Sure, sure: Roger Stone of course isn’t involved with the Donald Trump campaign, although his lobbyist buddy Paul Manafort (dude lobbied for Pakistan’s ISI? Really? What, the Stasi weren’t interested in getting a PR rehab or something?) is currently knife-fighting his way into Trump’s inner circle. And of course Stone’s not making more threats. Nah, he’s just calling for voluntary loyalty oaths from delegates, which is of course the most American thing ever: “”We’re going to produce a voluntary loyalty pledge that will say, if you’re a Trump delegate, that you’ll stick with Trump through all the ballots to reflect the will of the voters,” veteran GOP strategist Roger Stone told Rolling Stone in an interview published Monday.”
…Love that ‘we.’ Really sells me on the argument that Roger Stone isn’t a spokesman for the Trump campaign. Ya, you betcha.
Anyway: there are, of course, three reasons why this concept is likely not going to make it off of the ground.
- Trump’s bound delegates are, increasingly, being imposed upon him by the state party organizations and their voters. They’re not his loyalists, and we know this, because actual Trump loyalists wouldn’t need to swear an oath. And trying to force delegates to be loyalists… well, that strategy might fly in the Democratic party. The GOP tends to attract the types who are well-versed in the ways of mule-headed obstinacy, though.
- The state parties have already largely established their expectations for delegates: for example, delegates in Florida understand that the rules require that they vote for their pledged candidate for the first three ballots. And that’s all. Trump has no authority and no intrinsic right to demand more of a delegate than the RNC or the state parties do. And I don’t think that calling people who refuse to sign ‘cockroaches’ – which is what Roger Stone did, later in the article – is going to have the effect Stone ostensibly expected.
- This is the important one: what, exactly, does Roger Stone think the PR outcome will be if, say, two hundred nominal Trump delegates say “Why, no, we won’t sign this ‘voluntary’ loyalty oath?” The Trump campaign is walking barefoot and on razor’s edge to get to the nomination as it is; the last thing they need is to cement the concept in people’s heads that the candidate is generally loathed and despised, particularly by the party that Trump says he belongs to now.
All in all, I suspect that this bit was meant for strictly internal consumption: as noted before, Manafort is attempting to supplant Lewandowski, and the latter’s loyalists likely need to be distracted. That calling for loyalty oaths and using the term ‘cockroaches’ is apparently a wizzo way to provide that distraction is… diagnostic. On that makes me grateful that I’m not involved in that campaign in any way at all.