"Citizen Congress"

In response to my last article regarding a near-continuous attempt by Rep. Serrano to repeal the 22nd Amendment, I received a rather interesting comment that I ultimately decided to not approve because it was not relevant to the topic at hand:

Here’s a practical Tea Party type strategy to create a “Citizen Congress”

A Congress of career politicians will never represent “We the People”, because their highest priority is getting reelected with the help of Big Money.

But “We the People” have more votes than “Big Money” has, and thus can end Congress as a career for professional politicians by never reelecting incumbents.

We can impose single terms every two years, by never reelecting Congress.

Always vote, but only for challengers. Never reelect incumbents.

Keep this up until Congress is mostly “one-termers”, a citizen Congress.

Then keep it up every election, to make a citizen Congress a permanent reality.

Every American’s only intelligent choice is to never reelect anyone in Congress!

The only infallible, unstoppable, guaranteed way to get a truly new Congress, and a cleaned up new politics is


Now while this idea sounds intriguing, it is rather unfeasible and could actually do more harm to this country than good, and in my opinion, suggesting it shows a lack of understanding of how the government not only actually works but is supposed to work.

I know some will disagree with me on this, but some incumbencies are necessary for sustaining this country. We, however, as responsible citizens, need to be considerate of who will be or continue to remain an incumbent and who will not.

If incumbencies were not intended by our Founders, they would not have written into the framework of our government open-ended terms. The reason is because known lame-duck terms in office can, as the argument goes for lame-duck presidents, render a politician politically weak than he or she otherwise would be had the end of term been unpredictable, as it currently is with Senators and Representatives.

Constantly voting in the opposition has the potential to mitigate risks by incumbent politicians, but if it were to become the norm, it would end up being an implied term limit, rendering our elected officials politically weak. While to some this may sound like a good thing, it is, in actuality, not.

Our Federal government is supposed to be, by design of the Constitution, subordinate to the States and, ultimately, the People. Just as your employer approves of your work by allowing you to remain employed, and firing you if your performance isn’t up to par, so too we show approval or lack thereof for our elected officials by voting.

If we were to continue to vote out our elected officials at the end of their term, they will either take great political risks, thus posing a greater political danger to the United States than a long-serving incumbent, or they won’t accomplish anything at all. Both must be avoided, but it is a delicate balance that is maintained by choosing our incumbents wisely and properly vetting each candidate.

The only time where the States have spoken and said that an open-ended term is not good is with the office of the President of the United States. The Executive Branch carries with it much authority, and with the wrong person sitting there, the President has the opportunity to wield a lot of power in inappropriate directions. However this change in point of view came as a result of the Seventeenth Amendment, which took the choosing of Senators away from the States and placed it with the People.

If you were to read the Constitution, thoroughly, you would discover two things: open-ended terms for both Houses of Congress are intentional, and an open-ended terms for the Presidency is also intentional.

The reason for the open-ended terms is because, originally, only one section of our government was directly popularly elected: the House of Representatives. State legislatures chose the Senators, and that process should be restored. And by appointing Electors, the state legislatures also chose the President of the United States, and may appoint said Electors absent a popular vote.

The Founders never intended the President to be popularly elected, rendering arguments about disparities between the popular vote and the Electoral College moot when properly thought out.

The President of the United States answers to Congress, namely the Senate, and the States, not the People. The Senators answer to the States, not the People. Only the House of Representatives answers to the People, and it is time that balance be restored.

But not permitting any incumbencies is not the way to go. Instead we need to undo the damage that has been done by restoring through the Amendment process the way the Founders initially intended our government to work.