Who Swears To His Own Hurt

On Ted Cruz breaking his vow to support Trump:

So I wrote that I was grateful for the fact that Cruz did not endorse Donald Trump. I still am grateful. But I also have noticed, online and in personal conversations, that a number of people (who are not Trump fans) are arguing that Cruz should be rejected for good over this because he was not a man of his word.

So what about the “pledge”? In the course of the campaign, the Republican candidates were all asked if they would support the eventual nominee, and Cruz had said yes, he would. So here we are, Trump won, and Cruz did not deliver.

Is this a violation of the kind of honor that Scripture lauds? A godly man is one “who swears to his own hurt and does not change” (Ps. 15:4). Did Cruz go back on his word?

Before addressing that, I would propose a structural reform for the parties. The point of such pledges is to prevent a strong second place candidate from jaunting off into a third party run. Ice all the candidates in order to keep a sore loser from running independently. But this just confuses everything. If you want to insist on a pledge, insist on one that actually addresses the issue. Make them promise to not to run as a third party candidate. Do not try to make anyone promise to like someone he doesn’t like. The solution should be an objective one. And it really shouldn’t be a matter of pledges at all. All state primaries should be closed, and state law should require that anyone who was on the ballot of one party in the primary cannot represent different party in the general in that same election cycle. The current sloppiness created by a host of independents and open primaries is just asking for trouble. If you have a problem, fix that problem. Don’t try to fix it with party unity pledges made on a debate stage.

But alas. That was not the case when Ted Cruz was asked if he would support the eventual nominee. So was it foolish to make the pledge? I would say yes, because there were men on the stage that one shouldn’t support under any conditions, and Trump wasn’t the only one. But is it nefarious perfidy that Cruz declined to fulfill that pledge? No, and here is why.

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