The amount of time that Anna Eshoo and Dianne Feinstein have spent in the the Congress and Senate, combined, is roughly half a century.
The longevity of their careers doesn’t stem from a disregard for term limits, as our governors max out at two terms and state legislators have a limit of 12 years. Californians clearly recognize the importance of term limits. However, these values do not extend to our Senate and House representatives.
The average length of time that our current representatives have spent in office is 16 and a half years — and that takes into account that we just elected Kamala Harris last year.
With the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, Californians must recognize that there is always someone better to represent their ideas and that new politicians will engage more people.
Therefore, either through legislation or their votes, they should stop voting in third-or-fourth term incumbents.
Once voters find that they disagree with their representatives on even a few policy issues they should find someone better to represent them.
Barbara Boxer spent 10 years as a representative for California’s sixth district and later would sit in the Senate as California’s senator for 24 years, until 2017, when she finally decided not to run for a fifth term. During the 24 years she was in office, was there not even one vote, piece of proposed legislation or statement that Californians disagreed with?
“During the 24 years she [Barbara Boxer] was in office, was there not even one vote, piece of proposed legislation or statement that Californians disagreed with?”
No matter how qualified, any politician, at a certain point, will lose touch with their constitents.
In addition, people are energized by new ideas and faces, best evidenced by the two most recent presidential elections. Donald Trump ran a campaign on being a political outsider, someone who is not a career politician, and clearly, his methods were effective.
But, if ‘draining the swamp’ doesn’t float your boat, the next best example of the power of a fresh face is Barack Obama. While his political career was unrecognized at a national scale, his originality helped him gain a majority of the youth vote, ultimately winning him the 2008 presidential election, as reported by the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.
Countering the idea of term limits, some may argue that the policies are ageist — they judge a person based on their time served and not on their qualifications.
Anticipating the 2018 elections, Harold Meyerson urged Feinstein to not run in a Mercury News Op-Ed.
When Feinstein was asked by the National Public Radio about the criticism, she responded by stating, “I read that piece and I was surprised. It didn’t mention any accomplishments, what I do, what I’ve achieved. It’s all sort of done on the basis of a numerical age and the fact that I’m not as liberal as some.”
What Feinstein gets wrong about the criticism is that the argument against her future reelection is less about her age and more about her political reputation.
There is no debate surrounding her accomplishments or abilities; she has accomplished much through the Judiciary Committee and in representing California.
Gradually, however her constituents should realize that there are discrepancies between their points of view.
Setting a term limit, either through law or through vote, Californians would see more of the population get involved in pressing domestic issues and relevant up-to-date ideas represented in the Congress and Senate.