Trump's shrewd move: Signing RNC loyalty oath was right thing to do

Trump made the right decision Thursday in signing the Republican loyalty oath.

Given the pressure being exerted by the GOP leadership, Trump did what he had to do to capitalize on the success he has shown in the polls, both nationally and in early primary states where he is the clear frontrunner. This show of party loyalty saves him from, at least to some degree, attacks within the party as a Democrat turncoat and marginalization by the other candidates.

In this way, Trump surely made the shrewd choice and is removed from the levels of attack that the Republicans have levied against him lately. They’ll have to find something else and in the process he earned himself some favor within the party leadership, which can only help him.

Still, the strength of the Trump brand is that he is a fresh thinker with his own ideas who tells the truth as he knows it. He has deviated from GOP orthodoxy for the best possible reasons: to tell voters who he is, what he thinks and how he feels, not to kowtow to a view or ideology that at best commands less than majority support in the electorate

There is a revolt against the two major parties and Trump and Sanders, in their own way, speak to it despite having traditional party labels.

The Trump decision needs to be seen in a broader context. It is both wrong and sad that in America candidates get pushed into signing loyalty oaths. Our system is strongest when more views are represented and we would always do better to accommodate more views rather than less.

For this reason, throughout my career, I have consistently worked to expand the pool of candidates who can appear on the ballot in American elections beyond the two major parties. I worked with American Elect in 2012 – an online effort to get a third party candidate on the ballot – and a group called change the rule in 2015 which aims to open up the debate process.

My view has been that candidates like Trump help to expand the range and choice of options available to people, something the public is clamoring for given how strongly the American people feel about the need for diverse voices and a more open political process. This is further supported by the some-odd 40 percent of Americans who identify as independents themselves.

In this way, Donald Trump’s candidacy, whether it be substantively or ideologically, has opened up the American political process in healthy ways, much like Bernie Sanders’s candidacy has on the left.

There is a revolt against the two major parties and Trump and Sanders, in their own way, speak to it despite having traditional party labels.

And by signing the loyalty oath Trump made a tactical decision that in no way undermines the strength, unity and vitality of an anti systemic message.

I don’t expect this to hurt him – or his message – one bit.