Alan Keyes
Trump's strike at pledge breakers presages party dictatorship
Oath to Constitution takes precedence over loyalty to candidates or party
By Alan Keyes
July 4, 2016

What is the basis for party loyalty? Parties are private voluntary associations of individuals who come together for political purposes. In terms of the present elitist faction sham, "politics" refers mainly, if not exclusively, to the business of seizing political power by electoral means. Notice that I did not say "running for office." Though it is rarely brought to mind these days, the word "office" refers, at its root, to the duty or obligation to do something. Therefore, the use of the word should focus the mind on the duties and obligations connected with the office.

According to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, all "the Senators and Representatives before mentioned [Article I], and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by an oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution...." Since political parties are nowhere mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, it ought to go without saying that no pledge or oath taken in respect of political parties, or of any other such private, voluntary associations, takes precedence over the obligation thus established by the Supreme Law of the Land.

But Donald Trump says that rivals who break their pledge to support the GOP nominee for president "broke their word.... They should never be allowed to run for public office again." But in matters that involve critical provisions of the U.S. Constitution, candidate Donald Trump has taken positions one must reasonably conclude are contrary to requirements and/or prohibitions plainly stated in the Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, 10th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Once they conscientiously reach this conclusion, all members of his political party who are oath bound to support the U.S. Constitution are duty bound not to support Mr. Trump. For by doing so they violate their oath.

That oath logically binds them to oppose Mr. Trump once they conclude he stands in opposition to the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. People can argue, if they like, that Mr. Trump's anti-constitutional disregard for one or another of the Constitution's provisions does not justify opposing him overall. But the Constitution nowhere makes any such exception. Its language demands respect for its authority as a whole, with no recourse but to support its provisions unless and until the sovereign body of the people elects to change its terms, according to the procedures the Constitution itself provides for that purpose.

Of course, this is not at all the same thing as the specious, anti-constitutional pretense that this or that law passed by Congress, or this or that opinion by the judges and justices of the federal judiciary, must be upheld as "the law of the land." For example, a hypothetical law requiring that all persons register their firearms with the national government, with provisions (in that law or some other) that allow for their confiscation at the whim of some executive authority, would violate the clear, plain language of the Second Amendment. Opposition to such laws would not violate the oath to support the Constitution. In truth, the oath requires that opposition. The same is true of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade, Obergefell, and WWH v. Hellerstedt decisions which, in sum, violate the Fifth, Ninth, 10th and 14th Amendments.

I can already hear the Trump apologists objecting to this reasoning, on the grounds that Mr. Trump meant to say that people who violated their pledge to support their party's nominee should be barred from running from office as Republicans. Let's say we charitably ignore the fact that someone who habitually fails to say exactly what he means is unfit for the presidency. (After all, the president must speak and act for the United States in matters that could involve life or death for our people and, conceivably, for people everywhere on earth.) Even if Mr. Trump meant to apply his words only to the act of running as a Republican, his words require those who join the GOP to put allegiance to their party's candidates above their allegiance to the Constitution.

Does this make sense? In the past, American parties required their members, including of course their candidates, to pledge their support for their party's platform, or else. Doesn't Mr. Trump's demand amount to the same thing?

Of course not. Parties whose platforms openly called for measures that overthrow the authority of the U.S. Constitution have been barred from competing for office, since such platforms belie the good faith of the oath of office people are required to take once elected. This is the rationale for legislation that bars the Communist Party U.S.A. from participating in U.S. elections, for example. But a pledge to support a platform that does not openly subvert the authority of the U.S. Constitution in any particular does not conflict with the oath to support the Constitution. On the other hand, supporting a candidate who habitually takes stands that contradict the Constitution's clear and plain provisions obviously conflicts with that oath.

Donald Trump's approach to party discipline puts the authority of the party above the authority of the sovereign body of the people, enacted in the Constitution of the United States. This transforms the United States from a government of, by, and for the people, bound by carefully devised provisions that respect their God-endowed unalienable rights, into a de facto party dictatorship, focused on allegiance to party candidates, regardless of the constitutional implications of the positions those candidates espouse.

This is much like the Communist Party dictatorship whose rule over the now defunct Soviet Union turned its constitution into a running joke. Indeed, by focusing, in this instance, on allegiance to a presidential nominee, Mr. Trump follows the paradigm of party dictatorship during the Stalinist era, characterized by a tyrannical personality cult. (This paradigm was also clear in the right-wing socialist party dictatorships Hitler and Mussolini imposed on their respective countries.) Apparently, this insufferably evil destination is where Donald Trump, like Hillary Clinton, means to take us. Present members of the GOP who aren't on board for it had better stop Trump from running as their nominee. Barring that, they should, once and for all, let go of the elitist faction's party sham.

They should plan to withdraw from the GOP convention, into a convention of their own. Without regard to party affiliation, or lack thereof, they should invite individuals and organizations to participate in their convention who oppose any form of the prevailing left/right socialism being enacted by the elitist faction's parties. They should include ONLY those who pledge to support a platform that upholds the Constitution and addresses the critical issues challenging our survival as a free people. Then, by every available means, they should field slates of candidates for the office of Elector, ALL of whom are pledged to adhere to that platform – as they fulfill their constitutional obligation to search for and elect the next president and vice president of the United States.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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