On Sunday, Donald Trump slammed Virginia GOP over voter pledge requirement in the primaries. The Republican presidential hopeful made some fiery statements on Twitter after learning that all voters in the primary elections who want to vote for a Republican need to sign a paper pledging that they are themselves Republicans.
Trump is worried that the pledge could discourage non-Republicans such as first-time or independent voters from voting for a Republican. In Virginia all registered voters can cast primary ballots.
Trump supporters said that the new requirement would affect their favorite candidate the most since his out-of-the-ordinary approach and anti-governmental attitude lured voters that are disappointed with the establishment’s candidates.
On Sunday, the billionaire businessman posted five tweets. He criticized Virginia GOP for catering for special interests and discouraging unaffiliated and first-time voters from casting a vote.
The leaders of the Republican Party of Virginia declined to comment on the nine-word voter loyalty pledge which was issued Dec 17: “My signature below indicates that I am a Republican.” The party was also silent on Trump’s latest online bursts of outrage.
John Findlay, the party’s executive director, explained that the requirement was set in place to make sure that Republican voters elect the Republican nominee. Earlier this year, the party had the idea of issuing a loyalty requirement for presidential candidates, as well, but the idea was later dropped.
The loyalty pledge was supposed to require that all GOP candidates would back the party’s nominee. While Trump initially said that he wouldn’t sign a loyalty oath, he later said on various occasions that he sees no problem in it.
The voter loyalty oath stirred hot debates over the years. Promoters say that it is crucial to ensure that Democratic voters and non-Republicans do not sabotage the GOP primaries. GOP conservatives back the pledge requirement, while moderate Republicans that favor establishment candidates do not.
Some critics argued that the new requirement is a veiled attempt by the Virginia GOP to gather a list with all Republican voters and keep in touch with them since the form of the pledge requires an e-mail address, though the requirement is purely optional.
From the billionaire’s tweets we learn what his opinion on the issue is. He views the move as a ‘suicidal mistake’ since Virginia GOP is in a desperate need for fresh voters. He urged the RNC to act. State lawmaker Robert G. Marshall also sees the loyalty oath unnecessary since it prevents the GOP build a broader base.
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