The Case for Evan McMullin for President

The Case for Evan McMullin for President
By Al Carroll

For those who don’t know, Evan McMullin is a former CIA agent and congressional staffer running independently. McMullin’s running mate is Mindy Finn, a political strategist leading an NGO, Empowered Women. McMullin was picked by the Never Trump movement, conservatives seeking an alternative for Republicans to the notorious bigot and failed businessman.

1. McMullin/Finn is the most successful third party ticket in this election in the only way that matters. He will likely be the only third party candidate to win electoral votes. He currently leads in Utah, ahead of both Clinton and Trump, as well as other third parties.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, is currently polling at 6% nationwide. But this is scattered across many states. In no state except Utah is he drawing double digit support. The best Libertarians hope for is he polls 5% and qualifies for government funding for next election. Ironic, given this is something they oppose on principle.

2. There are even articles online arguing McMullin is the third most likely person to be the next president. In the unlikely event neither Clinton or Trump win the Electoral College, the vote would be thrown into the House of Representatives. The current Republican majority in Congress would definitely prefer McMullin to Trump. It is no secret that almost all Republican leaders despise Trump, almost as much as he despises them. They do not want Trump as president, even if he were capable of winning and not the utter incompetent he has shown himself to be.

3. McMullin truly is a viable alternative for conservatives to Trump in every way. He is a genuine devout man of faith and family, where Trump is an obscene criminal abuser of women and only claims to be nominally Christian at best.

McMullin is a seasoned analyst of foreign policy, coherent and principled. Trump admires dictators and wishes he was one, holds American allies in Europe and Asia and contempt, and has a policy consisting of “bomb the shit out of them” (exact quote) and thinking it a shame to have nuclear weapons and not be able to use them.

Trump is a bigot, both in word and deed, with a notorious history of racism stretching back 40 years. It would be quicker to name the groups he does not hate or has not offended, namely, his fellow white racists and women haters. McMullin is on record as welcoming legal immigrants, wants to use American power to defend others from religious persecution, and opposes stop and frisk and mandatory minimum sentences that target minorities.

4. McMullin also offers much to support for moderates and progressives, as an alternative to Hillary Clinton. He does not share her history of being a front for corporate elite power. Clinton also alienated many Bernie Sanders supporters, and her record of shifting her opinions to the latest polls goes back at least to her first Iraq War vote and positions on healthcare.

McMullin lists the following positions on his website that are downright progressive:

“Everyone deserves access to healthcare regardless of whether they have a job.”
“Increase support and resources to reduce unintended pregnancies and encourage adoption, even if they may have different opinions on abortion rights.”
“Legal status is for all those who are here illegally to come forward and register themselves…If they obey the law and pay their taxes for several years, they could apply for permanent residency.”
“Immigrants…help create high-quality jobs for all Americans…Our debates and our policies should reflect the civility and tolerance that helped forge a nation out of immigrants from every nation on earth…replacing divisive rhetoric.”
“The time has also come to reform our courts and prisons, so that we rely less on incarceration, which can break apart both families and communities.”
“Donald Trump dishonors our men and women in uniform by calling on them to kill the families of terrorists and to torture prisoners.”
“Our troops deserve better…He will never ask our men and women in uniform to compromise their honor.”

Some of McMullin’s opinions may be deal breakers for some progressives. He is avowedly anti- abortion, for example, and a strong supporter of Israel in ways that will dismay those who are pro-Palestinian.
So why wouldn’t a progressive instead support Jill Stein of the Green Party? To state the obvious, she has no chance. She not only has no chance to win, she has a mediocre chance at best to equal Ralph Nader’s numbers in 2000 of 3%. That elusive goal of Nader’s, to break 5% and receive federal funding to build the party, is unlikely enough that Nader himself urges Green voters to vote Hillary.
Stein also has the least political experience of anyone running for president, except for Trump. She is sincere and dedicated, but little else. Those voting for her do so because her views are closest to theirs, not for any practical purpose. Many progressives have also been disturbed by her willingness to pander to anti-science conspiracy theorists on vaccines, from a doctor no less.

5. McMullin is a rational conservative, and the Republican Party and America need both of those. It was not that long ago that Republicans truly were a big tent party. Today, Colin Powell seems to be almost as unusual in ideology as he is in skin tone for Republicans. But John Anderson ran as the last of the liberal Republicans in 1980. George Bush Sr. was an avowed moderate in the 80s and 90s. Jon Huntsman ran as a moderate as recently as 2012.

Increasingly, the Republicans are the party of irrationality, as one can see by having a racist “birther” and proponent of dozens of other conspiracy theorists as its candidate. Full half the party faithful do not believe in evolution or global warming. Most live in a bubble, where they think an election is being “stolen” from them because they can’t admit most Americans are no longer angry aging white racists. They fall for such foolishness as imagining a ten-foot border wall cannot easily be defeated by twelve-foot ladders.

Trump’s true support is only about one third of one major party. Most of the remainder are Hillary-haters, some of them for rational and principled reasons, others because they are gullible enough to fall for conspiracy theories. They do not truly support Trump at all.

A strong vote for McMullin undercuts Trump in the Republican Party. It may be the only and last chance to rescue that party from a leader and its followers who are outright fascists in everything but uniforms.

America certainly does not need a party of hysterical white nationalists. In current polling, about half of Republicans say they will not consider a Clinton win to be legitimate. One fifth of them say that violence against the government is justified, should Clinton win. While few of them have the guts or brains for genuine attempted revolution, no doubt some of the more disturbed will carry out opportunistic terrorism, likely killing random Muslims and/or immigrants.

America needs instead a party of principled opposition. “My honorable opponent” was once a phrase commonly used in the halls of Congress. More than a few have said Republicans created a Frankenstein in Trump. The party self-destructing from within is fitting and just, in this view.

But conservatism once produced Dwight Eisenhower. It produced a Robert Taft who opposed the Korean War and a Barry Goldwater who favored gay marriage and even a Richard Nixon who introduced affirmative action and environmental regulations. CALCAV (Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam) was made up of conservatives opposed to the Vietnam War. The Libertarian Party opposed the Iraq War. William Buckley, the dean of paleo-conservatives, opposed the Drug War.

McMullin may be the last best hope for a conservatism that is willing to reach across party aisles for the common good. He may be the last chance for ideological disagreement without grievous societal disruption. A Trump-led Republican Party would gleefully burn it all down rather than be “losers,” in Trump’s view the most unpardonable of sins.

The Never Trump movement that McMullin springs from represents the best choice for undecided voters, whether left, right, or middle. As of this writing, Clinton’s chances of winning are as high as 95% by some estimates, or as “low” as 85% in worst case scenarios.

Trump never truly did have a chance of winning, the poor deluded chump. His chances were gone as soon as he gave his first speech calling all Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. That he got this far surprised no one more than him, since his intent from the start has always been to raise his brand profile.

The choice for third party voters is clear. A vote for Johnson or Stein is just solely to show one’s beliefs. A vote for McMullin has a real chance to change things, affect election outcomes and weaken the positions of white racist extremism, conspiracy crackpots, and kneejerk obstructionism within the Republican Party. It also is a way for anyone not in a swing state to express principled opposition to Hillary Clinton, without any chance of helping Trump get elected.