With only three short weeks until Election Day, Donald Trump is refining his message to a razor-sharp point aimed at maximizing his greatest strength: his status as a Washington outsider. With a series of ethics reform proposals, Trump is moving into his closing argument, summarized by one final slogan: Drain the Swamp.
On Tuesday, the Republican nominee unveiled the most dramatic aspect of his ethics proposal. Speaking at a rally in Colorado Springs, Trump said that it was time to break up the stagnant establishment club clogging Capitol Hill.
“If I’m elected president I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress,” Trump said.
At a later rally, Trump expanded on this proposal, telling supporters that he would advocate for a limit of 6 years on House representatives and 12 years on senators.
“The decades of failure in Washington and decades of special interest dealing must and will come to an end,” Trump said.
Proving there’s no point too big to miss, one newspaper snarkily noted that some of Trump’s congressional allies were serving in terms beyond those proposed limits. The political media still wants to treat Trump like a conservative Republican who…just doesn’t know what he’s doing? Something like that. They don’t seem to understand that yes, he’s a “Republican” and yes, he’s a “conservative,” but no, his identity is not that of a “conservative Republican.”
The subject of congressional term limits is the perfect issue for Trump to delineate between himself and the establishment Republicans who are falling all over themselves to oppose him. 75% of the American people want to enact term limits on congressmen and senators; only a tiny fraction of congressmen and senators want the same, regardless of party affiliation. This issue isn’t about left vs. right; this one’s about the people vs. Washington.
Over the last eight years, we’ve seen the perils of complacency. And complacency is exactly what sets in when incumbents sit in Washington year after year. They’re not there to get stuff done; they’re on Capitol Hill to enjoy all the perks that come with being a famous – or even unknown – congressman. They don’t care about protecting the power of Congress; thus, facing a president who very much cares about gaining power, they are virtually impotent. As long as they’re still getting all their establishment-club benefits, our elected representatives have no incentive to rock the boat.
By imposing term limits, perhaps we can find some Republicans with a little bit of ambition – not for wealth or fame, but for power. Power for their office, power for their party, and power for their branch of the government. And then we can be rid of these Republicans who think “small government” means doing nothing while the president becomes a tyrant.