Tag Archives: term limits

Needed To Save Democracy:  A Way to Throw the Bastards Out Without Putting the Other Bastards In

According to The Economist magazine.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/01/01/how-to-think-about-the-threat-to-american-democracy

Roughly 40% of the politically active say that members of the other tribe are evil; 60% believe they are a threat to the country. More than 80% think the system needs “major changes” or “complete reform”.

I have good news for politically active Democrats and Republicans.  I agree with them, and have for decades.

Not because I have been convinced of their opposite’s evil by politically active Democrats and Republicans.  I believe they are completely focused on their tribalist, culture war issues as extensions of their own egos.  And are completely beholden to the interest groups that back them – sometimes both of them – and have been therefore allowed to use the power of government to pillage the future of country, and the later-born people who will live in it, in exchange.  And not because I pay any attention to the media that makes money by pandering to their views, repeating their propaganda, and whispering sweet nothings to power.  I have never had cable TV, or been on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I fact, these days the only national and international news sources I trust are those from outside the United States.

Rather, I see them as evil and a threat to the country because I have observed what the two political parties, when given the chance, have actually done, and how that has actually affected regular people just living their lives.  And have become increasingly disappointed.

So does that mean I’m opposed to the two-party system?  What two party system?  If a large share of the electorate is so brainwashed that they are unwilling to vote for the other party no matter what their own party does to them locally, and the members of either one party or another are concentrated in large areas of the country, then there is, in reality, a one-party system.  And that party, and the special interests that back it, know that they can get away with anything, with zero accountability from either the voters or the media.  The Democrats (especially in New York) and Republicans (in other states and at the national level) have, therefore, become irreformable.  The only way out is from outside them entirely.

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Term Limits: Impact on the Characteristics of NYC Representatives

As noted in the prior post in this series, New York City is a double-blind test of the effect on term limits on democracy. Since 1993 the city has represented by term-limited members of the New York City Council, and by unlimited members of the New York State Legislature. The dominant political party, other election laws, and the voting population are the same in each case. One result, as identified in the prior post in this series, which should be read first, is more contested elections for City Council relative to the New York State legislature, which seldom has any.

https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/term-limits-new-york-citys-double-blind-test-of-democracy/

In this post I compare selected characteristics of the NYC officeholders in these governing bodies with each other and, in some cases, the population of the city at large. Their race and Hispanic origin. Their sex (male vs. female). Their place of birth. Their age/date of birth/generation. The year when they were first elected to their current position. And their prior job. I don’t usually pay too much attention to New York City’s elected legislative representatives, other than show up every year to vote against the incumbents in my district, so all this information was new to me. Some of it is what I would have expected, but some of it is not.

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Term Limits: New York City’s Double-Blind Test of Democracy

In 1989 a new New York City Charter, developed by the equivalent of a state constitutional convention in response to a court decision invalidating the old Board of Estimate, gave city voters the power of initiative and referendum. The power to directly enact local laws that their representatives were unwilling to enact for them. That power has been used only once in the 28 years it has been in force – in 1993, to enact term limits for city officeholders. Since term limits are one thing the people are almost all in favor of, and politicians are almost all opposed to.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/20/nyregion/bid-to-limit-terms-can-be-on-ballot-in-new-york-city.html?pagewanted=all&mcubz=0

That initiative and referendum has created a double-blind test of democracy in New York City, an experiment that no one knew they were participating in when term limits were enacted. Because today, New York City residents are represented (or not) by two sets of non-federal legislative representatives.   The 51 members of the New York City Council, who have turned over twice or more due to term limits. And its 91 member of the New York State legislature, with 26 State Senators and 65 members of the State Assembly. As we look toward a constitutionally-mandated November referendum on a possible New York State Constitutional Convention, something the entire New York State political class and its funders is opposed to and which basically seems to be hushed up, it is time to examine the results of this experiment. Because based on history, unless the powers that be manage to control the constitutional convention, term limits for state politicians is one provision that it might very well place before the voters for approval, and that those voters would almost certainly approve.

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