Thursday, December 29, 2011

Va. GOP to require loyalty oath in presidential primary


The state Republican Party will require voters to sign a loyalty oath in order to participate in the March 6 presidential primary.

Anyone who wants to vote must sign a form at the polling place pledging to support the eventual Republican nominee for president. Anyone who refuses to sign the pledge will be barred from voting.

During a brief meeting Wednesday at the state Capitol, the State Board of Elections voted 3-0 to approve three forms developed by the election board’s staff to implement the loyalty pledge requested by the state GOP.

The board also held a drawing that determined Texas Rep. Ron Paul will appear first on the primary ballot, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the only other candidate who qualified for the ballot. The state GOP previously announced that Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich did not amass enough valid signatures to qualify.
Read the rest here.

Beyond the obvious, that this is aimed at Ron Paul supporters, I think it says a lot about what the GOP has become. If I had any reservations about my decisions to disaffiliate from the Republican Party, this pretty much confirmed my judgment.  I wonder how well the Mitt Romney loyalty oath is going to go over with the rest of the GOPers.


Eurasleep said...

I long ago left the GOP, but being registered as "unaffiliated" or nothing at all has meant that I cannot vote in the primaries in the states I've lived in. Imagine that: if you don't vote black or white, you are excluded from voting in the primaries. So much for democracy. Now it's about manipulation of the people and forcing the public's hand to get outcomes that the establishment desires, not what We the People want.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Can one cheat, I wonder? Sign the pledge but not keep to it? I would not feel any compunction at all about doing that.

This is a big problem for me, living as I do in Virginia.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

If you are comfortable lying then yea its not a problem. No one will know who you pull the lever for in the voting booth come November except God. Personally I wouldn't dignify them or tarnish my honor by signing such an odious pledge.

sjgmore said...

I support a jesuitical approach to this. "Mental reservation", at least in a Roman Catholic context, has long been excused as a method of hiding the truth without lying. I think of the scene in "A Man for All Seasons" when Thomas Moore asks his daughter what the Oath he is supposed to take actually says, because depending on the words one may be able to take the Oath without jeopardizing his conscience.

In this case, I would argue that "I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president" is a pledge one can make in good conscience because it's pretty non-specific. You're not making a pledge to "vote" for the nominee, just "support" the nominee, which is meaningless, You aren't pledging "no matter what", but simply that it is your intention at the time of taking the pledge.

In fact, in a strictly semantic sense, the sentence has no "truth value" since, at the time of taking the pledge, there is no such referent as "the Republican nominee". That's brushing up against some heavy philosophy of language stuff that I don't care to go into (cf. for a somewhat more in-depth look at the ideas), but the point remains that I think someone can in good conscience make a claim of intent when the pledge itself lacks the semantic content necessary to make it in any sense binding.

Now if it said something like, "I, the undersigned, pledge that I will vote in the coming general election for whosoever the Republican Party will have nominated for president," then the pledge-taker would be dishonest to take it unless he or she really meant it.