The campaign promise Congress won't let Trump keep

Voters who supported Donald Trump through his campaign for the presidency have been slowly coming to the realization that not all of the president-elect's promises were meant to be taken literally -- or that he even remembers making them.

For some, the realization that they had been sold a bill of goodsby the incoming president hit home when it became clear that alumni of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank Trump constantly attacked on the campaign trail, would be key members of his new administration.

Related: Trump's official picks for cabinet and administration positions

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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More from The FIscal Times: How Donald Trump Can Grow the Economy and Keep His Promise

For others, it took Trump explicitly admitting it himself. Last week, after announcing with great fanfare that Carrier Corporation had been persuaded to keep some 700 jobs in Indiana rather than sending them to Mexico (along with the more than 1,000 jobs it is still sending south of the border) Trump admitted that he had never actually meant it when he promised voters in Indiana that Carrier would never leave.

In fact, he said, it wasn't until he watched a video of his own speechthat he even remembered saying itin the first place.

But while many of the promises Trump is likely to break or conveniently forget can be chalked up to the president-elect taking advantage of what even some of his supporters are admitting is a "post-truth" era in American politics, one of Trump's oft-repeated pledges is dead on arrival in Washington regardless of how well Trump remembers making it: Congressional term limits.

Related: Donald Trump's transition team

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Donald Trump's transition team
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Donald Trump's transition team
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus address supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence attends a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S. November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon departs the offices of Republican president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie speaks to supporters in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Brian C. Frank/File Photo
Former candidate Ben Carson arrives to attend the third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani leaves the offices of Republican President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S., November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Defense Intelligence Agency director U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on "Worldwide Threats" in Washington February 4, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al) speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican President-elect Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S., November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Son of Republican President-elect Donald Trump Eric Trump gives the thumbs up as he arrives at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S., November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Donald Trump Jr. sits between his wife Vanessa (L) and his brother Eric Trump (R) during the third and final debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Jared Kushner (L) and Stephen Bannon stand by as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio, U.S., September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel delivers his speech on the U.S. presidential election at the National Press Club in Washington, U.S., October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Steven Mnuchin, Chairman and Co-CEO of Dune Capital Management LP and Chairman and CEO of OneWest Bank Group LLC speaks at a panel discussion "Jump-Starting the Housing Market" at the 2009 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills,California April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES BUSINESS)
Anthony Scaramucci, co-managing partner and founder of Skybridge Capital speaks at the opening of the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas May 6, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Newly elected Congressmen Lou Barletta (R-PA) (R) and Tim Scott (R-SC) (C) arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 17, 2010. The new members of the upcoming 112th Congress are going through orientation. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) flashes a thumbs-up before delivering his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) talks to reporters as he walks from the offices of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (not pictured) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 15, 2013. Republicans in the House of Representatives failed to reach internal consensus on Tuesday on how to break an impasse on the federal budget that could soon result in an economically damaging default on the country's debt. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS MEDIA)
Campaign Communications Director Hope Hicks departs the offices of Republican president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to push for a Constitutional amendment limiting members of the House of Representatives to three two-year terms and U.S. senators to two six-year terms.

More from The FIscal Times: The 'Carrier' of Crony Capitalism Is Evident in Trump's Deal

"If I'm elected president, I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress," Trump said in October. "They've been talking about that for years. Decades of failure in Washington and decades of special interest dealing must and will come to an end."

"We're going to put on term limits, which a lot of people aren't happy about, but we're putting on term limits," Trump said in an appearance on 60 Minutes shortly after his election. "We're doing a lot of things to clean up the system."

There are multiple problems with plans to impose Congressional term limits, including the fact that the Supreme Court has declared previous efforts to impose them unconstitutional -- hence the need for an amendment to the nation's founding document. However, the biggest obstacle will be Congress itself.

More from The Fiscal Times: Trump's Wooing of Democrats Could Pad the GOP's Senate Majority

The easiest route to a Constitutional amendment would be for both houses of Congress to pass a call for an amendment making term limits the law of the land. That would take the form of a joint resolution supported by two-thirds of both the Senate and the House. If the amendment passed that high bar, it would then need to be ratified by three-quarters (38 of 50) of the states in order to take effect.

Related: Most and least liked US Senators

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Top most and least liked U.S. Senators
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Top most and least liked U.S. Senators
Least Liked

10. Richard Durbin, Illinois

Disapprove: 38% 
Approve: 41%
No opinion: 21%

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Least Liked

9. Claire McCaskill, Missouri

Disapprove: 38% 
Approve: 46%
No opinion: 16%

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Least Liked

8. Joe Manchin, West Virginia

Disapprove: 38% 
Approve: 54%
No opinion: 7%

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Least Liked

7. David Vitter, Louisiana

Disapprove: 39% 
Approve: 42%
No opinion: 20%

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Least Liked

6. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

Disapprove: 40% 
Approve: 45%
No opinion: 16%

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Least Liked

5. Marco Rubio, Florida

Disapprove: 41% 
Approve: 46%
No opinion: 13%

(Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Least Liked

4. John McCain, Arizona

Disapprove: 42% 
Approve: 48%
No opinion: 9%

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Least Liked

2. Harry Reid, Nevada

Disapprove: 43% 
Approve: 44%
No opinion: 17%

(Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Most Liked

10. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota

Approve: 63%
Disapprove: 24%
No opinion: 13%

(Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Most Liked

9. Angus King, Maine

Approve: 63%
Disapprove: 26%
No opinion: 11%

(Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Most Liked

3. John Thune, South Dakota

Approve: 68%
Disapprove: 17%
No opinion: 15%

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Most Liked

2. Susan Collins, Maine

Approve: 69%
Disapprove: 21%
No opinion: 11%

(Photo by John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Most Liked

1. Bernie Sanders, Vermont

Approve: 87%
Disapprove: 12%
No opinion: 1%

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

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But the chance of any such amendment ever making it out of Congress, at least as it is currently configured, is virtually zero. It would, for example, make more than half the current members of the House and Senate ineligible to continue in office beyond the end of Trump's first presidential term.

And politicians aren't known for voting themselves out of office.

"I would say we have term limits now," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after Trump was chosen as the next president. "They're called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate.

More from The Fiscal Times: Here Are the CEOS and Wall Street Titans Trump Will Turn to for Advice

There is, however, a way that Trump could theoretically bypass the Congress on the term limits issue. The Constitution can also be amended during a Constitutional Convention called by two-thirds of state legislatures. However, there are currently 27 amendments to the Constitution and not a single one of them has been implemented through a Constitutional Convention.

In fact, since the first Constitutional Convention, in 1787, there has never been another. And experts worry that convening one would have huge and unknowable consequences because once convened, there would be no limit on the scope of the convention's work beyond those it places on itself.

It is, of course, a highly unlikely scenario. But to be fair, it would also produce the sort of no-holds-barred, unpredictable environment in which Trump has demonstrated the ability to thrive.

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