The Presidency 34

Free course on the presidency. One paragraph per day.

2.8          Term limits protect us against entrenchment, but they also deny us the opportunity to reward or hold accountable a second-term president. Second-term presidents have legitimacy, having been elected, but no accountability to voters after the election that returned them to office.  The lack of accountability reduces the incentive for a second-term president to be concerned with the voters.[1] Even so, second-term presidents remain subject to the Constitution and therefore remain accountable in many ways to Congress and the federal courts.  In addition, legislators in the president’s party will want the president to avoid policies that will hurt their chances for reelection.

[1] A second term president wouldn’t be completely lacking in motivation. The president might be motivated by a genuine desire to solve problems, to build a suitable historical reputation, or to advantage his/her political party brand.

Image: Dwight Eisenhower. White House.

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