Nick Tomboulides: Hello and welcome to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast of the term limits movement for the week of January 24th, 2022. I’m Nick Tomboulides. This week, we’ve got kind of an omnibus term limits podcast for you. When you hear that word in Washington, DC, that means trillions of your dollars are being taxed and borrowed and wasted, but when you hear the word Omnibus on a term limits podcast, that’s sort of a good thing because we’ve got a few different really interesting stories this week about members of Congress. Trey Hollingsworth, a Republican, who is getting out of Congress, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Democrat who is coming into Congress, and we’ve got a story for you about our committee hearing this week, in South Dakota. Thank you for being with us. And enjoy the show.
Nick Tomboulides: So this is rapid reaction, the term limits convention just had a legislative hearing in the South Dakota State Senate, in front of the Senate State Affairs Committee, and it was a disappointment. The term limits convention was defeated five to two by the senators on this committee, and the way it went down, the way it happened, was really illustrative of just how much politics and politicians and representation have deteriorated in our country in a very rapid, very short period of time, because the US term limit delegation, which consisted of Senator Erin Tobin and our Regional Director, Aaron Dukette, went in there and they made a clear, compelling, persuasive, fact-based argument for, number one, why term limits for Congress are so important, and number two, why the Article 5 convention, the amendment proposing convention in the constitution is the way to get it done. And unfortunately, they were just met with a blitzkrieg of misinformation and disinformation like you’ve never seen before. And if you listen to it, there was literally no lie that they weren’t willing to tell to stop this.
Nick Tomboulides: They were absolutely diabolical. I’ve never seen anything like it before. You had one guy come up and say that we’re trying to call a convention for every issue, not just term limits, but a wide open convention? That’s completely false. He accused Rob Natelson, who’s a Federalist Society conservative law professor, basically accused Rob Natelson of being like a double agent, who doesn’t have our country’s best interest in mind. This was like really bad defamatory stuff about us, about term limits convention, unfortunately, though, these South Dakota politicians on the state affairs committee, they couldn’t see right through it, they ate it up, hook, line and sinker, and they voted against us because they bought into all this anti-term limits propaganda. It was very, very disappointing to allow falsehoods and misrepresentations to enter into this debate and to sway legislators against us, but when you listen to this committee hearing, it was impressive how composed Senator Tobin was and Aaron Dukette, both just had so much poise and they did such a great job. And the future is definitely bright for South Dakota and congressional term limits, but what this really underscored is that we are in a war.
Nick Tomboulides: Obviously, not a physical war, but we are in a war of ideas, and it’s gonna be a tough fight, because the permanent political class, the establishment, the ruling elite in this country, they are not going down without a fight. They are clinging to power for as long as they possibly can, and they will throw out every falsehood, every lie, they will throw the kitchen sink at us. In the establishment’s last dying gasp, they will pull out all the stops to try to stop this, and we need to be two steps ahead of them all the time. That’s what this committee really illustrated for me. And what was also fascinating about this committee hearing is, we had fresh polling that came out from South Dakota on the day of this committee hearing, and we presented that polling in the committee, and here’s what it said… This is the most amazing poll that I have ever seen. First, they found that 88% of South Dakota voters support term limits for members of congress, 88%. That’s six points higher than the national average of 82%. So people in South Dakota are on fire for term limits. Also found that 76% of South Dakota citizens favor South Dakota calling for term limits convention. So three in four South Dakotans wanted this to happen.
Nick Tomboulides: They were also asked, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate for the state legislature who supports implementing term limits for members of congress?” 79% of South Dakota residents are more likely to support a candidate who wants term limits for members of congress. So what this committee did today was not just stupid policy-wise, it was really dumb politically. Finally, people were asked in South Dakota, South Dakota State legislators have term limits, however, elected officials on the federal level, meaning members of Congress were exempt from this law, is it fair or unfair that members of Congress can hold power for life while state office holders are term limited, and 79% of people in South Dakota said that it was unfair, and 58% of that said that it was very unfair. That was a survey of 500 registered voters in South Dakota conducted by RMG Research, which is owned and operated by Scott Rasmussen. So what we had here from the elected officials on this committee, the five who voted to table this, who voted to effectively kill it for the 2022 legislative session, we had a wholesale negligence.
Nick Tomboulides: We had a complete refusal to listen to the very people who elected you, who pay your salary, who keep you there in Pierre, South Dakota, and keep that title of Senator next to your name. Truly, it was shameful. It was shameful that they stood up for the status quo in Washington, DC. They stood up for Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, and Mitch McConnell, instead of standing up for their constituents. And I can tell you this, if I had to make a prediction, I would say these politicians are gonna face some serious repercussions at the ballot box. It would not surprise me if primary challengers start coming out of the woodwork to go after some of these recalcitrant senators who won’t listen to the people. So stay tuned for the next chapter in the book on South Dakota, because this is not over. Obviously, we’re fighting in many other states. And Term Limits Convention is alive and well in many other states, but that will in all likelihood, close the book on South Dakota for 2022.
Speaker 2: This is a public service announcement.
Nick Tomboulides: In early December, the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, was a sponsor of the Article 5 Academy Conference in San Diego, California. State legislators from around the country convened to learn about and discuss the law, history, and opportunities that States have to utilize their power under Article 5 of the US Constitution to fix a broken Washington DC. In a recent podcast, we shared the testimony of USTL’s Ron Hooper. Here, we present the remarks of former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, Stephen Markham, who address the claims of Term Limit’s opponents, that an Article 5 Amendment proposing convention could not be limited to a single specified subject.
Stephen Markham: To begin with, I think it would be an altogether healthy statement for our 50 states to initiate the Constitutional Convention process. Although, as with most Americans, there are some amendments I favor, and some that I do not. But in my judgement, it would be an inspiriting and inspiring thing to employ the alternative amendment process. Even on behalf of amendments, I might personally disfavor for at least the following reasons. First, this would allow for the greater possibility of constitutional change that limits the powers of the Congress itself. Second, this would restore the vision of our founders of a more balanced system of constitutional federalism. Third, this would more directly engage and energize, we the people, as the ultimate architects of constitutional change, than does the present system dominated by the Congress. And finally, this would validate an express authority set forth in our Constitution, while repudiating those who see only catastrophe, chaos and crisis, as a consequence of any process of constitutional change that does not commence with, and is dominated by the Congress.
Stephen Markham: In other words, by merely abiding by the straightforward language of our present constitution, our current constitution, words that have rested there unchanged for 230 years, we would rejuvenate that inspired document with even greater force than the enactment of any individual constitutional amendment. You would have given rise to a lasting constitutional change, simply by the successful invocation of a constitutional amendment process that has lain dormant for so many years. It just should not persist, that constitutional change is the exclusive province of the Congress, and that the States have no equivalent role.
Nick Tomboulides: Trey Hollingsworth is a Congressman from Indiana’s 9th District. He was first elected in 2016, signed the Term Limits Pledge, the US Term Limits Congressional Pledge at that time, and he has not entirely kept his US Term Limits Congressional Pledge. Congressman Hollingsworth promised that he would only support a Term Limits Amendment in DC for a six-year House Term Limit, and a 12-year Senate Term Limit. Unfortunately, he broke his word because he put his name on a bill for a 12-year House Limit, which is no Term Limit at all. In my opinion, once you get a Term Limit for the House that’s longer than six or eight years, it really ceases to be effective, because at that point they are career politicians. They’re spending more time in Washington than the President, which is frankly ridiculous. So Trey Hollingsworth broke his Terms Limits Pledge, and we as an organization, called him out. We put up three billboards in his district that said, “Trey Hollingsworth broke his Term Limits Pledge.” We put digital ads online that said, “Trey Hollingsworth broke his Term Limits Pledge.” And would you believe this? As a result of our campaign, Trey Hollingsworth, the Congressman, has just announced that he is not running for re-election. He is not running for re-election.
Nick Tomboulides: You know the old saying, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Well, he got out of the kitchen. And in his announcement that he would not be running again for a fourth term, he said, “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I become one in the process. I hope Hoosiers will replace their congressman with someone with a similar attitude. Voters in America should, too.” It sounds like Trey Hollingsworth is term limiting himself out of Congress. It’s certainly a decision that we respect around here, and we wish him well. But from the US Term Limits perspective, this is all about holding our elected officials accountable, and that is exactly what we did in this case.
Nick Tomboulides: In other news, a pro-term limits candidate for congress is replacing one of the most infamous opponents of term limits of the last 30 years. That’s right. In South Florida’s 20th congressional district, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick has won the general election. We have flipped what was one of the most anti-term limit congressional districts in the country. Alcee Hastings was in Congress 28 years from South Florida, and he opposed us every step of the way. He always opposed term limits. Congressman Hastings passed away in April from an extended illness, and a special election was called. Of course, this is South Florida we’re talking about, which means the Democratic primary is basically the whole election. And in the Democratic primary, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick signed the US term limits pledge and has now been elected to Congress.
Nick Tomboulides: She won the special general election with 78.7% of the vote after winning the Democratic primary by only five votes. It’s an incredible victory. We congratulate Congresswoman-elect McCormick, and nationally speaking, I would say she instantly becomes one of the highest profile Democrats behind this effort. She is joining Barack Obama, Jared Golden, Ed Rendell, Pat Quinn, and many others… Lori Trahan. Term limits is emerging in the Democratic Party. You’re seeing more and more Democrats at the state level and the federal level say nice things about term limits. More and more Democratic candidates are signing the pledge in addition to Republican candidates. It’s not quite where it is with Republicans yet, but it’s making big strides, and it’s showing that we are truly one of the last great non-partisan issues in this country. All the crap we see in our country, CNN versus Fox news, Trump versus Biden, woke people and cancel culture and gender neutral Oreos and everything that divides us. All the yelling and screaming that we hear, this constant fog of cultural war, it doesn’t apply to term limits. We are a non-partisan issue, we’re not a Democratic issue, we’re not a Republican issue, I don’t even really see us as a political issue. We are just an American issue. We are something that American people love, like apple pie, and baseball and barbecue, and term limits. That’s the way it should be.
Philip Blumel: Thanks for joining us for another episode of No Uncertain Terms. The Term Limits Convention bills are moving through the state legislatures. This could be a breakthrough year for the Term Limits movement. To check on the status of the Term Limits Convention Resolution in your state, go to termlimits.com/takeaction. There, you will see if it has been introduced and where it stands in the committee process on its way to the floor vote. If there’s action to take, you’ll see a Take Action button by your State, click it. This will give you the opportunity to send a message to the most relevant legislators, urging them to support the legislation. They have to know you are watching. That’s termlimits.com/takeaction. If your state has already passed the Term Limits Convention Resolution, or the bill has not been introduced in your state, you can still help. Please consider making a contribution to US Term Limits. It is our aim to hit the reset button on the US Congress and you can help. Go to termlimits.com/donate, termlimits.com/donate. Thanks. We’ll be back next week.
Stacey Selleck: Contact your state lawmakers before they vote on term limits for congress. Go to termlimits.com/takeaction.
Speaker 5: USTL.