Loyalty Oath

The Republican party either has a death wish or has been taken over by Democratic saboteurs who have secretly infiltrated its leadership in a vast left-wing conspiracy. I know of no other answers to explain what is happening here in Virginia. That state, my new home, is one of many that have “open primaries,” which means that anyone can vote in either the Republican or the Democratic presidential primaries, even if the voter is not a member of that party. The problem is, supposedly, sometimes Democrats vote with the Republicans, skewing the result.

So Virginia’s Republican leadership has come up with this bright idea: Before anyone is given a ballot in the Republican primary, he or she must sign this loyalty oath:

“I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for President.”

That means that I will not be voting! I am not going to bind my conscience or my vote by making such a promise, even if I end up voting for a Republican. And I reserve the right to vote for a third party candidate if the Republicans nominate someone I oppose.

I suspect this is aimed precisely at keeping away us pro-life voters. (After all, Democrats are not going to be voting in this Republican primary THIS year, since their own race is so highly contested.)

Many of us have said that if the pro-death Giuliani gets nominated, we will not vote Republican. So this prevents us from voting against him.

My fellow Virginians, rise up against this attempt to take away your vote! Talk-shows, bloggers, come to our defense!

UPDATE: Thanks to the public outcry, the Virginia GOP has put the kibosh on the loyalty oath! Thanks for being part of the outcry.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bror Erickson

    I could see how someone would come up with that idea. But is there not more than one candidate in the Republican primary? What happens if the guy you vote for is not the one chosen as candidate. I don’t think that you should then be responsible to vote for a person you didn’t approve of the first time, just because the majority in your party has chosen him.
    I stand behind you Veith!

  • Bror Erickson

    I could see how someone would come up with that idea. But is there not more than one candidate in the Republican primary? What happens if the guy you vote for is not the one chosen as candidate. I don’t think that you should then be responsible to vote for a person you didn’t approve of the first time, just because the majority in your party has chosen him.
    I stand behind you Veith!

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    It is a bad idea but it isn’t necessarily a liberal’s idea to keep pro-lifers away. I actually suspect the opposite. Usually it is the conservatives that you hear complaining about Democratic cross-over.

    A lot of the problems that we have in Virginia with independent candidate spoilers would be solved with run-offs. As a longtime resident I’ve been frustrated many times with moderate/liberal RINOs running and supporting independent candidates in order to sabotage conservatives who legitimately won the party nomination. The most famous was when John Warner helped Marshall Coleman run as an independent against Oliver North in 1996 for U.S. Senate attempting to replace the admitted womanizer of Chuck Robb.

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    It is a bad idea but it isn’t necessarily a liberal’s idea to keep pro-lifers away. I actually suspect the opposite. Usually it is the conservatives that you hear complaining about Democratic cross-over.

    A lot of the problems that we have in Virginia with independent candidate spoilers would be solved with run-offs. As a longtime resident I’ve been frustrated many times with moderate/liberal RINOs running and supporting independent candidates in order to sabotage conservatives who legitimately won the party nomination. The most famous was when John Warner helped Marshall Coleman run as an independent against Oliver North in 1996 for U.S. Senate attempting to replace the admitted womanizer of Chuck Robb.

  • http://thebookbeast.blogspot.com Darren

    I saw this yesterday. I’ve been wondering about whether I could sign it with a mental reservation, like our esteemed President has done with legislation: “I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for President [but if it's a pro-abortionist, I reserve the right to change my mind].”

  • http://thebookbeast.blogspot.com Darren

    I saw this yesterday. I’ve been wondering about whether I could sign it with a mental reservation, like our esteemed President has done with legislation: “I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for President [but if it's a pro-abortionist, I reserve the right to change my mind].”

  • Joe

    Darren – please explain. It is my understanding that President Bush has issued signing statements (not unique to this presidency either) that out line his reservations with certain laws he has signed. That these signing statements are what he has relied on whenever he has been accused of not fully implementing certain law. I am not aware of any secrete mental reservations being relied on.

  • Joe

    Darren – please explain. It is my understanding that President Bush has issued signing statements (not unique to this presidency either) that out line his reservations with certain laws he has signed. That these signing statements are what he has relied on whenever he has been accused of not fully implementing certain law. I am not aware of any secrete mental reservations being relied on.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    “I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws, and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God.”

    Replace Adolf Hitler with Rudy Giuliani and German Reich with Republican Party and yer all set.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    “I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws, and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God.”

    Replace Adolf Hitler with Rudy Giuliani and German Reich with Republican Party and yer all set.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So now they will have no conscientious Republican voters, but they may have unscrupulous voters of either party voting. Nice.

    I support the party’s right to do such a thing, but the wisdom eludes me.

    There are other ways to limit democracy in the primaries that are not so intrusive. If the candidates are approved by the party, I would think that having Democrats vote for a Republican would signal that he was more electable than another Republican. If they choose to vote for a weak Republican on purpose, they can only do this if the party has endorsed the weak Republican as a candidate. And it would take MANY such votes to sway the whole election. If the candidate is really weak, few Republicans will vote for him. How many Democrats really want to switch sides to do this kind of voting?

    We each have one vote. The Democrat who votes for the “wrong Republican” also makes it more likely that the “wrong Democrat” will be in the race. In some elections, that might be a good thing.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    So now they will have no conscientious Republican voters, but they may have unscrupulous voters of either party voting. Nice.

    I support the party’s right to do such a thing, but the wisdom eludes me.

    There are other ways to limit democracy in the primaries that are not so intrusive. If the candidates are approved by the party, I would think that having Democrats vote for a Republican would signal that he was more electable than another Republican. If they choose to vote for a weak Republican on purpose, they can only do this if the party has endorsed the weak Republican as a candidate. And it would take MANY such votes to sway the whole election. If the candidate is really weak, few Republicans will vote for him. How many Democrats really want to switch sides to do this kind of voting?

    We each have one vote. The Democrat who votes for the “wrong Republican” also makes it more likely that the “wrong Democrat” will be in the race. In some elections, that might be a good thing.

  • EconJeff

    I think you are all ignoring the major problem in this scenario. There is no reason a non-Republican should have say in who Republicans want as their candidate, just as non-Democrats should not have a say in who the Democratic candidate is.

    When free people join together to decide who they want to represent them, people who are not part of that group should not get a (binding) voice in that matter.

  • EconJeff

    I think you are all ignoring the major problem in this scenario. There is no reason a non-Republican should have say in who Republicans want as their candidate, just as non-Democrats should not have a say in who the Democratic candidate is.

    When free people join together to decide who they want to represent them, people who are not part of that group should not get a (binding) voice in that matter.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I had somehow missed the “open primary” part. I do see that as the key (I almost said “primary”) evil. But there are still questions as to how best to deal with it.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I had somehow missed the “open primary” part. I do see that as the key (I almost said “primary”) evil. But there are still questions as to how best to deal with it.

  • http://www.lexincord.com demo21

    Here’s something to take into consideration: you can write things in during voting.

    So, here’s what I recommend. Wherever you have to sign this oath, write in a contingency:

    “I will make and follow this oath only as much as the current Republican president has followed his oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States’, which is a much more important oath.”

    If he doesn’t have to follow the rule of law or his oath, or keep his promises for that matter, why should any other Republican follow their oaths or promises?

    Making promises and oaths with no intention to follow through on them are the norm for both factions of the single ruling party.

    Or, it could be even shorter, like on a T-shirt:
    “Sure, I’ll follow my oath. You first.”

  • http://www.lexincord.com demo21

    Here’s something to take into consideration: you can write things in during voting.

    So, here’s what I recommend. Wherever you have to sign this oath, write in a contingency:

    “I will make and follow this oath only as much as the current Republican president has followed his oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States’, which is a much more important oath.”

    If he doesn’t have to follow the rule of law or his oath, or keep his promises for that matter, why should any other Republican follow their oaths or promises?

    Making promises and oaths with no intention to follow through on them are the norm for both factions of the single ruling party.

    Or, it could be even shorter, like on a T-shirt:
    “Sure, I’ll follow my oath. You first.”

  • Matt L

    Is supporting necessarily the same as voting for? Could you support the candidate by voting for someone else who will not commit evil, and thus prevent your neighbor from doing such an evil?

    Yeah it’s not in the spirit of what is written, but you would expect lawmakers to use better legaleze.

  • Matt L

    Is supporting necessarily the same as voting for? Could you support the candidate by voting for someone else who will not commit evil, and thus prevent your neighbor from doing such an evil?

    Yeah it’s not in the spirit of what is written, but you would expect lawmakers to use better legaleze.

  • Joe

    If there is really a problem with cross overs in the open primaries then pass legislation to close them. I think they should do this even if there is no problem. Its a primary the general public should not have any say in it.

  • Joe

    If there is really a problem with cross overs in the open primaries then pass legislation to close them. I think they should do this even if there is no problem. Its a primary the general public should not have any say in it.

  • allen

    I think that if someone were to vote in the primary for, say, Tancredo, then it may rightly be said that he “intends” that Tancredo be the nominee of the party. I’m going to give a pass to the VA Rs on this one. Surely they can’t seriously mean that anyone who votes in the R primary must then vote R in the general election even if his choice for the nomination doesn’t prevail. That’s insane. They just needed to get someone who could have written that pledge thing better. It was worded confusingly. They made a mistake.

  • allen

    I think that if someone were to vote in the primary for, say, Tancredo, then it may rightly be said that he “intends” that Tancredo be the nominee of the party. I’m going to give a pass to the VA Rs on this one. Surely they can’t seriously mean that anyone who votes in the R primary must then vote R in the general election even if his choice for the nomination doesn’t prevail. That’s insane. They just needed to get someone who could have written that pledge thing better. It was worded confusingly. They made a mistake.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    The solution is to eliminate the open primary! I would think that requiring a pledge to vote Republican in the general election no matter what could be legally challenged as a violation of the spirit of that law. But, as I updated, the party just announced that they were abandoning the loyalty oath, so sanity prevails eventually.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    The solution is to eliminate the open primary! I would think that requiring a pledge to vote Republican in the general election no matter what could be legally challenged as a violation of the spirit of that law. But, as I updated, the party just announced that they were abandoning the loyalty oath, so sanity prevails eventually.

  • Carl Vehse

    “… so sanity prevails eventually.”

    Hold that thought until after the GOP convention.

  • Carl Vehse

    “… so sanity prevails eventually.”

    Hold that thought until after the GOP convention.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What a great way to ensure that the GOP selects its presidential candidate on the votes of those who either refuse to think through the issues, or who are just plain lying about their intentions.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What a great way to ensure that the GOP selects its presidential candidate on the votes of those who either refuse to think through the issues, or who are just plain lying about their intentions.


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