Donald Trump will sign non-binding loyalty oath to not become a free agent after primary season

Later today, Donald Trump will reportedly sign a non-binding loyalty oath to support the eventual Republican nominee no matter who they are, assuring the Party that he will never give them up, let them down, run around or desert them.

He won’t make them cry. He won’t say goodbye. He won’t tell a lie, or hurt them.

Or maybe he will. Who knows? This is a guy who’s signed three separate contracts based on the premise that he’d stay with one woman ’til death did them part. I’d imagine he is positively unbothered by the idea of signing a pledge saying that he won’t become a free agent at the end of primary season.

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Trump needs to sign the pledge in order to appear on the ballot in a number of states, most notably South Carolina. He also needs to sign the pledge in order to avoid one of the few attack lines that have actually hit home over the course of his campaign — that he is more concerned with himself than he is with beating Hillary Clinton in November. In the Republican debate last month, Trump drew boos when he insisted that he couldn’t bring himself to commit to supporting whoever won the nomination because holding out was fantastic “leverage,” which he could use to ensure that he would be “treated fairly” by the Fox News and the Republican establishment.

But here’s the thing: There is a sizable chunk of the American electorate that is more closely aligned to the political opinions of Donald Trump than they are to either of the two major political parties. These are voters who come for Trump’s virulent racism and promise to protect their straight white Christian privilege, but stay for Trump’s endorsement of the social safety net and progressive taxation. This has a lot to do with why Trump snipes just under half of Jeb Bush’s support when polled in a three-way race with Hillary Clinton.

And those polls were conducted over a month ago, when Trump was thought to still be in too weak of a position to be taken seriously as the Republican frontrunner. Now that he is arguably in the strongest position of any Republican candidate to lock up the nomination, pollsters aren’t bothering to test an independent run, but it isn’t hart to imagine Trump outpacing the Republican nominee if that question were asked today.

For his part, Jeb Bush has said that he would, “of course,” support Donald Trump if he were the eventual nominee.

Here’s what the text of the pledge reads:

I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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