National Party Ethics: A Pledge Is A Start, GOP, But It’s Not Enough…

In a rare burst of semi-competence, Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said today that any candidate who wants to take part in the GOP’s first primary debate in Milwaukee later must sign a pledge promising to support whoever wins the nomination.

The measure is obviously aimed at presumed Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has already signaled that he believes the 2024 GOP nomination is his by right. Trump is a threat to run as a third party candidate if Republican voters come to their senses and support a less divisive candidate before next year’s national convention.

In fact, he’s a threat to do that with or without having signed such a pledge. If his status as a human ticking time bomb is to be minimized, the party must also:

  • Make such a pledge also a requirement to run in any of the GOP primaries, and
  • Require it for Trump to be entered into nomination at the 2024 Convention, and,
  • To make the pledge on video, stating that it is being made to the American people as well as the party.

Finally, the Republican Party must bite the metaphorical bullet and arrange to have all primaries include a run-off between the top two candidates. In any herd of aspiring candidates, Trump will end up in front easily. In a two candidate race with a less toxic adversary, he’ll lose.

We are about to see how seriously the Republican Party takes its obligation to do what is in the  best interests of the United States of America.

31 thoughts on “National Party Ethics: A Pledge Is A Start, GOP, But It’s Not Enough…

  1. Hmmm. A runoff, that would be an interesting idea — they’d have to start right now to gather support for such a thing, though.

    I think the main goal / need for the GOP right now is to run ‘good’ candidates. Trump? I’ll say not a ‘good’ candidate. In 2016 necessary I think. Perhaps needed in 2020 — but if we can get through Biden’s term, it ought to be an illustrative lesson to be learned. 2024 definitely not.

    Right now I lean towards DeSantis, but I could possibly be persuaded to Scott or Noem, perhaps someone else. But I think Trump would be the wrong candidate at the wrong time. Perhaps most of all, I want to win — I do think winning with Trump is a very uphill battle.

  2. Not following you here:

    Require it to be entered into nomination at the 2024 Convention

    What did you mean by this?

    To me, this is a bridge too far:

    “ Finally, the Republican Party must bite the metaphorical bullet and arrange to have all primaries include a run-off between the top two candidates.”

    As you suggest, this is clearly an anti-Trump measure.

    I have complained about the Democratic Party tactics that have basically fixed the primary system to get the candidate it wanted after Obama upset Clinton’s nomination in 2008. She was promised 2016 and Joe had to step aside, but got promised 2020.

    And, Bernie will NEVER win, but he is more useful idiot than Nader was.

    A better tactic: the party should actively vet people so that we don’t have 18 people vying for the nomination. Such expansive fields hardly help identify good candidates in the early rounds of debates.

    Try to keep the field small from the outset. 6-8 good candidates. For lesser aspirants, the party can support them as cabinet members, other campaigns.

    A field of Trump, Cruz, Rubio (hopefully, he has gotten better in the last 6 years), Haley, De Santis, and Noem would be a pretty decent field. Fine, throw in pence because he probably feels entitled; even put Liz Cheney in there so people who were deprived of the opportunity to vote against her last time will have that pleasure.


    • Didn’t McCarthy kind of pop up out of nowhere in 1972? My recollection is that after him, the Democrats started making changes to the nominating process to ensure that didn’t happen again (I am thinking superdelegates). The last few races, they almost openly stack the deck to ensure that the ‘right’ candidate gets nominated — the hell with those stupid, ignorant voters. What could they possibly know?

      • I think 1972 the candidate was George McGovern, not McCarthy. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Democrats started making changes then after the second biggest defeat either political party ever suffered in a general election. Did Mondale slip through, or was he just a sacrificial lamb for a party that had to run someone who they knew was going to get buried? Michael Dukakis was also at best a compromise candidate after Gary Hart’s affair with Donna Rice was exposed.

        I don’t think a runoff in every primary is either a good or a fair idea. Think about how it looks if victories for the runner-up start piling up. Think about how it looks if Trump keeps ending up at the head of the field, only to be beaten in an obvious “do-over.” His hardcore supporters, of which there are still very many, are never going to go for that, and I think a lot of fair-minded people will not go for that obvious manipulation keep one person out. Now, if they put a rule in place that if no one wins a majority there has to be a runoff, that might be a little more palatable. Then I also want to put a rule in place that if so many primaries pass without the candidate garnering a certain amount of support, that candidate is dropped, to prevent a crowded field that will dissipate party strength.

        However, I think the party has to somehow deal directly with the big orange elephant in the room. Trump believes he is entitled to a second term and that he was screwed in 2020. He is only half right. It is not his fault that China unleashed a deadly virus on the world. It is not his fault that every blue governor in the nation joint forces to crash the economy. It is not his fault that one heavy-handed police officer’s ultimately fatal conduct towards a lifetime petty criminal who was resisting arrest and high as a kite became the catalyst for the real insurrection of the past 3 years. However, it is his fault that he will not listen to advice he does not like and has a tendency to dismiss anyone who will not back him. It is his fault that he cannot reign in his narcissistic tendencies. It is his fault that he has cast himself in the role of someone who cannot accept a loss for the good of the nation, which even Nixon did when he had much better grounds to challenge some of the 1960 results.

        Like it or not though, he’s not going away. He’s still in far better shape than Biden or any of the other geriatric ward denizens who populate the upper echelon of the Democratic Party. Prosecutors may posture and threaten, but in the end, they are not going to be able to come up with a real indictment. If they were, they would have done so by now. Even The bluest prosecutor in The bluest state who is near retirement and fully vested so no career consequences can fall on him or her is not willing to risk the severe political fallout that would result from indicting and trying to convict a former president. Make no mistake of it, there would be fallout, and it would be very consequential fallout. It might not be that day, and it might not even be that cycle, but the Democratic Party would dread the day that the political cycle finally didn’t go their way, as it ultimately must, because they would be faced with a crop of ruthless Republican officials looking to take a whole bunch of blue scalps, and none of them are eager to play Yellow Hand (Cheyenne war chief killed and scalped by Buffalo Bill Cody, who famously yelled “the first scalp for Custer!” afterwards). However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

        The best way forward would be to convince Trump that his moment has passed and that it is time for him to support the next generation for the good of the nation. If they can’t do that, however, then they need to co-opt him into joining forces with whoever is the strongest other candidate, with the promise that if he wins, he will only serve the one term since that’s all he would have gotten if he’d won in 2020. Campaigning in 2024 is easy. The rhetoric almost writes itself. In fact, I think we might want to go from MAGA to MAFA, Make America First Again, to emphasize how the Democratic party has placed America dead last in priorities.

        • “Think about how it looks if victories for the runner-up start piling up.”
          It will look like what it is: a niche candidate with blinders supporters coming out ahead when the majority is fractured over multiple opponents. You can’t worry about what idiots think. If a candidate loses a head-to-head race, that says which is the stronger candidate, and that the ranking when the field was inflated was an illusion.

          It is the duty of each party to present a qualified, responsible candidate for President to the American public. Reducing distortions to the process is part of that duty.

          McGovern didn’t come out of the blue. He has swooped down to grab Bobby Kennedy’s voters after RFK was assassinated, thus blocking Gene McCarthy from going head to head with Humphrey and letting the anti-LBJ/Vietnam vote prevail. He then built on that foundation to take the Dems’ nomination in ’72. He was a ridiculous candidate; he sounded like Liberace, and he ran a terrible campaign.

          • “You can’t worry about what idiots think.”

            With all due respect, Jack, you have to if those idiots are a big enough voting block to be a problem. Trump commands about 1/3 the GOP vote, and the rest of the party can’t win without it.

            Again, with all due respect, this talk of how both parties have the duty to put forth qualified candidates sounds like what you were saying in 2016 before Trump was nominated the first time out. It’s true, and it would be better if we all followed it, but I think this nation and the two parties moved past that. If the Democratic party believed what you said, the last four serious candidates last time out would not have been a law professor who lied about her ethnicity, a nanny stater, a communist, and Biden.

            The GOP can either pay Trump off or go down in flames. Their choice

    • It’s an anti-Trump measure, it’s also an anti-any extreme candidate with a set 30% voting block who will win in a large field but won’t win head to head with a better candidate.

      Just as the Party could have declared Trump a non-party member and ineligible for the 2016 debates and primaries, they can set certain standards for the ultimate nominee. And should. Requiring any nominee to have been committed to supporting the party is hardly unreasonable.

      • And, I don’t disagree with you on your first and third points. Those are fair requirements.

        I did not understand what you meant by your second point, and I think your fourth point was problematic.


      • I would be happy if the GOP held the winner to his or her promises. Candidates who like to reside in the swamp because they enjoy being part of the leisure class – Romney, Cheney, Bush, Kinzinger and a host of others.

        Trump has a following of 30% or so because he did what he promised. We have another 30% or so who will vote for anyone promising larger government because their incomes are tied to our 5 trillion dollar federal budget ( this includes state and municipal workers whose salaries are supplemented by revenue sharing). The rest make up the it doesn’t make any difference to me types and those who want promises kept but without the drama.

        Unfortunately, we will probably never get a plurality of opinion on any candidate.

        • First paragraph, last sentence should end with – should be barred from receiving GOP funding to win their primaries.

          Got a little ahead of myself.

  3. Trump could sign any and every pledge in his own blood on live TV but it wouldn’t matter. If he loses, his ego will not be able to handle it, he will run in the general just to kneecap whoever took the nomination.
    Once you dance w the devil…

        • LOL!
          I like to think I have a reasonably good imagination, but I cannot imagine Trump losing the Republican nomination and then gracefully conceding, admitting he lost fair and square, then either retiring to Mar A Lago or spending autumn 2024 campaigning for the nominee. (Especially if the nominee is De Santis, who Don will need to out-alpha-male to protect his ego and image).
          And it doesn’t matter what pledge he signs or whatever terms he agrees to: when has this ever mattered to him?
          The Republicans most likely have 3 options in 2024: Trump somehow wins the general; Trump loses the general; the Republican nominee loses the general when Trump siphons off enough votes to sabotage the nominee.
          But predicting political outcomes this far in advance is just talk, there is always a chance things change and unforeseen events intercede.

      • It seems like Trump currently has a lock on say 40% of GOP voters. Even if he were to lose the nomination and only retain a half or a quarter of that, it would be enough to punish the Republican party and the Republican candidate who dared to take what belonged to him (meaning if he ran in the the general as an independent).
        It wouldn’t be enough to win, but it would be enough to keep him in the headlines for the Fall (the media needs this maybe even more than he does), and if the Republicans lose because of this he really wouldn’t care, as 1) he has zero loyalty to the Republican party, except as a vessel for his ambitions; and 2) he can still blather on about how he would have won if the Republicans hadn’t been foolish enough to deny him the nomination.
        I swear I’m not trying to troll or be contrary, and of course I’m just a random guy on the Internet w zero expertise, but I just think if the plan is to try to tame Trump and make him agree to put the party above his moods and whims, there is zero evidence this is possible.
        Would you sign any kind of agreement with Donald Trump and then rest easy knowing his word is bond? Cmon!

  4. I hope they come up with a reasonable candidate. The Dems won’t and the country can’t stand another four years of a Dem administration. Certainly Mrs. OB and my savings can’t.

  5. I agree that a Trump victory is unlikely, perhaps impossible, but the GOP can field a successful presidential candidate ONLY if they acknowledge and pledge to deal forthrightly with the core conservative issues that Trump brought to the forefront and other concerns that Trump never got around to dealing with, like reining in the federal bureaucracy starting with the DOJ.

    Of course, the burden is on the GOP electorate to vote wisely in the primaries, but eliminating the lightweights will see Haley, Noem and even Pence leaving the race early. If the warmongering Halliburton neocons and RINOs carry the primaries and the convention then authentic conservatives will, I fear, stay home on election day. (Or vote for a third-party candidate if Trump takes that route.) If my wish comes true, Trump will help define the issues in the campaign, then enthusiastically endorse a strong conservative contender and accept his gold watch before retiring to Mira Largo to play golf, but I fear that won’t happen.

    It doesn’t matter which party is in charge if all they rule over is ashes and smoking ruins. The RINOs and neocons might slow down the rate of decay of the country, but the end result is the same. Another decade with either the Dems or the “managed decline” Republicans in charge will result in there being very little liberty left to conserve. I supported Cruz in the 2016 primary because he seemed to be the most authentic conservative in the race. Right now, I am most impressed with DeSantis, but it’s too early to know for sure.

  6. The Republican party is in a very bad position relative to the 2024 elections. The Republican establishment will need to fight a four-front war against the media, Trump, Trump supporters, and the Democrats. While the media will attack all Republicans, they will hope that Trump wins the nomination or probably work to encourage him to run third-party. And a Trump third-party run will guarantee 4-more-years for the Democrats.

    The pledge is the wrong approach. If anything, it is counterproductive and may well encourage Trump to run as a third party. By announcing the pledge requirement, the party has lost the first skirmish with Trump and his supporters since it is designed to thwart Trump’s options going forward. It can Ill afford to lose many more battles. If the party chooses to battle Trump it will lose. If the party fights him, he will dig in his heels and rally his supporters. The only way the Republicans can improve their chances for success in 2024 is to co-opt Trump, not fight him.

    The party/candidates need to adopt the platform Trump used to win in 2016. The party needs to acknowledge that the media, Democrats, and government complex treated Trump, his supporters, and America immorally, and unethically, damaging Trump’s Presidency and the country. They need to acknowledge that Trump was even let down by fellow republicans.

    The party needs to push the Reagan question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”. The party needs to herald Trump’s accomplishments but stress JFK’s words of the need to “pass the torch to a new generation” and a new president to implement our principles over the next eight years, not four.

    The Republican candidate will ideally be an inspirational leader. The candidate needs to stress that the country is approaching a tipping point and without a change in the direction everyone’s standard of living and quality of life will suffer. We need to be less dependent on China and other countries for our electronics, pharmaceuticals, and key industries such as steel, energy, and power generation equipment. We need to control our immigration, spending, and halt the ever-expanding growth of government.

    With this game plan, you neutralize Trump’s potential for a third-party run. You take away his thunder. You acknowledge Trump was screwed and put salve on Trump’s wounds and those of his supporters and give his supporters a reason to vote for someone other than Trump.

    • Except, TP, DeSantis (among others) agree with all of those Trump positions, and Trump still attacked him. There is nothing unreasonable in the pledge—it’s a straightforward requirement that any party can and should require. Trump will take the pledge, because he assumes he can win the nomination. If he takes the pledge and violates it, he will lose a lot of support: even the most MAGAed out there don’t want to see Democrats win. And Trump hates to lose. A kamakazi 3rd party run that would duplicate the Bull Moose Party’s folly would just make him a historical pariah.

      If Trump hadn’t behaved like an ass over the 2020 election and his loyalist mob hadn’t acted like asses cubed, he’d be in a good position now. But he proved that the worst suspicions about him—his instability, his willingness to abuse his power to keep it—were closer to accurate than his defenders ever believed or acknowledged. He can’t be trusted. He proved it. And he handed his enemies all they needed to abuse their own power.

      If he were smarter and less of a narcissist, he would play king-maker, Presidential advisor and elder statesman. But he won’t.

      • I think you are vastly miscalculating the likelihood of people holding their nose and voting for republicans just to get rid of the democrats. People have been doing that their entire lives. They have noticed it doesn’t get them anywhere. The DNC and the RNC are corporations. They care about money and power, not the people or what the people want. They are monopolies, no different from Google or Monsanto.

        You might be able to force Trump to sign a loyalty pledge, but you cannot make the voters sign one. The RNC has not earned loyalty. Trump voters watched how the RNC treated them while they were under attack during Trump’s presidency. They saw how much disdain, contempt and disgust was aimed at them from “their own side.” I would not put all my eggs in the “no other choice” basket, because that argument is played out. Actually, there is another choice. There are a lot of other choices. Voting for republicans doesn’t stop the democrats from running roughshod over the parts of the country the left wants to trample, so what difference does it make? None. Zilch. Nada.

        The little two card Monty game has been exposed. If the republicans want the votes they are going to have to earn them rather than pointing at the democrats and blathering about how much worse they supposedly are. That isn’t going to cut it anymore.

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