Today, in Gettysburg, Donald Trump proposed term limits on Congressmen. This anti-democratic proposal, which denies to voters the right to choose whomever they want for Congressmen in the House of Representatives, is obviously an anti-Libertarian proposal, although many so-called Libertarians seem to advocate it.
Term limits clearly violate the Right to choose our Congressmen. But more damningly, term limits mean that if any very effective or wildly popular Libertarian Congressman were to arise, they’d quickly be thrown out of the political arena, probably to be replaced by one of the hundreds of mediocre bipartisan Congressmen who infest the halls of Congress.
A clear example of the damage that could be done by Congressional Term Limits is that of Congressman Ron Paul, who served 12 terms in the House of Representatives, where his Libertarian voice was heard for many years speaking sanely on many of the important political issues of those times. Term limits, such as Trump is proposing, would have gagged Ron Paul, and had a severely deleterious influence on the propagation of Libertarian-Jeffersonian principles of government to the People. Ron Paul is a clear example of that rare Congressman whose ideas have an influence far beyond that on their local electors. In Dr. Paul’s case, his experience in Congress was a springboard for his three Presidential runs, which inserted Libertarian ideas and arguments into the American body politic in a way that no Congressman limited to two terms could have ever done. Indeed, Dr. Paul is still regularly sought out on major media sites for his opinions, as anyone searching his name on Youtube will see instantly. This very original and iconoclastic thinker would have been shut up if Donald Trump’s term limit proposal were the law of the land.
Ironically, Ron Paul has also advocated for Congressional term limits. Apparently he himself does not see the danger such an anti-democratic proposal would have on the Republic.
In my view, there should not be term limits on any elected political offices in America, save for the Presidency. And the Presidency is too powerful an office not to apply a term limit to. Unfortunately it seems that Presidential term limits have been overridden by Presidents having their children or spouses run for office, creating family dynasties which Jefferson railed against when he spoke about the landed gentry ruling the country through dynasties (and restricting voting to only those who had a large amount of property). America has had the Bush dynasty, and now, tragically, we may have a Clinton dynasty, Heaven forfend, or, if Trump is elected, a future Trump dynasty. The idea that only certain families are competent to serve in the White House should be voted against, and this is a very strong argument for voting against Hillary Clinton, just as it would have been if Jeb Bush had been nominated.
If a majority of voters in a Congressional district vote to elect the same person over and over, that is their Inalienable Right. The solution of term limits, because almost all the members of the House of Representatives as mediocre bipartisans, should not be resorted to out of practicality because it precludes the possibility that some really radical, revolutionary Congressman like Ron Paul could ever have a huge impact on national political thought, while at the same time it violates the Right of the voters to choose whomever they please.
So, as Libertarians, let us vigorously oppose term limits for Congressmen, but retain them for the Presidency.
— Paul Grad, 2014 Libertarian Party of Oregon Nominee for Governor