Term limits undermine the rights of voters to choose

Term limits undermine the rights of voters to choose

Term limits undermine the rights of voters to choose

The push to impose term limits isn’t being done by the voters or the public. It’s being led by political candidates who just can’t seem to take control of government because they lack the support of the majority of voters. Term limits are wrong because it takes away the right of voters to make that decision

By Ray Hanania

Whenever someone outside of public office wants to give themselves some free publicity, they always turn to the issue of “term limits.”

“Term limits” are a concept that would limit an elected official to serve usually only two terms in their office. After that, they would be pushed out of would have to run for another office.

But Illinois voters already have a “term limit” option, one that they control, not the candidates who can’t seem to win office against popular incumbents or has-beens who have been pushed out because of poor performance.

Voting sticker from Chicagoland election. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania. Vote. Election

Voting sticker from Chicagoland election. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

It’s called “The Voters.”

The Voters ARE the Term Limits. They decide who gets elected and who doesn’t. It’s not the fault of a successful candidate for office that his or her opponent has lost. It is the fault of the losing candidate that they failed to convince enough voters to elect them to office.

But losers want a fast-track to get into office and they think that if they can’t beat a popular incumbent, one loved enough by the voters to win more than 50 percent of their votes, then they hope they can use “Term Limits” as a cheap way to push them out, so they can get back in.

Governor Bruce Rauner, who has found himself in a difficult political fight with Illinois’ Democrats, has turned to “Term Limits” as a means of eliminating his arch enemies from office. His main target is House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

Madigan has been in office for a long time, but is politics and a successful elected official any different than a successful businessman or woman who has created a product that the public loves? I don’t think so. I think a politician who continues to get elected and re-elected over the years has done their job, winning the support of the majority of voters who go to the polls and cast their votes.

Why would we give that power to some loser who can’t win office as a cheap way for them to get in?

The idea of “Term Limits” sounds great to some, usually the voters who cast their votes for the candidates who lose. But losing means that candidates who lose need to work harder to win more votes. And not every losing candidate wants to do that.

We certainly have financial problems in Illinois, problems that go back decades and despite the political rhetoric fall on the shoulders not only of the Democrats who currently are in power, but on the shoulders of the Republicans, too.

But “Term Limits” wouldn’t eliminate our problems. They would make them worse. Instead of having experienced leaders who win the majority support from voters to stay in office, we would have losers whose only strategy to getting elected is to remove their more popular and successful rivals.

I don’t want to be led by losers who can’t seem to win office.

I may not always agree with or support the people who win elected office in this country. But there is something to be said about empowering each and every individual who is qualified to vote, to actually go out and vote.

Losing isn’t about the candidate personally. It is about what the candidate does or does not do. A winning candidate has to convince the majority of voters – and they are all good Americans – to support their candidacy.

That’s more than enough. If someone loses, it’s because they just couldn’t get the votes.

Let’s not undermine the ability of voters to decide who should and who should not represent them in local, county or statewide offices.

I may not like a candidate. But I won’t surrender my right to help decide an election by creating a fast track for failed candidates to give themselves an advantage they can’t create for themselves through hard work, creative ideas and leadership.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Contact him at his personal website at www.Hanania.com or by emailing him at rghanania@gmail.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.