On Tuesday the 29th, Donald Trump abandoned his promise to support a GOP nominee other than himself, should they get the nod at the Republican party’s convention. Because nothing says “I’m ready to be a leader that the international community can trust!” like going back on what he obviously considers a trifling promise BEFORE IT EVEN COMES TO PASS. At least Cruz and Kasich hedged their bets, and declined to give straight answers; even if it was pretty weaselly of them, it at least showed thought and tactics.
Seriously, how many of you didn’t see this coming? Show of hands, please! Now, will those with their hands up please see me after this? I have some bottom land to sell you, maybe a nice bridge or two.
This is the least surprising thing in this campaign so far. This is about as unexpected as the sun rising in the east. Anyone with basic reasoning skills knew that eventually this would happen; it was just a matter of when and why. The truth is, Trump has made it plain for a long time that his word, his signature on that oath, meant nothing. He’s been hemming and hawing about what it meant, and whether it was really binding, and what “counted” in terms of his promise before he was done signing. Trump blamed the Republican National Committee for the actions of unaffiliated strategists, he threatened to run independently if the RNC didn’t weigh in on his side against Cruz, and he threw a fit about the distribution of debate tickets, and each time he used the oath like a club to try to force the party to give him his way. Never mind that the RNC made no counter-pledge to guarantee him the nomination, or even to treat him equally; he just decided that such a promise existed.
He obviously saw his solemn oath as being a joke, a tool to be used for as long as he felt it was needed, and then discarded, which he has now done. Evidently, from his point of view, the Republican party were a bunch of suckers for believing that he meant it in the first place. Now, when it comes to dealings with the Republican party, my general philosophy is: it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys. But, while I feel zero sympathy for the GOP’s struggles against the monster they created, I do feel like this is an excellent opportunity for political capital for those of us who will be forced to put their rabid dog down, once and for all (electorally speaking, of course).
See, Donald Trump seems to forget a few very important points. Number one – he’s breaking his word, and we have proof. He stated, when he signed it, “I have no intention of changing my mind. I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge.” And yet here we are, with the shreds of that pledge fluttering to the floor. It’s almost as if he was lying through his teeth both in speech and in writing the whole time… and that would be another completely unsurprising thing. Maybe he thinks signatures aren’t binding if they’re done in Sharpie marker. Number two – whether he wins at the convention and gets the nomination, or he loses and throws a I’m-running-as-an-independent tantrum, he still has to live with what he has said and done during the primary season. The internet remembers EVERYTHING, Donald, and it’s a wonderful resource for those of us who will be enlightening the people in the middle about who and what you really are. And finally, number three – nothing says “I’m going to keep my promises to the American people!” like violating your solemn oath. It’s an excellent means of proving your character, in the same way that three-day-old skunk roadkill is an excellent means of freshening up your house. I’m not going to assume that all or even most of his supporters will have second thoughts about their dedication after his demonstration of his character, but I would be deeply surprised if he can turn oath-breaking into a positive.
Donald Trump has always been a scam artist. From his various business endeavors which went crashing into bankruptcy with other people’s money to soften the blow, to his criminal scheme of a “university”, he’s always been about manipulating people and organizations to get himself ahead. In the end, the Republican party was just another mark, another sucker to use and discard once it was time for The Donald to move on.