Monday, December 3, 2007

GOP drops loyalty-oath plan

In Virginia we don’t register by party, consequently anyone, even Democrats can vote in our primary elections. There are many in the GOP concerned about interference from outside the party. In order to stop what they saw as a problem the party wrote a loyalty oath. In effect saying:

"If someone wishes to participate they must sign the pledge. Please remind people that this is a statement of intent. People are free to change their minds after the primary without breaking the pledge. But to ensure that Republicans are picking the Republican nominee, we have the pledge to deter those who are voting in our process that have no plans whatsoever to support our nominee in the fall."

On Friday, however, Virginia’s Republican Party wisely decided to abandon the loyalty pledge. I for one am glad the party changed its mind. It seems to me that raiding is not a problem.

Do that many Democrats vote in our primaries? I doubt they do. Sure there may be some Democrats that raid our primaries to cause mischief, but I think their numbers are insignificant, and those that are intent on voting in our primaries aren’t going to be stopped by a loyalty pledge.

The other problem I had with the pledge is that even though it is only a statement of intent, and no one is really bound by it, I feel it is an obstacle to independent voter turnout for the Republican primaries.

We should welcome independents voting in our primaries for a couple reasons. First, we need independent votes to win General elections. Gone are the days, if there ever were such days, when we could win with just Republican votes. Independents voters participating in our primaries will help us nominate stronger candidates.

Our statewide candidates will need to win many independent votes to win in the General Election. The loyalty pledge keeps independents away from voting Republican in the primaries, and probably the general election as well.

Good riddance to the loyalty pledge.

No comments: