By Marc Ramsingh

This past summer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell displayed lapses in his mental capabilities not once, but twice.

On July 26, Senator McConnell was taking his time to answer a seemingly routine question about position succession, only he struggled — McConnell froze under the spotlights and stayed that way for what felt like five minutes, but was 30 seconds. This brought on worry for the senator’s health and capability to lead. A second episode of freezing of Senator McConnell further worsened this thought.

We witnessed another lapse in Senator McConnell’s mental fitness during a low-stakes convention in his home state of Kentucky on Aug. 31st, where his freeze spoke volumes to future voters on either side of the aisle — how old is too old?

Current Term Limits

President — a maximum of two elected four-year terms

Vice President — unlimited amount of four-year terms

House of Representatives & Senate — unlimited number of two and six-year terms

Gubernatorial — 36 states (including Kentucky) currently have no form of term limits

Supreme Court and other judicial bodies — unlimited number of terms when appointed

What little progress we made toward term limits

Term limits and an upper age cap have been an issue for a few reasons.

Oftentimes, representatives don’t understand their constituents or the issues that matter to them and often do not make changes in Congress once they are “enured so as to not “rock the boat”, keeping their job. The average age of a senator is 65, the median is 58.

President Biden’s age, for reference, is 80; California’s senator Dianne Feinstein — serving her sixth term — just recently turned 90. Representative Pelosi recently announced she would seek reelection in 2024, putting her in her mid-80s if reelected.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (left), and Representative Nancy Pelosi (CA-11) (right). Both are among the oldest in the current Congress. Photo Courtesy Kenny Holston, The New York Times

This poses a problem for the average U.S. voting-age citizen. A +- 47.1 age discrepancy is massive and causes a disconnect in our institutions and politicians, leading to distrust.

Progress towards a blanket term limit for nationally elected positions is insignificant. There is another way though– states can individually enact their own laws to limit the number of terms a candidate can serve or an upper age cap for candidates. Progress of this can specifically be tracked via sites like

As unfortunate as it is to say, progress towards term limit restrictions will simply not happen until U.S. voters are united and in agreement on such an issue. Given the tumultuous political environment we are currently engaged in, it’s something that likely won’t happen for a while. That is not to say that we should give up and wait. This issue and any other issue plaguing our country can be solved when we speak with our votes which is a means to show up for yourself and your community.

The detriment term limits (or lack thereof) have had on the U.S.

The most significant detriment to the lack of term limits is that typically older state representatives and senators simply cannot understand the issues their vastly younger constituents value.

In states where this discrepancy is so vast, there’s polarization and distrust; in Florida for example, recently elected Democratic representative Maxwell Frost (age 26) shares his state with constituents who are in their 70s. This harms our democracy specifically in politician productivity given that they don’t know (or sometimes, don’t want to know) how they can help their state. Once they reach a certain point in their political career, it becomes high job security.

Maxwell Frost (Fl-10), speaking with reporters. He’s one of the first members of Gen-Z elected into a federal office. Photo Courtesy Anna Moneymaker, Getty Images

Term limits would drastically help not only our nationally elected members of Congress but also our state bodies. Introducing term limits on newly elected individuals comes with fresh ideas and an adaptation to the ever-changing landscape of not only individual states but the nation as a whole.

Photo Courtesy // J. Scott Applewhite, AP