During a Colorado Springs rally on Oct. 18, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump announced, “The time for congressional term limits has finally arrived.” For many, it was one of Trump’s more moderate proclamations. Term limits don’t sound like such a bad idea.
But it’s possible this comment signaled support for a broader, more partisan agenda. Term limits are a central demand for a growing movement of states-rights activists focused on weakening the federal government—and they are dangerously close to convening the first state constitutional convention in U.S. history.
According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states can convene a constitutional convention without the federal government’s go-ahead if two-thirds (34) of them pass a resolution in favor. Right-wing organizations—and their billionaire funders—have been working feverishly for decades to get state legislatures to call for such a convention, with the explicit aim of limiting the powers of the federal government.