why? Well, think about the fact that just about every president history has taken time away from dealing with our country's issues to instead campaign for re-election. Instead of focusing on doing the job they were originally elected to do, they're busy trying to get another chance.

In addition to the wasteful act of campaigning, it's no coincidence that right before an election many presidents tend to do some odd things while in office. Statistically, president vying for re-election tend to give more speeches, make more promises, declare more disasters, and spend more time in front of the camera trying to woo the people. The two term system should be eliminated. No president should ever serve more than one term because they are pretty much guaranteed to waste their time in office on campaigning for re-election. I'm not going to stop their though, there is more to this presidential story.


One Term and Only Four Years?

So after we reduce a term limit to just one chance to get it right, we should also look at the length of time that is spent leading the country. The presidential term should be increased from 4 years to at least 6 years long. Why? Well, 4 years really isn’t a whole lot of time to do anything significant these days. We all know how slow congress is to accomplish anything. It usually takes more than 4 years to implement significant plans or any kind of real reform and another 2 just to assess how the plan is working. Any big national project will usually take no shorter than 5 years to complete as well. This is why the minimum time should be increased to at least 6 years.

Now what happens if we get a president that is doing a horrible job? We wouldn’t want them to stay in office for a whole 6 years would we? Heck no! Currently, the impeachment process is a very lengthy and difficult one and is only used when it is the only option left on the table. Well, to put it quite frankly, this has got to change. The process to impeach a president needs to be reformed so that it would be much easier to get it done when it is needed. The process also needs to be modernized so that the people of this country actually have more of a say in how things should go. A president that sucks at his job needs to be looking for a new one.

Press for Change

I believe that if we made these three changes to how the President of the United States serves the people, it would improve things in this country. In fact, if we address the issue of term limits for all of our elected officials, I'm sure things would start to get better. After all, if a president knew that there was no option for re-election, he wouldn’t waste time campaigning for one. It would also take away the option for people to say “He just did that to get re-elected!” And finally, if a president new he could be fired anytime for doing a poor job, he would think twice about every decision he makes. The president would also be much less likely to make false promises to the people he serves.


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    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 3 years ago from Florida

      CWanamaker...Words to stop and take notice in this very well written hub..I agree wholeheartedly, one term for President, why do we not hold this person responsible for the " wish list " of which they set up if appears a " half **ssed approach" is no longer an option. It is important to make the necessary changes as changes are a part of growth.

      Thanks for your share....

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 3 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Interesting proposal. I understand where you're coming from with it and actually agree, although I might extend the 6 years to a single 8 year term. However, I'd also apply term limits to Congress. That's where the real bugaboo is. Presidents don't seem to get much done, because the role of President has changed from decision-maker to PR rep.

      Congress, meanwhile, has way too much power to screw the president over, and the really old members of Congress are often the worst. As our country changes, we need to have Congressional reps who grew up with the changes, so they can make decisions relevant to our evolved culture.