The Republican primary in my home state of Virginia is becoming ever more ridiculous. First, the state GOP’s byzantine signature-gathering rules prevented all but two of the candidates (Mitt Romney and Ron Paul) from getting on the ballot. Now the state GOP has decided to require all primary voters to take a loyalty oath pledging to “support the nominee of the Republican Party for president” in the fall. The pledge is not legally enforceable, but state GOP leaders hope it will deter Democrats and independents from voting in the primary. They can’t simply limit the primary to registered Republicans because Virginia has nonpartisan voter registration.
Be that as it may, the oath is still stupid. Even if you’re a hard-core Republican partisan, there are surely some circumstances where you might choose to vote for another party’s candidate, or simply abstain. What if the eventual GOP nominee has a massive scandal (e.g. – after he gets nominated, evidence emerges proving that he’s a murderer or a child molester)? What if you believe that he or she is incompetent or ideologically abhorrent?