[Marxism] Re: NYT: Chávez Again Seeks to End Term Limits

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 3 12:10:04 MST 2008

Steven L. Robinson wrote:
"In the context of the US, where the major parties design the electoral
system so as to assure their leading figures remain in power forever
through gerrymandering, ballot access restrictions, etc, term limits
have some benefit in that they at least force a rotation of personnel.
In California, at least, this has resulted in the election of
individuals more liberal or to the left of those that would have held
the positions had there been no term limits. Compare for instance,
California state legislators , where there are term limits, to the
Congressional delegation, where there are none. For instance, in San
Francisco in the state legislator we have two progressives, Leno and
Ammiano, the lattter identifies himself as a socialist, while in
Congress, we have two machine pols, Pelosi and Speir. Were term limits
applied to Congress, we would almost certainly have, on balance, more
progressive, or at least representatives more responsive to the

This is a bogus comparison. The force of ruling class opinion is bound to be much stronger and more important the higher up one goes. There are numerous Greens elected at local office; none in Congress. This has nothing to do with term limits. And there is no evidence that I know of that the imposition of term limits in California some years ago has moved the State Legislature to the left.

What it HAS done is increased enormously the power of lobbyists, i.e., business, since they are the "permanent" residents of Sacramento, whereas the legislators are mere transients, spending half their time there just learning the ropes before it's time for them to go. The imposition of term limits in California was a *right-wing* measure.

Eli Stephens
 Left I on the News

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