Evan McMullin, far from a household name, has announced he is running for President as an Independent. Many Americans are dissatisfied with the two major candidates in the election, and McMullin’s goal is to provide a conservative alternative to Trump and Clinton.
- Trump and his supporters have often talked about a GOP establishment plot against him, and now it has a face. Evan McMullin is establishment conservative all the way.
- He is currently the Chief Policy Director for House Republicans.
- Previously, he has been a CIA Operations Officer and an investment banker at Goldman Sachs.
- At a time when American voters are so focused on foreign policy, McMullin’s experience could be a major draw for those who find things about the other candidates very off-putting, like Trump’s admiration of Vladimir Putin or Clinton’s support of the Libya intervention.
Authoritarians like @realDonaldTrump use promises of law & order to justify infringing on civil rights as they consolidate control by force.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) July 22, 2016
Hillary Clinton fails the basic tests of judgment and ethics any candidate for President must meet.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) August 8, 2016
Announcing his candidacy, he wrote a “Letter to America,” in which he laid out his views against both Clinton and Trump, and explained why he is the right candidate to run.
- He said that in Clinton and Trump, many voters are not represented, like “those of us who care about the strength of the military and intelligence services” and “Americans who believe in limited, Constitutional government that is smaller, smarter, and more accountable.”
- He says that his particular experience qualifies him, “My service has given me unique, firsthand knowledge of the threats our nation faces, the burdens borne by hardworking Americans, and the numerous areas of our government that desperately need reform.”
Apart from his resume, his biography also shows conservative American roots which could appeal to parts of the Republican base who can’t get behind Trump.
- McMullin is a Mormon from Provo, Utah and attended Brigham Young University where he earned a Bachelor’s in International Law and Diplomacy.
- He was also a Volunteer Refugee Resettlement Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
- He may even have some appeal for Reagan Democrats.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) March 17, 2016
McMullin spoke at the University of Pennsylvania in February on the past, present, and future of the Republican party. In the speech, he criticized Obama for deciding to leave Iraq, because he believes it created a power vacuum for groups like ISIS grow in.
On his website, he briefly lists some of his stances of various issues. McMullin is pro-military and for protecting second amendment rights. He places border security as a priority over immigration. He is completely against abortion. He believes more jobs and more education are the solutions to poverty, rather than government programs. He also says that Obamacare was a failure and wants a deregulated healthcare system.
Trump has had a hard time winning the Mormon vote, so McMullin will have an advantage over him there. While it’s unlikely that the whole election will come down to his home state of Utah, the race is tight there, and McMullin could steal those 6 electoral votes–possibly making a Clinton win easier. That is why McMullin’s candidacy is significant. Otherwise, he isn’t a serious contender.
McMullin’s campaign faces serious challenges.
- He’s virtually unheard of and has kept a low profile in his career. The day before he announced his candidacy, he only had 135 followers on Twitter.
- Nevertheless, his strategy of connecting with voters who aren’t happy with either major party candidate may pay off if he spends enough on voter outreach. There is a super PAC for McMullin called Stand Up America, put together by GOP strategists Kahlil Byrd and Chris Ashby, who have both worked on behalf of Americans Elect–an organization that attempted to help elect an independent candidate back in 2012.
- Since McMullin is entering the race so late in the game, his campaign won’t have much time to raise money and scale up their team and operations. Many states have already closed ballot access, but he can sue for access in some places, meaning it will still be possible for him to get 270 electoral votes–so there is hope in sight for Evan McMullin’s presidential bid.