Dear GOP: Keep the Unity Pledge for 2020
Back in April of 2015, I disagreed with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and his “Unity Pledge,” but clearly I was wrong. I thought it was disrespectful toward all of the primary candidates. I thought supporting the eventual winning candidate would go without saying (or pledging). I also thought it was an underhanded way to force one candidate (Donald Trump) to either leave the GOP in the spring of 2015, or promise not to run as independent in the case of his loss. Trump bowed to the RNC and other candidates’ demand, famously signing the pledge in Sharpee marker.
Since then, It’s been excruciatingly painful to witness some candidates break their word in slow motion, hasn’t it? But at the end of it all, we all have better perspective. While the resulting GOP feuds have been a bitter pill to swallow, this clarity is precisely what we need in the conservative movement to identify good leaders for the future.
We’ll never know whether Donald Trump would’ve lived up to the pledge if he had lost, but we surely know now – a little over a year later – how the rest of the primary candidates fared.
A pledge is beyond a contract; it’s like a vow – a super promise, which when signed, is a seal of a person’s integrity. Over time, when signed, we get to witness how trustworthy the leader is to abide by the pledge. How well will a prospective President live up his or her word when it comes to signing treaties, trade agreements, and executive orders? How well will the future President abide by his sworn duties of office, to uphold the Constitution?
This first “baby pledge” is a good practice for candidates to learn some humility, and realize that the process is bigger than themselves. It’s also a good and meaningful test for voters to judge how their leaders would live up to their sworn pledges, especially when times get tough. The pressure cooker of a campaign tests the mettle of every candidate, and this pledge provides binary, measurable evidence of their leadership style and integrity in action, under pressure. It’s easy to live by a pledge before the fight begins, but will they bend when their ego is hurt? Will they be as eloquent and trustworthy in defeat as they are when times are good? This unity pledge has been an excellent tool to separate the weeds from the seeds.
Thank you, Chairman Priebus.
Reince. In retrospect, I’m glad the GOP had the Republican Primary candidates sign a “Unity Pledge.” It is my hope that the Unity Pledge becomes a staple for all elections, at all positions. Many people will want to do away with the pledge in the future, but in hindsight, I think it’s been an extremely helpful tool for me as a voter. It serves the citizens as much as (or more than) it serves the partisan organization. In a matter of less than one year, we’re getting proof positive of whom we can trust in the future to live by their word, and whom we can trust will stab others in the back when times get tough.
I’m talking to you, John Kasich, Ted Cruz & Jeb Bush. In the words of Kevin O’Leary: “You’re dead to me.”
Photo credit: NBC News