While many argue that Donald Trump had to take the pledge in order to be on many states’ primary ballots due to pressure from the national leadership of the GOP, it appears that many more feel that it was a huge mistake for a number of reasons.
Wasn’t a large part of Trump’s appeal to millions of voters, the perception that he could not be bought-off or even successfully pressured in any substantial way to do what the establishment wanted him to do? The fact is that he gave people hope of a greatly desired, unique candidacy. Finally, a man that did not have to bend to the will of a corrupt political establishment out of necessity offered hope to millions for a better system in the future. A candidate that could financially afford to buck the system but still chose not to is surely a great disappointment, indeed. For any other candidate in the field to take this pledge will not likely make much difference but for Donald Trump, it could prove devastating. If someone in his official campaign advised him to make this move, he should tell them, “You’re fired!” The potential damage to the Trump campaign is likely to be irreparable.
Strategically, it is also a big mistake. Donald Trump was holding the ace of spades as a trump card against the establishment’s treatment of him as a candidate. For a great dealer as Trump to throw his best card away begs the question of how serious he was to go the long haul necessary to win the White House to begin with.
In a previous article, it was stated that if he was serious, he would get out and run third party immediately. He could have virtually been assured a spot on the ballot in the general election in one way or another. Of course the RNC was going to be nice to him in order to get him to sign this pledge. Now, they can dangle it in his face and go forward in trying to destroy his chances for the nomination. He had the rare opportunity to just talk to the people and not have to play the game. No real outsider will get the nomination of either major party to become President, they are both too corrupt to allow it. Does Donald Trump realize that or is he just politically naive? Is he serious or is he just playing a game?
Most likely, this simple pledge is not legally binding but its ramifications have surely inflicted substantial damage to his campaign.
Chuck Baldwin summed-up the situation quite well in An Open Letter to Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump, so you decided to cave-in to the GOP establishment and sign a loyalty pledge to not run as an Independent should you fail to obtain the Republican nomination for President. If you really believe this will help you win the nomination, you are sadly mistaken.
First, you got a taste of the GOP resentment of your campaign by virtue of the angry and incessant attacks against you by Republican establishment toadies such as Jeb Bush, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham. Now, you have gotten a taste of the phony backroom deal-making that the Washington establishment is famous for. Backroom deal-making might work for free-thinking businessmen in New York City, but it doesn’t work for free-thinking presidential candidates in Washington, D.C.
No doubt, the GOP leadership convinced you that if you would sign their loyalty pledge, they would call off the attack dogs and treat you like one of the good old boys. They lied to you!
To get the support of the GOP establishment, a candidate for POTUS must pass their Big-Government litmus test, and YOU DON’T. By making this deal, you have sabotaged your own campaign and fallen into the trap of establishment insiders.
The thing that made you attractive to voters thus far was your no-holds-barred manner in which you had been willing to call out the sins of the GOP establishment. The possibility that you would be willing to run as an Independent–should the GOP nominate another establishment candidate such as Jeb Bush–electrified people and gave them hope. The deal you made with the GOP leadership has dashed those hopes.
Rand Paul made the same mistake you have made, except he made it earlier. Rand was convinced that taking the principled, no-compromise approach of his father wouldn’t work, so he attempted to ingratiate himself with the GOP establishment. His strategy failed miserably, and his campaign is now on life-support.
As a libertarian-leaning Independent, there were a few things about your campaign that honestly troubled me, including your remarks about Edward Snowden being a traitor and your eagerness to suck-up to the Israeli lobby.
However, your willingness to confront the establishment over illegal immigration, your “America First” economic philosophy, and your willingness to stand up for the Second Amendment made me like you. But what I was especially impressed with was your willingness to give the American people a third choice should the GOP nominate a Jeb Bush-type.
The two party monopoly in Washington, D.C., is a death grip on the throat of liberty in this country. You, Sir, had the potential and momentum to mount a successful Third Party challenge to the two party establishment in 2016. And, to be honest, the prospect of that happening truly excited me.
If you had stayed on point and mounted an independent campaign (had it been necessary), your coattails would have energized thousands of quality independent candidates all over America. Like in 1860, one election in 2016 had the potential to break the two party monopoly (try to find a Whig today) and bring about a national campaign that might have changed the course of the country.
As someone who has run for POTUS as an independent candidate (2008), I am more cognizant than most of just how much money it takes to be competitive in a national election. You, Sir, have the money, and it seemed for awhile there that you had the grit to go along with it.
The two major parties in Washington, D.C., are choking the life out of this country. Can’t you see that? Your willingness to surrender your independence to the GOP establishment indicates that either you don’t truly understand the draconian nature of the Washington establishment, or you are simply just another politician who is willing to sell his soul to win an election.
The American people are starving for an Independent-minded candidate with the capability and convictions to take on the establishment or die trying. (If Ron Paul had had your money, he would probably be President today.) For a little while there, I was hopeful that you might be that man. Alas, it appears you are not.
So much for principles over political party label. How many people do you know that have soured on the Donald since taking the pledge?