“Unethical Presidential Candidates Sunday” (EXTENDED): Hillary’s New Public Corruption Plan? If They Won’t Willingly Vote For Her After They Learn What She’s Like, Make Them promise To Vote For Her No Matter What They Learn

Loyalty Oath

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘ via Mediaite: Attendees at a Hillary Clinton campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, were asked to sign a pledge promising to vote for the candidate before they were allowed into the venue.

Yes, this is basically a loyalty oath. Loyalty is the most confounding of ethical values, because it so frequently leads to unethical resolutions of ethics conflicts, when loyalty requires the rejection of other ethical values that should be given priority. Many unethical organizations and leaders insist on loyalty even if they will disdain honesty, integrity, responsibility, accountability, fairness and decency. Used like this, loyalty becomes a virtue that enables unethical conduct. A mother refuses to report her murderous son. A wife abets her raping husband (Hello, Camille Cosby!) Another wife supports her husbands lies about his adultery. (Now who could this be?) Blind loyalty directs Southerners to insist that their forebears weren’t rebelling in support of slavery, African-Americans to insist that a black President is a great President, and patriots to spit “Disloyal!” at principled protesters of national policies abroad.

Obviously, loyalty is very useful to leaders who are untrustworthy or corrupt. They seek support out of quid quo pro transactions that insist, “You owe me! I was there for you, so you must be there for me, no matter what happens,” “no matter what happens” meaning “no matter what awful things I do and what unsavory things you learn about me.” It isn’t patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson famously said, but loyalty. Loyalty was the main bulwark of power and survival for Don Corleone, Colonel Jessup (“A Few Good Men”), Auric Goldfinger,  Darth Vader…and in the real world, Richard Nixon, Mao, Jesse James, Bill Clinton…and obviously, Hillary.

How desperate and how undemocratic to the core to make attendees to an event sign a pledge to vote for her more than a year before the election! This is how dictators and gang leaders behave, not those who believe in fair competition, election to office on the merits, and a functional democracy. A confident, deserving, ethical  candidate for office doesn’t use loyalty oaths and pledges, and doesn’t need them. Hillary does need them, though.

Vote for me, not because I’ve done anything to suggest I’ll be good at the job, but because you’re loyal to the party…your gender…my husband. Pledge now, and know that if you don’t vote for me when the time comes, it’s you who are untrustworthy!

And this comes from a woman who signed a pledge that her foundation wouldn’t solicit contributions from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State…..and did anyway.

38 thoughts on ““Unethical Presidential Candidates Sunday” (EXTENDED): Hillary’s New Public Corruption Plan? If They Won’t Willingly Vote For Her After They Learn What She’s Like, Make Them promise To Vote For Her No Matter What They Learn

  1. I find it difficult to believe it was required to enter the event. In fact, one student supporting Bernie Sanders didn’t seem to have trouble getting in. We had similar pledge cards when I worked for the Obama campaign, and we certainly knew the pledge was meaningless, but it was a way of recruiting volunteers. I also want to emphasize that we did not escort them to the polls on election day and make sure they honored their pledge. I would not be surprised if a lot of the candidates have similar “pledge” cards, at the risk of triggering the “everybody does it” rationalization.

    • How is a pledge to vote for a candidate necessary for a volunteer? Are signatories told they are unenforceable? If a pledge isn’t a pledge, what’s the point?

      Unethical on its face. Deceptive, coercive, desperate, wrong. Indefensible, and you did give an everybody does it rationalization.

    • You should be ashamed of yourself. You knew it was meaningless (??) and was an unethical way of getting names and addresses for volunteers and fund raising? Thanks for making it so clear to why the Obama administration has been so unethical for so long. And thanks also for making ever clearer that our voters are morons. Who in the world would sign such a thing — for any candidate? The candidates are supposed to be courting my vote: I am not supposed to have to give them one damn thing if I simply want to hear their views. I simply can’t believe this.

  2. It illustrates that there exist people and groups- some of those groups quite large- that consider pledges, trust and values to be transitory mouthings at best. No one who requests such things or is willing to do so on a basis of disregard should ever enjoy a modicum of public trust.

    • We’re surrounded by evidence of how seriously they do take pledges of blind loyalty, tangible or implied. Obama was elected twice, and hillary is still a viable candidate.

  3. I can’t imagine even Trump requiring people that volunteer to work for him to sign a pledge to vote for him. He’d probably laugh if a staffer suggested it to him and say “I don’t care who they vote for. If they work for free, good for me!”

  4. Loyalty oaths.
    Is the penalty for not being loyal spelled out or implied? If a loyalty oath is simply understood to be meaningless why have it? To recruit volunteers all you need is a sign up sheet. There must be some meaning beyond recruitment. For an honest person a loyalty oath is binding.

  5. Why on earth would you volunteer to work for someone if you didn’t intend to vote for them? When I said the pledge was meaningless it was in terms of being totally unenforceable. I would be willing to bet that many people did not fill out the form at all and were admitted to the event.

    It would make no sense to turn away people if they did not wish to pledge a vote or volunteer. The vote is assumed if you’re willing to work for the candidate, and if you’re not, the event is meant to convince you. If you read that they were not allowed to leave the event until they made the pledge then I will be concerned.

    The form is meant to be an affirmation of your support and your willingness to participate based on that support and nothing more. Sheesh. The only articles I could find about this were, in my opinion, biased. I would love to find something more objective, so I could know what really happened, because I don’t think we know from the information we have.

    • Why on earth would you volunteer to work for someone if you didn’t intend to vote for them?

      Intending to vote for them and pledging to vote for them are not the same at all. A future intention a declaration of such is simply a statement of fact. It isn’t binding ethically, practically, or actually: you can always change your mind. A pledge is a promise, not a statement. A promise creates an ethical and moral obligation—not a legal obligation, but this is an ethics blog—to meet the terms of the promise. It is an equivalent of swearing to do something, the old “oath” concept. Making someone promise to vote for a candidate as part of the volunteer process is unethical exploitation. The volunteering has value: the volunteer is the one who should get something from the candidate, not be required to give something else.

    • I think of several reasons. #1 Get close to a celebrity. #2 Put it on your application that you worked for a political candidate. Might get you in a university you want to attend. #3 Get access to some attractive women if you’re a guy and vice versa.

  6. First of all, the Clinton campaign has already stated that committing to vote for Hillary was not required to attend the event. I’m pretty sure it’s not required to volunteer, either. The sources on this story were pretty dicey, to say the least

    If you look at the form, it would be pretty easy to leave the signature at the top blank and still fill out the volunteer section. Believe me, as someone who has worked on a campaign, you do not turn away someone who wants to work for you candidate. I can also pretty confidently state that no one who actually signed it will lose a night’s sleep if they change their mind and vote for Donald. Although they should for a million other reasons.


  7. There’s no there there. Pledging was not required to attend the event or to volunteer. The sources were questionable at best. There are valid reasons to question Hillary’s ethics, but I think your hatred is getting the best of you on this one.

    • Any pledge to vote for a candidate before an election is per se unethical, undemocratic, irresponsible, and an intentional circumvention of democratic principles as well as a rejection of the core ideals of an informed electorate and responsive and accountable candidates.

      I think that about covers what happened here.

      I have no hatred for Hillary at all. I simply understand what she is, how she operates, what the American Presidency requires in the way of character, and why she can’t possibly provide them. I view it my duty to do what I can to inform those who are not as well informed as I am, or as attentive, or as capable of seeing through her machinations.

      I do have contempt from those who are aware of her untrustworthy character, and would still risk the well being of the nation by giving her power that she is certain to abuse.

        • That is precisely what I’m driving at. It’s laughable that anyone would suggest there’s a system of ethics to question. Hell, even thieves have “honor among thieves”, and there are some crimes that even prisoners won’t forgive. I wholeheartedly believe that there is nothing the Clintons wouldn’t do to advance the clinton cause. I really mean nothing.

          • I see that you and I were thinking much the same things at basically the same time on the same day. (I commented similarly in another T. Regina related thread.) Joe, it is always encouraging to me when I can confirm that you and I are thinking alike.

            • It’s quantum entanglement, or Einstein’s “spukhafte Fernwirkung”, brother. I believe good people are connected that way. It’s like the universe’s immune response to progressivism. 🙂

  8. First it was unethical because it was required to enter the event. Then it was unethical because it was required to volunteer. Both turned out to be lies, so now it is unethical to ask to pledge at all. Which is not unethical if it is voluntary, as it was. As abhorrent as it is to you all, there are many many people who would have no trouble signing that pledge and following through. Those who do have trouble don’t have to sign it at all, and there are no consequences for not doing so.

    • No, Jan. The post is consistent and clear. It was first and only, about the unethical quality of requiring a potential voter to sign any loyalty oath at all, and that’s what this is. There’s nothing objecting to the quid pro quo…the post is about the document itself: Quote:

      Vote for me, not because I’ve done anything to suggest I’ll be good at the job, but because you’re loyal to the party…your gender…my husband. Pledge now, and know that if you don’t vote for me when the time comes, it’s you who are untrustworthy!

  9. While not the same thing, I thought that the Republican National Party drifted into the same troubled ethical waters when it demanded that any candidate wanting to appear on the debates and the primaries had to sign a pledge that such candidate would support the eventual Republican nominee and not form a third-party candidacy (which was so clearly directed at Trump). It seemed to me that the Trump has so completely terrified the Republicans that they don’t know what to do with him.


    • That last sentence is sure true. But as you recall, I’d like to see the GOP throw Trump out of the race and let him run as a 3rd part candidate or not at all. The pledge isn’t unreasonable: it says, “If you are going to use our party and name as platform to run as President, you have to be part of the party, support the party, and agree to accept the results.”

          • It’s not legally enforceable at all. He’s an unethical creep, but Americans still care about keeping promises that are phrased as pledges. Ask George H.W Bush.

            Or Yul Brenner in The Magnificent 7:

            Chris: You forget one thing. We took a contract.

            Vin: It’s sure not the kind any court would enforce.

            Chris: That’s just the kind you’ve got to keep.

            • Never run across a more unethical jerk. Thus, I predict we have, AT BEST, a 50-50 shot at him honoring that pledge. Assuming he sees something in it for him.

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