On Tuesday, January 3rd, Ted Cruz kept his word, and formally introduced a constitutional amendment in Congress that would impose term limits of three two-year terms for House representatives, and two six-year terms for Senators. Several outlets covered it, mostly conservative ones, since the amendment was co-sponsored by another Republican, Ron DeSantis of Florida. But since the announcement, its been crickets from the media on the issue.
It’s quite amazing, that an issue with as much popular support as Term Limits has received such little media coverage. How is it that an issue like this isn’t being covered more frequently by major media?
For starters, I’m certain there are very few career politicians that are going to call attention to a constitutional amendment that will ultimately put them out of a job. It should be obvious, but it will be difficult to drain the swamp if you need the swamp’s approval to pull the stopper out.
Also, the person introducing the amendment is hated by all of Congress. It should come as no surprise that everyone hates Ted Cruz, on both sides of the aisle, as well as in the media. If you need evidence, its here, here, here, here, and basically everywhere else. There is serious disdain for Cruz all over the place, whether it is deserved or not.
As much as I support term limits and Cruz’s push, I think it’s not going to happen. President-elect Trump appears preparing to first deal with Obamacare repeal and wasteful defense spending. Term limits just doesn’t appear to be a priority at the moment. Even if he eventually turns his attention to term limits, passing and ratifying a constitutional amendment is incredibly difficult. Because of that, Trump’s support might ultimately doom the issue.
Large majorities are needed for a constitutional amendment to be ratified, and as such, anything but bipartisan support will probably kill term limits. Just because Trump supports it, Democrats and the MSM will oppose it; kiss your bipartisan support goodbye. Nowhere is MSM bias regarding this issue more evident than the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos’s blog, which was publishing articles opposing Trump’s call for congressional term limits while he was still running for office. I’m certain if Hillary proposed term limits, WaPo would support them vociferously. WaPo ridiculously tries to justify opposition to term limits by discussing the “expertise” career politicians have:
“If members are restricted to only serving a few terms,” Molly Reynolds, a congressional expert with the Brookings Institution told The Fix in an email, “the logic goes, they have neither the time nor the incentive to develop the relevant expertise they need to be good at their jobs. If members don’t have that expertise themselves, they’re more likely to rely on outsiders, including lobbyists, to replace that expertise.”
Congressional approval ratings haven’t cracked 20% since 2012, with disapproval ratings averaging above 80%. If they were so good at doing their jobs, why does everyone else seem to think the opposite? If you consider the job of our elected officials to be enriching themselves by trading on inside information… well, I guess they are good at that, aren’t they?
There is also credence to the argument that the MSM and other news outlets are concerned with covering term limits because their “sources” in Congress will react poorly and rescind coverage, much like Trump recently did very publicly with CNN at his press conference.
However, if Trump ultimately does push Cruz’s term limits amendment, those same news outlets might be forced to cover it, if they want any recognition from his administration. After all, Trump did deservedly lambaste BuzzFeed in his conference for publishing a false intelligence report about him. If BuzzFeed reporters like Jordan Zakarin are looking for commentary from Cruz on his amendment’s progress, his team is unlikely to provide anything, given Zakarin’s history of jumping on the anti-Cruz bandwagon.
The fight for term limits is still underway. We can only hope that Congress and the media won’t kill it before it really gets going.