Poll after poll cite the publics low approval of Congress. And why would they feel any different. Numerous examples exist of our legislative officials NOT serving the American people. Look at the Health Care debacle. These spineless Dem’s (I lean left.. but these jokers in congress are flacid at best) could not even get a bill passed both houses with huge majorities. Congress has not passed any major legislation since the Civil rights act. Clearly it’s broken.
Call it influence of Lobbyist money, call it tacking to the center, call it corruption.. whatever. Essentially they play an endless game of campaigning in hopes of getting re-elected to continue the farce of they call governing.
Senators serve for 6 years (unlimited), House Members for 2 (unlimited). Term Limits could help, especially in the Senate.. cap to 2 6 year terms. But Look at the House. The framers of our government wanted the House to be more receptive to the will of the people. Essentially they have to earn their job every 2 years or get kicked. IMHO this is why the House is usually more progressive, they HAVE to get stuff done.
Aside: Progressive is not a dirty word. Read 1 and 3. Don’t you want your government to change and adapt and look for new ideas to do something better?
Idea: Every Senate Seat faces an up or down vote in year 4 of the 6 year term. This is not an election vs. a competitor. This is a simple up or down vote by the states constituents on whether that Senator can EVEN run for re-election. They Lose, It’s an open seat in Year 6. They win an up or down vote.. Politics as normal.
For The House Do the same thing.. but do it in year 5 of consecutive terms. So if a Representative is elected and then re-elected 2x more.. in the middle of their 3rd term they face the up or down vote on whether they can run a 4th campaign.
Short of hard term limits, these Up or Down votes should continue infinitum. I don’t think “Career” and politicians should exist in the same sentence. It’s a public service. And when you stop serving the public, the public should get a say whether you keep your job.
Why do I think this is a good idea? Why not just vote for the other guy? Here is my reasoning. Running a campaign against someone is very different from running a campaign on why you should keep your job. What if every currently elected politician during a campaign could only talk about themselves and their accomplishments while in office. Imagine if they were forbidden to mention the other candidates name. The public and they themselves would be forced to judge the man in the mirror. On his/her actions, on his ability to govern. All of a sudden this thing called accountability comes into the picture.
Every corporation/business has some sort of employee review procedure. You want a raise or want to keep your job… This decision is based on your merits. Don’t perform? You are out. Whether you keep your job as nothing to do with how Bob from the next cubicle performs, or whether the applicant for your job is a liberal or conservative. You are accountable whether or not you keep your job.
When you can run a campaign based on pointing out the faults of your opponent, it becomes a game of “looking better then the other guy” when it should be a “look what I did in Washington”. An Up or Down vote forces this conversation to be had. Forces the politician to be judged on their merits of governing, not the skill of their campaign to find dirt on the other guy.