When Donald Trump signed a “loyalty pledge” with great fanfare last September promising to support the eventual Republican presidential nominee, few took him seriously.
Because no one tells Mr. Trump what to do. He even said so at the time.
Now Trump has formally rescinded his pledge, and the remaining GOP competitors – Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich – have come close, refusing to say whether they would honor their own loyalty pledges at a CNN town hall Tuesday night.
In a way, the death of the pledge is merely symbolic. It’s already been clear for some time that the Grand Old Party is coming apart at the seams, with a presidential front-runner who barely adheres to Republican philosophy and yet commands a big, loyal following.
But that symbolism is important. After all, what is the point of having a political party, if its members don’t intend to support one another?
The unraveling of the pledge is “clarifying,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It tells us how much these men can’t stand each other.”