You know Evan McMullin, right? A household name, right? Wrong. A phenomenon in the making, right? Just maybe. You need to learn how McMullin can possibly save our country. And you need to learn it quickly, and spread the word.
First, Who Is This “Madman”?
Well, for starters, Evan McMullin may be mad, but he’s no madman. That position has already been filled.
Evan McMullin is . . . a breath of fresh air, a little-known policy wonk turned political sensation who suddenly has a genuine, credible shot to win at least Utah’s six electoral votes. Really? Really! Believe it.
And how would that possibly matter? Be worth the cost of the ink on this page? After you finish reading this first part of this blog, just move on to the next two parts of this blog and I’ll tell you why Evan McMullin . . . just . . . might . . . matter. (Well, not really, but we can still dream, can’t we?)
Most recently this chief policy wonk for House Republicans, worked overseas on counter-terrorism operations for the CIA and did a stint as well as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. He’s solid. He’s grounded. He tells the truth. Not like a couple of others we know.
For starters, McMullin is the first to acknowledge that a presidential bid was not the logical next step on his resume. But after failing to persuade Republicans with more gravitas to challenge Trump, McMullin decided to run himself. Mindy Finn, a Republican digital strategist, signed on as his running mate.
Says Rick Wilson, veteran GOP strategist who is advising McMullin’s campaign: “We wanted an option for conservatives to be able to say ‘I cast a vote in 2016 [to save our Supreme Court, if not our country] that didn’t make us feel like we needed to take a shower in bleach after voting.’”
McMullin is running on a platform of entitlement reform, expansive free trade and other small-government positions that used to define the GOP—until Trump upended the party with his populist appeal. The appeal that comes with a bottle of bleach.
The McMullin shoestring campaign recently raised half a million dollars in just two months, relying mostly on social media and word of mouth to boost his visibility. McMullin is now on the ballot in 11 states and registered as a valid write-in option in about 30 more. He hopes voters in 40-45 states will be able to vote for him by election day.
So, who cares? How does this possibly matter? Patience. Keep reading and I’ll tell you.
Can McMullin Actually Be Elected President In 2016?
Well, to be honest, it’s not likely, but it is possible. Here’s how.
First, it must be the case that no candidate receives the necessary 270 electoral votes to be elected President. In other words, McMullin must win in enough states to keep every other candidate from reaching 270 electoral votes on November 8. What we need is a groundswell to get behind McMullin. Not enough to put him ahead of Clinton or McMullin in the electoral college, Just enough to keep each of them under the magic 270 electoral count. Not likely, but possible.
To put this in perspective, the last time a small party candidate carried a state was in 1968, when George Wallace did it. To be sure, Wallace did it for all the wrong reasons, but McMullin is seeking to do it for all the right reasons: To rid us of Clinton and Trump. Wouldn’t that be swell!
If McMullin wins in enough states to keep both Clinton and Trump under 270 electoral votes, then the presidential election is thrown into the House of Representatives, with each State receiving one vote in the resulting special presidential election. The only candidates eligible to be elected president by the House will be those who carry at least one state in the general election on November 8. Others need not apply.
Cutting to the chase, if we end up in the House, there will be three candidates, Clinton, Trump and McMullin. Right now, McMullin’s best chance to win a state is Utah, where the polls presently show him with about 50% of the vote. Utah has almost always voted Republican. They won’t likely vote for Clinton, but they have a strong dislike for Trump as well, particularly following his recorded groping remarks. In contrast, McMullin is a Mormon who was born in Provo, Utah and who attended Brigham Young University in Utah. McMullin’s chances to carry Utah are actually pretty good.
But McMullin will need to win some other states too, enough to prevent either Clinton or Trump from obtaining 270 electoral votes across the country. Unfortunately, that’s just not terribly likely. But there are a lot of people repulsed by the thought of voting for Clinton or Trump. And McMullin and you might just light a bonfire in the next week. Stranger things have happened, particularly in this election campaign, such as anyone still willing to vote for Clinton or Trump if they know there’s actually another meaningful alternative out there.
If this somehow does happen, if you make it happen, I like McMullin’s odds in the House. Fifty votes at stake. Only twenty-six votes needed to elect the next president. Keeping Clinton and Trump under 270 electoral votes is the hard part because most people don’t presently see any viable alternative. In a three-way House vote, however, with an alternative candidate who could actually be elected, I don’t see 26 states willing to vote for either Clinton or Trump. Hey, bleach is expensive.
So, the question is whether, on November 8, there are enough people who really don’t want to vote for either Clinton or Trump and realize there’s actually an alternative. They just need to know that McMullin could defeat both Clinton and Trump if we can hold Clinton and Trump below 270 electoral votes in order to flip the election to the House. With enough attention to this opportunity, McMullin might just carry enough states to make this happen. Don’t bet the farm on it, but these really are very strange times, and an even more strange campaign season. Clearly remote, but just maybe we can save the bleach.
Vote for McMullin on November 8. If he’s not on your ballot, write his name in.
E V A N M C M U L L I N. Has a nice, fresh ring to it, doesn’t it?
So What Next If McMullin Doesn’t Win On November 8?
Back to earth. What next if McMullin can’t throw the election to the House on November 8?
Well, for starters, please see my November 2 blog, titled “November 8, Part One.”
In a recent interview, McMullin said “We’re skeptical the Republican Party can make the kind of changes it needs to make in order to be a viable political vehicle for the conservative movement. But if they can’t, we may have to start something else.” Gee, where have you had this before? Hint: Read November 8, Part One again, or however many times it takes.
Ultimately, McMullin’s candidacy may be less significant on November 8 than what needs to come after. Every vote for McMullin on November 8 will help us after November 8 if not on November 8
Time to bring voter apathy and pacifism to an end. McMullin seems like a nice place to start. If not on November 8, then how about right after?
Tell a friend. Spread the word. Fast!
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