Thursday, May 04, 2006

What is a pledge?

This is an interesting question that has come up in response to some email I received a little while ago from my county chairman. All emails are as I received them. None have been changed in any way.

The initial message is from a Campbell County Democrat:

Hello Bern,

This is Jennifer Mayhew it Campbell County. I think that what your website is saying, and I quote ". . . once Delegates arrive at the convention on May 20th, they are free to vote for either one of the candidates, regardless of whom they voted for in the Caucuses." is a lie. The first vote will be Delegates who have declared who they are voting for. I don't understand why you are trying to get Delegates to switch their minds. In my oponion you are doing a great disservice to first the Democratic party and 2nd to yourself. Please reply to this email and explain yourself.

Jennifer T. Mayhew

She received two responses—one from Bern Ewert’s campaign manager Marlin Adams and the other from Fred Hudson, the 5th District Chairman.

Mr. Adams’ response:

Hello, Ms. Mayhew,

thank you contacting the campaign.

While we disagree with your statements, we do appreciate you taking the time to visit the Ewert For Congress website.

The 5th District Call To Convention states specifically that the first ballot at the convention is a written, private ballot, which means that delegates are free to vote for the candidate that they think has the best chance of winning in November.

We do in fact intend to let all delegates know why we believe that Bern Ewert is the Democrat with the best chance of unseating the Republican incumbent, and in so doing, we will in fact, I'm sure you would agree, be doing a great service to the Democratic Party, and the Nation.

If you are a Al Weed delegate, we hope you will reconsider your support for Mr. Weeds 5th attempt to win public support in this district. The fact of the matter is is that Mr. Weed doesn't stand in a chance in this very conservative district. Al Weed is the same candidate he was 2 years ago when he was beat badily, 3 votes to every 1, in what has to be seen as a decisive rejection of his candidacy by the people of this district. He is the same candidate that has run 4 other loosing campaigns, dating back to 1975. Al Weed should stop now and give Democrats a better chance of winning.

You can do the Party a great service by switching your support to Bern Ewert because he can actually put together the coalition of conservative voters and Democrats to beat Mr. Goode. Al Weed cannot, has not, will not. That's the only conclusion people of good will and objectivity can reach judging by his 4 decisive losses.

Thanks again for your note.
Marlin Adams
Manager, Ewert For Congress
434-220-2498-o; 917-232-1906-c

Mr. Hudson’s response:


You have asked a very good question. With most good questions, the answer is not a simple yes or no!

The reality is that the Caucuses elected the delegates to "pledge" their vote on the first ballot at the May 20 convention. In my opinion, the delegates should vote that pledge as that is how they have represented themselves.

However, there is no specific rule in the Party Plan, 5th District Call, or the 5th District Rules that prevent the delegate from changing their vote. We try to anticipate every possible situation. However, in this case, Bern Ewert is technically correct. In my opinion, the statement on the web site is a bit of an over extention of the facts, but still technically correct. I personally hope that well intentioned people like you, Carter, and I can assure people that it is not just a "free" vote on the first ballot in the Convention, but one to be very aware of why people were elected to be a delegate to the Convention.

As to subsequent ballots, there is no restriction on people's vote in the 2nd and additional ballots. There never was an intention to restrict those votes or we might never get a candidate!

I hope I have answered your question. I wish I could give you a simple yes or no, but I have explained it as well as I can.

Thank you for your inquiry, and I hope to see you in Buckingham.


So, to repeat my question from the title of this post: What is a pledge?

According to, the noun pledge is “A solemn binding promise to do, give, or refrain from doing something.” When used as a verb, pledge means “promise solemnly and formally” or to “give as a guarantee” ( In simplest terms, a pledge is a promise or guarantee given by an individual.

There are only a few things that I can promise or guarantee:

  • I need air, food and water to live.
  • I will have to pay taxes.
  • I always try my best to do whatever task I am given.
  • If I give you my word, I will do what I say.

So, a pledge is also giving your word.

My dad taught me that there are only two things you always have in this world: your word and your good name. He also said that what you do to one affects the other. Therefore, if you go against what you’ve promised or guaranteed (pledged) to do, your good name will suffer. Once you’ve broken a promise, people never seem to trust you as much as before. And those people who ask you to break your word or destroy someone’s trust in you? They’ll have to live with their own “good” name.


At 10:10 PM, Blogger Michael Snook said...

The 5th District Call To Convention states specifically that the first ballot at the convention is a written, private ballot, which means that delegates are free to vote for the candidate that they think has the best chance of winning in November."

Just because no one knows you're breaking your pledge doesn't mean you're not a liar.

Oh, and "3 votes to every 1?" That's called lying too, Marlin.


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