Virginia GOP Demands Loyalty Oath


Apparently worried that independents and Democrats will cross over to vote for a certain Texas congressman in the state's open primary, the Virginia GOP is requiring voters to sign a pledge of loyalty before they'll be allowed to vote. The pledge says that in exchange to be being permitted to vote in the primary, the voter promises to support whomever the GOP ends up nominating for president.

The pledge isn't legally enforceable, of course. It's also insulting. Only the most slavish party loyalist would commit a year in advance to voting for any one of the GOP's seven candidates, no matter what happens between now and then, solely because of the (R) in front of his name.

Given the Virginia GOP's legislative record over the last several years, it also isn't exactly clear to what principles voters would be pledging their loyalty, other than contempt for gay people.

They should probably be more concerned about requiring elected Virginia Republicans to pledge an oath to a rudimentary belief in limited government.

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  1. Not the act of a confident party.

  2. Very gross, very very gross.

  3. They should probably be more concerned about requiring its elected officials to pledge an oath to some basic principles of limited government.

    Amen. I guess the oaths they swear to uphold and defend the constitution aren’t enough. (I guess to them, Bibles are for thumping in front of gullible voters, not for swearing genuine oaths upon.)

  4. Don’t they realize how obvious this is, and how scared it makes them look? Losers.

  5. “I [undersigned] pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”

    I did intend to support the Republican Party nominee, back when I thought it would be RON PAUL.

  6. The Virginia GOP has been it’s own worst enemy for as long as I’ve been aware of state politics (25 years or so). They should consider it an embarrassment just how successful non-Dixiecrat Democrats have been in all parts of this state, not just in NoVa, Richmond, and Coal Workers Union country. My pet theory is that the Tidewater influence (read: Pat Robertson, et al) has been inadvertantly poisoning their well with the voters all along.

  7. seriously, what a bunch of turds.

    They’re going to have some success (although maybe not measurable) because they probably won’t TELL people that it’s not legally enforceable.

  8. blast the “remember me” button

  9. Can we start a betting pool regarding at what time the first refusenik voter gets tasered?

  10. Don’t they realize how obvious this is, and how scared it makes them look?

    A) Yes, but they don’t care because they are better than we are.

    b) No, and why should they, because they are better than we are.

    Take your pick.

  11. Virginia has an open primary by design. If you don’t want Dems or Inds voting in your primary, get the rules changed.

  12. It’s things like this that make me so proud to call Virginia my home. *wipes tear away*

    This is basically a “fuck you” to independents who don’t just vote along party lines. Some of us are willing to support the Republican nominee, but only if it isn’t Fascist McGiuliani. We might be willing to vote for Obama to keep him out of office. Whatever, I will sign their damned paper with no intent of following through.

    It’s like that time in college where my parents wanted to pay me to vote for Bush, but instead I took the money and voted for Harry Browne.

  13. Is this Russia? This isn’t Russia, is it?
    I didn’t think so. No, the thing is, do you want to be loyal to the GOP?

    Wow, Who’d of thought they’d feel so threatened as to resort to such brazen tactics. Then again I guess the Virginia GOP was never shy about exposing it graft

  14. It’s like that time in college where my parents wanted to pay me to vote for Bush, but instead I took the money and voted for Harry Browne.

    Are your parents stupid Dave? Why didn’t they just have you sign an absentee ballot?

  15. Can I infer this to mean that the Virginia GOP is more concerned with acquiring and maintaining power than it is with actual effective government?

    Whoever thought of this maneuver is a cowardly bastard, that’s for sure.

  16. Great goddamn in the morning. What in the hell is going on in my beloved adopted state, the home of Jefferson, Washington and Madison?

    I wonder if I can sign the pledge as “Daffy Duck” or “Alred E. Neuman” and get away with it?

  17. A) Yes, but they don’t care because they are better than we are.

    b) No, and why should they, because they are better dumber than we are.

    I like my version better. I pick b).

  18. I care not what Virginia thinks or does.

  19. The GOP has been doing this whenever they feel threatened. It did it during the 2000 primary when it thought that the Dems were going to come in and mess it up for little Georgie. Virginia doesn’t register by party affiliation and has an open primary. The GOP could change these things but prefers to make a fool of itself this way.

  20. Stories like this make my head hurt.

  21. The last time I was this surprised was when I found out Duncan Hunter was a woman.

  22. He was too, you boys.

    I once installed two-way mirrors at his pad in Brentwood, and he come to the door in a dress.


  24. i am a Virginia voter. I am looking forward to making a couple of additions and corrections to my pledge declaration just to let the GOP know my intentions precisely. It might cause a scene so I hope Santa brings me a taser resistant shirt for the Holidays.

  25. A true Republican would tell them to shove that pledge up their ass.

  26. Oaths in politics are so useful. Look at the one sworn by just about everyone to uphold the Constitution.

  27. “””Oaths in politics are so useful.”””

    I once took one to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    I never figured out to legally defend the Constitution from a domestic enemy.

  28. This just reinforces to me the fact that the State should have no place in the primary process. The parties should be in charge of running their own primary elections, so they can nominate the candidate of their choice however they see fit.

    If the “club” known as the GOP wants a loyalty oath? Fine. If they demand $5000 a head for a say in who they back on the ballot? Fine. If they want to say “we will choose the name of our candidate out of a hat”, fine.

    They’re a private organization and can do whatever dumb thing they want to do. BUT, the State should have no part in managing/funding/etc., their primary election polltaking. šŸ™‚

  29. Derek: Would we get something more akin to parliament in your scenario? IS that a good thing in your opinion?

  30. Derek — the political parties should have no place in the primary process. They should have a list of candidates, who may or may not choose to list a party affiliation after their name on the ballot, and the top two candidates regardless of party advance to the general election.

    This would prevent the polarization that occurs, where the winning candidates have little crossover appeal for voters from the other parties. You’d get more diversity — more moderates, more libertarians, etc.

  31. Of course, the prospective voter, when a Loyalty Oath is demanded could raise his hand and say:

    “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all.”

  32. We shouldn’t have primary elections at all. If parties want to hold their own, privately funded primaries, then fine. But to do it at taxpayer expense borders on obscene.

    BTW, the Virginia GOP is one of the most pathetic operations I’ve ever seen. If the Libertarian Party had more of a presence in the Old Dominion, I’d undoubtedly vote that way.

  33. Disgusting. I’m in PA where we have to declare a party to vote in the primary. This loyalty oath story puts me over the edge with fear/rage. I will change my party from undeclared to republican to vote for Paul.

    Virginia republicans are lame

  34. Sneak preview of Virginia Republicans taking the loyalty oath:
    loyalty oath

  35. According to WaPo, the text of the oath is:

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

    Ron Paul supporters can honestly sign that if they intend to support Ron Paul after he’s nominated.

    It’s not as bad as, say, the Hitler Loyalty Oath … but it sure is stupid.

  36. drink for Godwin, but agares does, through hyperbole, draw an amusing parallel!

    the last act of a desperate [party] or the first act of Henry V. You decide!

  37. I wish a zombie Harry F. Byrd* could come back and stop them from doing this.

    *Harry F. Byrd was basically the “Boss” of all Virginia politics from the 1920s to the late 60s. Hes the reason we have state and local elections on off years (to supress voter turnout) and open primaries (so he could effectively decide the nominee of each party).

  38. We have a loyalty oath that everyone needs to sign because we can not let unloyal people vote. We’ll let everyone sign except Major Major Major Major. That bastard isn’t loyal.

  39. Cesar:

    Interesting you should mention Harry Byrd. His son, Harry F. Byrd, Jr., bolted the Democratic party in 1970 because the party demanded that all *candidates* in that year’s senatorial primary commit themselves to support all the nominees of the party, including the presidential candidate in 1972. (The Democratic party had less gall than this year’s Republican party, since it never occurred to the Democrats to demand a loyalty oath of *voters* in the primary.) Byrd said this was outrageous, since he had no way of knowing who the candidate of the party would be, and ran as an independent, winning the election with 54% of the vote.

  40. and the top two candidates regardless of party advance to the general election. This would prevent the polarization that occurs, where the winning candidates have little crossover appeal for voters from the other parties. You’d get more diversity

    I believe such “open primary” stuff has the opposite effect: attracting more interchangeably wishy-washy, middlebrow authoritarian politicians who try to appeal to the lowest common voter. A fight for the (nonexistent) center. Fewer Ron Pauls and Mike Gravels – more Hillarys and Romneys and Rudys and Liebermans.

  41. Am I gthe only one here who thinks this makes sense and is no big deal? It’s pretty much the purpose of a political party, or of any group decision. You get a say in the choice in return for making everyone else’s say meaningful — you commit to the process.

  42. VM,


    O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
    The brightest heaven of invention,
    A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
    And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
    Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
    Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
    Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
    Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
    The flat unraised spirits that have dared
    On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
    So great an object: can this cockpit hold
    The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
    Within this wooden O the very casques
    That did affright the air at Agincourt?
    O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
    Attest in little place a million;
    And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
    On your imaginary forces work.
    Suppose within the girdle of these walls
    Are now confined two mighty monarchies,
    Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
    The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:
    Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
    Into a thousand parts divide on man,
    And make imaginary puissance;
    Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
    Printing their proud hoofs i’ the receiving earth;
    For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
    Carry them here and there; jumping o’er times,
    Turning the accomplishment of many years
    Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
    Admit me Chorus to this history;
    Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
    Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

  43. Here in California, I’ve seen a lesser shadow of the same thing. My local county GOP proudly says “we won’t endorse any candidates, but we will ALL support the eventual nominee.” I’m not sure if they’re directing that at the Paul supporters, or the social conservative faction that hates Giuliani.

  44. To respond to some replies. šŸ™‚

    @prolefeed: Primaries are about “parties choosing who represent their party in the general election”, so no, the parties should be 100% in charge of their individual primary. They’re a private organization and who they want to put forward as a candidate is completely up to them, and they should make that decision at their own expense (just as ChrisO points out). Now, what you’re talking about would be MUCH better solved by simply implementing an instant run-off type elections system at the General Election, so that you could rank your candidates in order of preference, etc., etc. But every party should have the right to be selected from on Election Day.

    @gaijin: In the presidential election? No, you’d still end up with a single president, with each party deciding ‘who they nominate for their party’s ticket’, they’d just be doing so at their own expense instead of at mine and yours. Nothing in that process would change how congress is actually elected, so there’s no reason to believe that the crappy two-party system we currently have would still dominate.

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