There’s talk about censuring Sen. Richard Shelby for his refusal to back Roy Moore and his encouragement of Alabamians to write-in candidates in December’s special election. Certainly the debate puts pressure on not only the state of Alabama, but also on the political party from a national level to look at party loyalty oaths and what party membership means.
I’ve always said I believe those oaths are disingenuous to what the Republican Party stands for. They’re an attempt to almost enslave or entrap an individual who identifies themselves as a member of the party into giving away their vote.
This is contrary to a party that values freedom and individual responsibility. The republican party is no longer full of single issue social or fiscally conservative voters. There are many reasons people identify as republican and the spectrum from libertarian conservatives to far-right conservatives is a big one.
While party leaders understandably don’t want many cases of an elected official or party leader doing what Shelby did back in December, the fact is: who someone’s votes for is a matter of conscious and principles. There’s a reason our votes are cast in secrecy.
The best the party can hope for is that the candidates we put up on the ballot are ones who share those same values and principles of the party.
Moving forward the party needs to evaluate, are we going to maintain this oath? If so, then they have no choice but to censure Shelby.
Shelby broke the rules, as the rules existed. What we do, is up to the leaders within the party but inaction or indifference will send a strong signal moving forward that the rules won’t be enforced or will selectively be enforced.