On the EDge: Midterms are the realm of the angry voter

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OPINION — I was hoping that somehow things would change once the election was over.

I should have known better.

The winners have been anything but gracious and the losers are choking on their bitterness.

I don’t know if you can say that the Democrats taking back the House is evidence of a so-called Blue Wave so many were predicting.

I also don’t know that the election results can be called a win for the Republicans.

This wasn’t really a win by either party.

The midterms are usually the realm of the angry voter, ticked at the president and desperate for some change, even if it is minimal, from the tired old faces in Congress, which is why we are in desperate need of election reform that includes term limits. The members of the House and Senate should be allowed only two four-year terms, same as the president. None of them deserve to stick around long enough for a gold watch.

It won’t, of course, happen. These fat cats are in too deep and are not about to give up a job that pays an awful lot for so little effort.

Oh, the roster has a few changes every now and then, but the power guys always manage to hang on for another season, even when mired in a horrific slump. They know the game well and play it to their advantage through the election cycle.

As a candidate, the president said he would work for an amendment that would limit members of the House to three two-year terms, and members of the Senate to two six-year terms.

We’ve seen some dramatic foreign policy shifts, some strange trade policy decisions and some ragged stabs at executive orders, most of which have been purely ceremonial, with others ruled unconstitutional, but we have yet to see him follow through on this campaign plank he introduced as the campaign wound down two years ago.

It was something, however, that most voters, Republican and Democratic, could rally behind.

At the time of the president’s putting the idea forward, it would have sent 32 senators and 226 representatives packing.

For years, Orrin Hatch justified his continuing run as being beneficial to the people of Utah, stating that his time and experience in the Senate would be beneficial to his constituents. The thing is, these elected officials are supposed to work for the good of the nation, not the isolated interests of their home state. That’s how all that pork gets added to the federal budget, the quid pro quo that makes politicians oddly strange bedfellows.

Limiting terms would also mean that our elected officials would be more apt to govern than to constantly be out on the stump. As such, it could stimulate more credible action based on the nation’s needs rather than the needs of a senator or representative who weighs their vote on how their constituency will respond at the polls.

In other words, it would open the doors to truth, credibility and ethics, three attributes sorely lacking in Congress for decades now regardless of who holds a majority.

As a result, we would have more legitimate and stronger checks and balances on the executive branch because Congress would become less dependent on the blessing of the commander in chief.

And, perhaps, a real clearing of the swamp could take place instead of installing one set of good ol’ boys for another.

It would also be of benefit to impose limits on the terms of members of the Supreme Court.

I know that SCOTUS is supposed to be apolitical, but is it really?

Of course not.

It never has been and it never will be.

If we are lucky, we get a four-four-one balance. That is certainly not what we have now.

The Constitution is a living, breathing document that needs constant interpretation. Times change, technology changes, intellectual capacity changes. Rules of law instilled centuries ago become archaic, saddling us with confusion that never quite finds resolution.

This desire for term limits should extend to the state and local levels as well, where graybeards sit as governors, legislators, mayors, council members and commissioners for interminably long stretches.

We all complain, a lot, about do-nothing elected officials.

We don’t like that they are unresponsive to our needs and desires.

We don’t like how they conduct business.

We don’t like them, period.

But we keep electing them.

There’s an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

That pretty well sums up our electoral system.

Yeah, some seats shifted in the House and Senate and, yeah, the balance of power has shifted a bit, but it remains to be seen just how much positive impact this will have on the system.

Will it really instill a better set of checks and balances or simply result in more obstructionism, something we have had to endure for decades now?

America is still a vital, bustling nation, but to keep it lively, moving forward, we frequently need a new dealer and fresh deck of cards. Or, at the very least, to shuffle those cards now and then.

We need fresh blood to keep us honest, new eyes filled with optimism instead of steely resolve to cling to the job no matter the cost.

It just might inspire renewed voter confidence.

It might just freshen a stale institution.

It might just turn things around.

And, with a constant turnaround in fresh blood and talent, it would be a way to erase the lingering grudges and anger that foments when the opposing sides do nothing but stare each other down and undercut the foundation of our government for the regretful purpose of payback.

We’re supposed to be better than that.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Redbud November 13, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    It’s no surprise to anyone that liberals are incapable of acting like mature adults.

    • Rice November 14, 2018 at 11:05 am

      is this comment your idea of republican adulting?

      • Redbud November 14, 2018 at 9:02 pm

        Rice, you are exactly right! How did you ever guess? It’s called truth! Sorry you aren’t mentally capable of pondering such a concept.

  • ladybugavenger November 13, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    The extreme liberal attitude of anything goes, everyone gets a trophy, dont hurt my feelings! has muddied the line between right and wrong, good and evil, and good and bad behaviors.

    In that sense, monsters have been created and you will see an increase of school shootings, suicides, and violent crimes. Unless, you get back to accountability for actions of children. No, that child should not get a trophy for participation! That failing student should not go on to the next grade. Liberalism has gone to liberal.

    • ladybugavenger November 13, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      I left out that parents right to discipline their children have been taken away by a fear of getting your kids taken away. That in itself has left parents no alternative to control their children. And you all know you have been at the store where the parent let’s their child run around, climb on shelves or carts or whatever they climb and they cry and throw a fit until they get that toy,and you say to yourself control that child. Well, if they do, you have the others saying, can you believe how they talked to that child. I should call Dcfs? So that type of liberalism is creating criminals because kids arent put in check.

      • Rice November 14, 2018 at 11:10 am

        So let me get this straight, Kids are shooting up schools and jumping off bridges because they aren’t getting their feelings hurt enough and their parents don’t spank them?

  • ladybugavenger November 13, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    My generation (I’m 48) had parents that weren’t around. We practically raised ourselves, latchkey kids. Then we have kids, and arent going to raise them like that, but now our parents generation make laws to tell us how to parent, when they weren’t even participating in our lives. Dont discipline, dont hurt their feelings, really? Like you didnt do enough damage! This kid is writing on the wall and you dont think he/she should be disciplined? Now, we have the next generation having kids. Ughhhh. I’m with Bob, some people should not reproduce!!! And my parents and sister made me feel that I was the one that shouldnt of been born. No wonder I was a messed up kid. Took me 40 years to finally realize they were the messed up ones. My mom finally apologized on her death bed and while on her death bed my sister finally admitted she hated me for being born. Geeeze, I knew that but my family said I was mental. Even my husband thought I was lying, until my sister admitted it right in front of him. It’s been 2 years, he still apologizes to me.
    My mom was a liberal and believed everything the government said. And I do not believe anything the government says. Liars!

    I wonder if b&f has a science study on liars and why it is easier for people to believe a lie then the truth

    Go Raiders!

    • ladybugavenger November 13, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      In case your wondering, my sister hated me for being born because she was 5 and for 5 whole years she had her parents all to herself then I was born and I got their attention. And she got hate and she set me up to take the blame, all the blame, for decades

      • ladybugavenger November 13, 2018 at 6:42 pm

        Until I removed myself completely out of everyone’s lives and she had her parents all to herself for a few years until I came in and took care of my dying mother and asked my sister if she will forgive me for stealing her Halloween candy 40 years ago. She said, well now I have to. Ok, you 50 year old woman, move on. She hated me for being born( stole my spirit) and I stole from her. Just imagine, if she had loved me, just how much different life would have been.

        So yes, kids at 5 years old can hate. Watch your kids

    • Comment November 13, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Wow, I think your family may have even been more screwed up than mine even. And don’t worry, B&F can find a study for every one of his viewpoints because he’s ALWAYS right and we are ALWAYS wrong. And if a study doesn’t exist on it HE WILL WRITE ONE. AND IT WILL BE CORRECT AND OUR OPINION WILL BE WRONG. b&f is an expert on everything. LoL 😉

      • Happy Commenter November 13, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        You got that right! He got his degree in the personal care dept at wally world.

      • bikeandfish November 13, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        Feel free to show me what study I provided was wrong. I will retract anything that can be shown to be empirically wrong;. I’ve done it 4-5 times on this very site.

        The lashing out is cute. Straight to ad hominems makes dismissing your comments easier.

        • Happy Commenter November 13, 2018 at 7:53 pm

          BOOO HOOOOO!

        • Comment November 13, 2018 at 8:45 pm

          bike, take a joke, buddy. That was a very lighthearted post. 😉

      • bikeandfish November 13, 2018 at 7:27 pm

        Didn’t pay attention to the all caps. Bonus points.

      • ladybugavenger November 14, 2018 at 12:46 pm


    • bikeandfish November 13, 2018 at 7:33 pm


      I’m only aware of a handful of the studies on why people believe mistruths and lies. Luckily its one of the issues that isn’t defined by partisan loyalties. Its been a question and research interest since the dawn of civilization.

      And then there is the arena of cognitive biases and heuristics like Bryan Hyde pointed out this week. That is ground breaking work still, its being applied from everything from elections to what is driving the increase in search and rescues.

      Best of luck moving on from family issues. No child should be treated like they don’t belong.

      • ladybugavenger November 14, 2018 at 7:46 am

        Thanks b&f.
        Cain and Abel syndrome-just plane ole jealousy. I have moved forward but the damage is always there. I’ve spent a lifetime of repairing myself.

        My husband came from physical abuse and do we discuss which is worse. Emotional and mental abuse or physical abuse. We have come to the conclusion that emotional and mental abuse is worse than physical abuse. Because, in mental and emotional abuse you dont know what’s hitting you. Physical abuse, you know your getting hit.

        • ladybugavenger November 14, 2018 at 8:01 am

          On the positive side, I just stay away from people ? jK. I work retail. But after work, I’m good in my isolation.

  • bikeandfish November 13, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    There is a certain bitterness to Ed’s column this week. The entire theme seems less cohesive and more reactive.

    Not to mention our Senate was actually designed to be a combination of local representation and national interest. The Senate was a compromise to act as a stopgap for the populist sentiments of the House. I don’t agree with Hatch often anymore but he is right in protecting his constituents values and preferences (assuming they are lawful according to the Constitution).

    I bring that up as there is a growing resentment and movement against the electoral design of the Senate on the left st the moment. Ironically all of their complaints about the outcomes expose an ignorance of how our Republic was designed. There are mechanisms to change our government processes but folks should be aware of the rational for how the system was designed before advocating for a radical alteration of our nation. We don’t accidentally have a bicameral Congress.

    Term limits are a subject that deserves its own analysis. I don’t tend to trust columnists to expose more than the simple ideologies underpinning the issue. Pros and cons on both sides of the argument. The left’s talk at the moment seems very similar to “drain the swamp” rhetoric, ie it touches on popular sentiment without much detail or accountability.

  • commonsense November 13, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Bike fish always defends his Edge. Fact is, legislators should represent their constituents rather than exploiting the elction process by buying votes with promised benefits. I want the Utah delegation to back Utah values and not broaden the umbrella to troll for new identity groups just for power.

    Except for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the SCOTUS has been apolitical and now will embrace the constitution as written and not as liberals would want to be.

    • bikeandfish November 13, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      Odd comment considering I actually criticized Ed throughout my post, especially about the role of the Senate:

      “Not to mention our Senate was actually designed to be a combination of local representation and national interest. The Senate was a compromise to act as a stopgap for the populist sentiments of the House. I don’t agree with Hatch often anymore but he is right in protecting his constituents values and preferences (assuming they are lawful according to the Constitution).”

      To be honest, I rarely agree with Ed. To the point he’s called me out directly as a “curmudgeon”.

      • Comment November 13, 2018 at 10:43 pm

        B&F, commonsense is one guy you will never win any kind of debate with. It isn’t because he’s smart or some kind of master debater. It’s because his skull is literally 5 inches thick. Not only is it bulletproof, but it’s impervious to getting any kind of point across. He might even be some kind of closeted superhero. 😉

    • Comment November 13, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      We should get into some more multi-trillion dollar middle east wars completely based on completely fabricated lies (I’m talking about the baby Bush II regime in case your memory has lapsed). Commonsense, I know that isn’t “super recent” history, but I would love to see how you can twist your logic to blame “libruls” for that, as you seen to blame them for everything else. Everybody needs a bogeyman I suppose, and you’ve found yours? Do you check under your bed each night to make sure none of those ghoulish “libruls” are lying in wait to drink your blood or something? You’re always so predictably simple, but entertaining.. “THE LIBRULS DUNNIT!”. HAHA, cheers buddy 😉

      • Comment November 13, 2018 at 10:34 pm

        I suspect that every bad event in the entire history of mankind was the fault of “libruls”. When the cave men had a failed hunt and had to go hungry they probably went on and on about how “this is the fault of those G** D*** LIBRUL SOCIALISTS!”

        commonsense, makes perfect sense right? I’d advise you to double check under your bed. Could be either a liberal or a socialist hiding there! Maybe even one of each?! Or a two headed monster: a librul/socialist!?

  • Kilroywashere November 13, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Doesn’t matter folks. Got to change political campaign financing. One big media mind f#$%. The medium is not the message. The media is the subliminal message. Your emotions are the battlefield. Words and memes battle for members and new membership. He said she said BS. Tune off, turn off, drop off, and after awhile you’ll notice nothing has changed while you were away. Kapeesh. The truth is out there, just not on your TV, laptop, or cellphone. Find your bearing.

  • jpff November 14, 2018 at 6:39 am

    This seldom happens, but I am in agreement with Ed on this one. Term limits would be ideal.
    I feel our state forced Hatch onto the US for far too many years, and as I looked over his record, I was not impressed. As with others, his first few years were pretty good, but he seemed to become more of a windbag racing to plant his lips on the behinds of people like Reagen, Ali, and Kennedy after a while.
    We need a grassroots movement for term limits for Congress. It would also help if we could get some Independents in there and not have any party majority. A small group of Independents choosing what is good for the people from whatever is offered by the two other parties could make a huge difference on the leadership from Washington, DC.

    • Redbud November 14, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      Term limits are only considered “ideal” by liberals when it’s convenient for their agenda. “A republican is in office? Oh yes! Bring on the term limits! Oh wait, now we have a liberal in office? Shhhhhh! Nevermind what I just said. No more term limits!”

  • Whatteverrr November 14, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Great article /opinion. Very well stated. Certainly agree …if you don’t change… Nothing changes. That simple.

    And of course redbud has nothing of value to contribute to the conversation except personal attack and LBA runs the board over, and over, and over… Blah blah…. Oh and another thing! Blah. Blah. …….

    BTW, this Fri is day 666 of this administration
    Stay tuned.

    • Kilroywashere November 14, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Gee, let’s bring out ancient Kabbalahistic symbolism. Madonna would be in awe of your mystical insights Whatteverrr. Wait, three “R”s at the end of your name WhatteveRRR. R the 18th letter of the Alphabet. Wait. 18 =6+6+6. And R is repeated 3 times as well. Hmmmm. Blah blah blah. Look in a mirror youre reflecting your own words. On that note, I do agree it is a solid Ed piece, but in the end term limits are not enough. Campaign reform and reversing the damage of the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling is the lost cornerstone, and essential to restoring true democracy. Otherwise Pluto and the Plutocrats will continue to play the same tune while fake media fans the flames of political discontent. Ask yourself why political campaign reform has been a non topic since late 2015. T H I N K.

      • Whatteverrr November 14, 2018 at 9:12 pm

        Nice math… Gee.. conspiritorialize much? Is that you in the image up top?

  • KR567 November 14, 2018 at 9:26 am

    666 …oh wow were all.running scared now …

    • Kilroywashere November 14, 2018 at 9:49 am

      888, Make America Great.

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