If you’re planning to vote in Virginia’s February Republican presidential primary, be prepared to sign an oath swearing your Republican loyalty.
The State Board of Elections on Monday approved a state Republican Party request to require all who apply for a GOP primary ballot first vow in writing that they’ll vote for the party’s presidential nominee next fall.
There’s no practical way to enforce the oath. (AP/WAVY-TV)
This is a good example of what I meant when I said the Virginia GOP has been taken over by extremists and is out of control. The national party can’t hold a candle to the boneheads in the Commonwealth. It becomes really difficult to make people aware of why Democrat ideology is flawed when Republican idiots are flapping their arms and making fools of themselves. Get ready for the open Senate seat from the Old Dominion to cross the aisle…
— John (Average Gay Joe)
RESPONSE (from Dan): I hope to have something to say about this at a later date, but got carried away with the blog news of the day and other obligations. Suffice it to say, this goes to some of the problems I have witnessed in the Virginia GOP, problems which plagued the party in the 1980s which were by and large corrected in the 1990s, but started returning sometime in this decade. When the party learns the lessons of the ’80s and focuses on unifying conservative ideas as it did in the 1990s, it wins. But, lately, we’ve seen the party fail to present an optimistic agenda. I even read that two of the leading Republicans in the state, the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General went around the state in the most recent election, reminding Virginians what the party did in the 1990s when it dominated state politics instead of focusing on what it planned to do in the current decade. More on this anon (I hope).
UPDATE: Reaction to this news is coming in and it ain’t pretty. Democrats are obviously making sport of this, as I would in their place, but they aren’t alone.
That’s amazing. Politicians make and break promises all the time—but apparently they want voters to make a promise and keep it. Hey Virginia GOP: Didn’t you pledge to phase out the car tax completely, oh, say, ten years ago?
Stupid not only for its unenforceability but for the assumption that it will actually deter Democrats so driven by partisan fervor that they’d vote in the Republican primary to sabotage the strongest candidate…
There’s no way to enforce the oath, but that’s no comfort to people (like me) who keep our vows. If this ruling stands, I won’t be able to vote in the Virginia Republican primary. Read my lips: I don’t make vows I don’t keep.
UPDATE: It appears that the conservative publication The American Spectator isn’t please by this either.
What is pretty clear is that the SBE is going to lose the inevitable lawsuit on this matter, and it should. This oath is an unconstitutional infringement on any GOP voter’s right to vote given that it extracts a promise to vote in the general election for candidates unknown and unknowable as of the primary election day. Even if the oath is construed to require simply “loyalty,” rather than an actual vote, it is an affront to private thought and conscience…
This loyalty oath also contradicts Republican principles. It robs the political process of any incentive or competition to nominate the best available candidate acceptable to the widest of Reaganite coalitions. It stipulates an outcome rather than trusting to the wisdom or judgment of individual party members. It gives the party a free pass on producing quality candidates for the voters’ consideration.