The 22nd Amendment, calling for a two term presidency, has been in effect for over half a century, but under President Donald Trump, a debate about the term limit has been reintroduced. Trump has spoken at rallies, seemingly joking, about tacking on two extra years to his presidency because he was robbed of some time due to all the allegations and investigations against him. Whether his threats are serious is unclear, but if he does want to extend his presidency in a way that violates the 22nd Amendment, he will go against his own views against corruption.
The term limit is both essential in preventing corruption but also in creating a better America through multiple presidencies and perspectives, according to CNN. Enforcing a two-term presidency is crucial in maintaining democracy by opening up the Oval Office to other candidates, recognizing new viewpoints and allowing different parties to hold power.
Even before the 22nd Amendment was in place, President George Washington held office for only two terms, setting the precedent. The two term limit has acted as an unwritten rule for Presidents with Franklin Delano Roosevelt being the only exception, resulting in Congress finally ratifying the 22nd Amendment.
Although Trump has addressed the validity of term limits, he has expressed interest in getting rid of the term limit in order to avoid corruption and dismisses the opposition’s argument by saying he is not a despot.
However, our current system is being threatened by someone who is wielding absolute power in order to avoid jail time. According to CNN, Trump has hinted during interviews that he has considered running for a third term, disregarding the 22nd Amendment.
Trump has expressed his admiration towards dictators who rule without a looming election or campaign, but one particular leader, China’s Xi Jinping, abolished term limits to become president for life last year. By sharing his fascination with Jinping, Trump is proving that he values a leader that ignores the rules of democracy. Democracy is set in place to prevent people like Jinping from dismissing any opposition.
A solution to the threat of tyranny, proposed by the Hall Gardner, a professor of International Comparative Politics at American University of Paris, is that members from Congress should call for a one term limit for the presidency.
President Trump and President Reagan have claimed that an expansion of the term limit will also cause a decrease in political corruption because less corrupt individuals would run. But, having a corrupt president for 12 years instead of eight would only amplify the negative change they would be able to enact during their time in office. 21 presidents have been reelected to a second term, which highlights the threat of rewriting the 22nd Amendment.
If this new system were implemented, presidents running again have a higher tendency of winning, so a corrupt president will stay in office for longer. The term limit is crucial and should not be taken laxly or as an excuse to be kept out of jail.
Our American values regarding democracy are essential in ensuring we prevent tyranny and keep our founding ideals intact despite partisan agendas and threats of corruption.
The issue of the term limit should remain bipartisan and not be discussed as a way to advance any particular party’s agenda. It is what separates America from monarchies and dictatorships.