A one-term presidency

Our nation’s highest office should be restricted to a single term.

by Eric Best

As you read the title of this column, you may think I’m going to set off on a tirade about why President Barack Obama shouldn’t have been re-elected. Rather, my goals are set higher; I want to discuss why our nation’s two-term limit for our highest office is degrading our political system.

Two and a half years into the first term of every modern president, they forfeit their “presidential” title and brandish “candidate” instead. Rather than directly continuing the fight on difficult issues — former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, Social Security or climate change, to name a few — the president now has to deal with a campaign. The focus transitions to speculation on issues against the other candidate. They debate, they make ads and they tour the country.

Though there isn’t always direct evidence that this alters real action on issues, running a successful campaign is beyond a full-time job, especially for someone who is trying to simultaneously lead the free world. The presidential office should not be subject to campaigning when there are issues in this country that need to be acknowledged. A president leads this country, whereas on the campaign trail, they often lead their own party as well. Even if it’s simply an ideological shift, the president should be accountable for a nation with a diversity of opinions, where compromise is an option. Changing the presidential term limit, regardless of whether or not this is a feasible notion, would purify the office from an election season that begets partisanship and polarization.

Though this has the possibility of generating chaos within party politics, the government exists for the benefit of its citizens and not for political parties. We can’t endure the tacitly accepted political traditions we’ve adopted from previous generations, we should look critically at our political system so that it complements a more modern society. If the electoral apparatus continues to dominate our culture with the same ferocity that it currently harbors, the presidential office should be critically questioned to maintain its appropriateness.