Todays WaPo announces the Virginia GOP will have a loyalty oath in place for next years presidential primary. The language will be:
“I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for President.”
RPV Executive Director Charles Judd justified the decision:
“We feel we need the right to say to someone figuratively, ‘If you intend to support the Democrat candidate in the fall general election, you probably shouldn’t help us pick our candidate,’ “
And there, in a nutshell, is the recent history of the Virginia GOP-a reasonable idea carried out badly.
The reasonable idea is having party affiliated folks choose the nominee without the time and travel burdens of a convention or the potential for unreasonable influence by democrats voting in the GOP primary.
Since the GOP is already going to have a convention to choose a senate nominee, I think the GOP should choose its delegates at the State convention. But that is another topic for another time.
The real problem with this solution for a reasonable idea is that it is silly and ridiculous. All that is needed is destructive and they hit the trifecta.
Many years ago I was putting in some volunteer time at the Vienna Jaycee X-mas Tree lot. As we closed up, I commented to my friend BFIV that they certainly had heavy security on their trees, and that short of adding concertina wire and machine gun nests it seemed exceptionally secure. BFIV agreed, and noted it had cost quite a bit to put up the fencing. He then sighed and said it was a heavy price to pay to protect tempted people.
His answer perplexed me. He explained that on public sales projects like this there were honest people, dishonest people, and tempted people. The honest would never dream of taking something that didn’t belong them. The dishonest would just cut through the wire-if their cost benefit ratio warranted it, they would find a way to steal a tree. Then there are the tempted folks, those who would normally give no thought to stealing, but who might succumb to temptation if the trees were left unguarded.
I think the same is true here…those that want to vote GOP will, whether they be party loyalists or democrats who want to affect the outcome. The only people who will be put off by this are those who are not dead set in their intentions. To that end, this plan is silly. It won’t truly do what it is intended to do…and if that is the case, why do it?
If the GOP wants party registration, introduce the legislation. If not, chuck the whole oath concept. Besides, loyalty oaths carry the faint echo of McCarthyism. Such oaths have been tried before by both parties, and never successfully. Gosh, if you have to do it, use a different term, like “Participation Pledge”.
Oh, and remember those folks who are put off by the loyalty oath? That is where it gets ridiculous. These voters, likely independents, are folks you want to attract. These are voters showing an inclination toward the GOP that might blossom into more consistent voting with the GOP…except they are being cut off from participation.
I really do not see how throwing up roadblocks to keep independents from voting in GOP primaries helps grow the party…and growing the party is what needs to be done. Promoting participation in the GOP presidential primary is the constructive course of action-not restricting it.
H’mmmm….dang, maybe they DID hit the trifecta