Such oaths, which the Republican National Committee employed in the 2016 presidential primary – only to see the last remaining candidates, including Trump, abandon it – aren’t just signs of a party’s weakness; they are also profoundly silly and even un-American.
Yes, we swear plenty of legally enforceable oaths – in court cases, for example, or declarations on tax forms and other legal documents. But oaths binding candidates to support someone who they’ve campaigned against, throwing elbows, mud and other rhetorical barbs at them for months to convince voters the guy was a bum?
Cruz has dodged the question of whether the pledge still holds by insisting he will be the nominee. Though on Friday, in an apparent reference to Trump, Cruz said, “I don’t make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family.”
We all know that Cruz eventually did support Trump’s candidacy and became one of his biggest defenders in the Senate (which was amusing).
But the oath? Nah. The 2016 primary should have been instructive to party leaders that such commitments are transactional at best and unenforceable in fact. Which brings us to the state parties.
They have been long-time players in loyalty oaths, often attempting to bind voters to the party’s eventual nominees. While such pledges are even sillier and utterly unenforceable, that hasn’t stopped new ones from cropping up this year. Consider the case of Florida‘s pledge:
Christian Ziegler, the chairman of the Florida GOP, said in an email that the loyalty pledge is an effort to “ensure maximum unity” headed into the 2024 general election.
“The days of outlier party grifters – such as Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – using Republican Party resources to secure a title and then weaponize that title against our own team must end,” Ziegler said, referring to two former House members, who are among Trump’s most vocal GOP critics.
“Contested primaries are part of the process,” he said, “but we must always remember that the Democrats are the true threat to the America we love and we must be unified to defeat every single one of them.”
The true threat to America is noxious oaths that bind us to men rather than pledges or oaths that bind individuals to uphold the law or tell the truth.
You know, like the only oath that should ever matter for a presidential candidate: the one the Constitution requires:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Every other partisan oath is legally dubious, intellectually suspect and, in the end, not worth the paper it’s printed on.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Great America News Desk. It first appeared in American Liberty News.