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Merkley campaign highlights need for term limits

I read Jason Chaney’s “Five candidates seek Merkley’s Senate seat” article. It would have been appropriate to bring up the topic of congressional term limits which have bipartisan support — 75 percent — per a January 2014 Gallup poll.

Americans are very disappointed with Congress and want change. The interview with the candidates touched on many of the reasons why.

The argument against term limits is: “That is why we have elections.” What this argument misses is an election process Catch-22 that guarantees with high likelihood incumbents like Sen. Merkley are re-elected despite a 76.8 percent RealClearPolitics.com Congressional job disapproval rating.

The reason 90 percent of incumbents usually win re-election is money. The Merkley campaign, like nearly all other incumbents from both political parties, has lots of it compared to his political competition.

OpenSecrets.org shows Sen. Merkley’s campaign raised $7.3 million compared to the combined $1.4 million raised by nine other senatorial candidates.

All political campaigns rely on advertising because many people vote based on name recognition. This is why candidates advertise. Money buys advertising, and advertising wins elections. The end result is our political election system has been rigged — legally — by incumbents to support incumbent re-election. It has been highly effective.

Congressional term limits are the solution that would end an era of career Washington, D.C., politicians our founders never envisioned nor intended.

Political reality is that Congress can’t or won’t impose term limits on themselves. When James Madison wrote the Constitution he included another amendment method called an Article 5 convention. The power to call this type of convention rests with the states and must be called when 34 or more states apply to Congress for the same issue.

The bipartisian issue Americans have strong agreement on is term limits for Congress. On Memorial Day (May 26), we remember the current and past generations of military men and women who served this country to safeguard our freedom.

On the same date a nationwide initiative to use that freedom will start by calling for an Article 5 convention to impose Congressional term limits. Join us on Facebook at “Term Limits for US Congress” or at TermLimitsforUSCongress.com.

Scott Downey lives in Newberg.



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