- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 16, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A great deal has been made in recent times about this so-called “loyalty pledge” members of the Republican Party must make to President Donald Trump, else face the wrath of the — umm, the voters? The White House? Ghosts of right-wing pasts?

Exactly. Who knows.

But let’s not confuse a loyalty pledge with voter will.

And let’s not pretend the same parties who are now dazzling the press with shocking accusations about so-called loyalty pledges aren’t guilty themselves of what they speak.

The establishment wingers of the Republican Party constantly turn their backs against those deemed outside the conservative boundaries they’ve drawn. Just ask President Donald Trump, for crying out loud — you know, the guy Mitt Romney didn’t vote for in 2016?

He wasn’t alone.

Neither George H.W. Bush nor George W. Bush nor Sen. John McCain reportedly voted for Trump. Several other notable Republicans, like Colin Powell and Christine Todd Whitman, meanwhile, didn’t just vote against Trump — they reportedly cast ballots for Hillary Clinton.

Loyalty pledge? No, those were called votes of conscience, votes of principle, votes for the preservation of the Republican Party.

Now that tables have turned and voters actually like what they see in Trump — so much so that they want more of it, via the candidates they elect — now all of a sudden, the disgruntled of the GOP and the left-leaners in the media are crying about unfair litmus tests. About so-called “loyalty pledges” and such.

Give us a break.

“We swear an allegiance to the Constitution and we pledge allegiance to the flag and what was weird about this race that I’ve never experienced before in any race I’ve been a part of was an allegiance question where people say are you for or against the president,” whined the losing lawmaker from South Carolina, Mark Sanford, during an MSNBC interview about his failed primary bid. “I’ve never before had a question of allegiance to a person, rather than allegiance to the flag and Constitution.”

And he added this, the Hill noted: “[Pledging] allegiance to Donald Trump [could be] a mistake on a soul level.”

How about pledging allegiance to a Republican Party that’s done nothing but support candidates who go to Capitol Hill and promptly forget their promises to voters? Is that a mistake on a “soul level,” too?

Again — the double standard, the hypocrisy. When is a loyalty pledge not a loyalty pledge? When there’s an establishment GOP candidate running for office.

Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel did warn candidates that those who don’t embrace Trump’s policies and platforms “will be making a mistake.” For that, she received a trouncing.

“What in the actual hell …” Meghan McCain tweeted. “[I]s this a threat Ronna?”

Not a threat. Just a notation. Just a take-a-memo moment for the Republican candidates facing reelection and fighting election. Just a friendly, helpful tip that goes like this: Running a campaign akin to the Democrats’ with a message of “I’m Not Trump” is a no-winner of a race.

Just to add to that: Crying in the media about so-called loyalty pledges is a no-winner of a message — a smoke and mirror line for the disgruntled losers of the party who won’t get on board with what voters want. Face it, and face up: Fact is, establishment Republicans are being sidelined by Trump fans.

That has nothing to do with a pledge. But it does have everything to do with what voters want. It’s called the voters’ will, and these days, voter will appears to be overtaking elitist GOP will, en masse.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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