SEE UPDATE BELOW ORIGINAL POST
For years, I”ve been screaming about the idiotic Republican loyalty oath (see here, here and here as a few examples). FINALLY the state Republican party is getting the message.
Due not to anything I wrote, but, instead, due to adverse national attention arising from the presidential primary process, the RPV voted to do away with the loyalty oath as a condition of voting in the Republican primary. Hallelujah!
Not to be too hyperbolic about it, but the implications of the vote for democracy in Virginia is akin to the effect the opening of the Hungarian borders in 1989 had on communism in eastern Europe. Recall that once the door to freedom was opened, the entire system collapsed. It’s the same thing here with the rule of the local party hacks.
Here’s why. With no loyalty oath, the paranoid among us have no option but to seek party registration in order to keep those fiendish Democrats from selecting the Republican nominee (as if that EVER happened). Sen. Mark Obenshain already has offered a bill in in that regard, and given his run for AG, my guess is that such a bill will pass this time. Party registration, then, eliminates the hyperpartisans” justification for the insular, undemocratic conventions that they’ve controlled, which, in turn, have yielded hyperpartisan candidates. And, since loyalty oaths were also required in firehouse primaries, the only remaining method of selection of the parties’ nominees is a state-run primary. So, in the end, we not only get a more democratic process but we get candidates who are more electable in a general election because they must appeal to a broader base to get the nomination in the first place.
Indeed, the shift to party registration, then inevitably to state-run primaries, will fundamentally change Virginia politics. With state-run primaries, candidates from both parties will be forced more to the middle of their respective parties in order to win the nomination. Thus, the eventual winner likely will be more moderate than in the case today where the nominees often are selected by the party extremists.
Great day for democracy in Virginia; bad day for partisan hacks.
UPDATE 8/18 1:20 pm: RPV Chairman Pat Mullins testifies before the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee in support of party registration! Yes, folks, like I said in the original post, the end of the oath has kicked off a chain of events that ultimately will spell the end of extremist control of the VA Republican party. It’s like the fall of the Berlin Wall, baby!