With just over a week to go until Election Day, Donald Trump has seen a significant boost in the polls. He is now polling at just 1 percentage point behind Hillary Clinton, largely thanks to the FBI’s announcement that it may review additional emails from Clinton’s time as secretary of state.
But Evan McMullin — the 40-year-old independent presidential candidate from Utah — has also seen a significant boost in the polls. And despite what Donald Trump and Michael Pence say, people have heard of him. Recent polls show that Clinton, Trump, and McMullin are in a statistical tie in Utah, historically a very red state. Should McMullin/Finn win Utah, it would make history as the first independent selection since 1968 to win an electoral college vote.
In an election where every vote — and especially the votes for third-party candidates — will matter, the Trump campaign needs to sit up and take notice of Evan McMullin. Here are a few of the most common criticisms of McMullin and his supporters by Trump and his supporters.
1. “Nobody ever heard of him.” – VP Nominee Mike Pence
There is some truth to this. As many Trump supporters have pointed out, one year ago Evan McMullin was a virtual unknown to the general public.
But how much did the average American know about Donald Trump’s political views one year ago? What does the average American know now? I’ll wager most people believe these three things about Donald Trump.
1. Donald Trump speaks his mind.
2. What comes out of Donald Trump’s mind and mouth is authentic — he doesn’t pander to the media or anyone else.
3. Donald Trump has made a lot of money in real estate.
Umm… so what? Does “speaking your mind” make you a good candidate for the Oval Office? What if the words that come from your mind are crass, demeaning, and illogical? What if what you say hurts important relationships with foreign governments, minority groups, and humans in general?
It is true that Donald Trump is very well-known. Americans actually know quite a bit about him. He “knows a lot of people.” But so little of what is known about Trump is positive or qualifies him for any position of responsibility. Simply knowing incredible people and being able to make great deals in real estate hardly qualify Trump to be entrusted with nuclear codes, the national deficit, and dozens of other crises that require level-headed thinking.
2. Evan McMullin has no political experience.
This is another claim that has some truth to it. It is most definitely true that Evan McMullin has very little political experience, especially for someone running for the highest political office in the land. However, he still has far more political experience than Donald Trump.
In his short life span, McMullin has spent 11 years as an operations officer in the CIA, two years as the Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference, and two years as Senior Advisor on national security issues for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for the 113th Congress. He has also worked for the UN as a volunteer refugee resettlement officer.
Those fifteen years of government and political service are fifteen years more than Donald Trump has in politics.
The experience that Evan McMullin has gained in government and politics make him an expert on issues of domestic and foreign policy (including foreign affairs), national security, technology, healthcare, finance, government reform, natural resources, and women’s empowerment.
This expertise might explain why McMullin can actually answer the policy questions he is being asked, rather than employing Trump’s tactic of either ignoring or deflecting those questions, choosing to instead to attack his opponents and their supporters, the media, the moderator, or anyone else with the nerve to ask him a question that actually matters.
3. Evan McMullin has no experience running a large organization.
Also true. Once again, for those looking for a candidate who has made it in “the real world,” McMullin’s résumé has some serious deficiencies. While he did spend three years as an Investment Banking Associate for Goldman Sachs, he most certainly did not run the company.
Both Donald Trump and Evan McMullin received degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Business. Trump completed an undergraduate degree in finance there (1968), while McMullin attained his Master’s in Business Administration (2011).
Donald Trump followed his education by spending the next several decades building the Trump Empire, becoming the chairman and president of The Trump Organization, a holding company for his real estate and other business ventures. He has amassed an impressive $3.7 billion personal fortune, and has also dabbled in reality television and other business ventures, and even owned the Miss USA pageant (1996-2015).
Meanwhile Evan McMullin has not run a business, he’s quietly been too busy serving his country.
And while McMullin has no experience running a large or even a small business, he also doesn’t have 60 plus lawsuits filed against him by employees that haven’t been paid. He hasn’t had businesses go bankrupt at least four times, and he has never lost $916 million in a single year. He’s also more than happy to make his tax returns public.
Mitt Romney did a good job summarizing Trump’s business “success.”
“Look, his bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who work for them. He inherited his business, he didn’t create it. And whatever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage. A business genius he is not.”
4. McMullin supporters are like sheep.
It’s hard to know what exactly is meant by this, but the words “sheep” and “McMullin” are popping up all over political discussion boards. It is possible that some of these posters believe that voters who are members of the LDS (Mormon) faith are planning to vote for McMullin simply because he is a member of their faith. While the LDS church has a long-standing policy of political neutrality, it is human nature to gravitate towards and respond favorably to people who are like yourself. So consequently, there is probably some truth to this claim as well.
However, following the same rationale, it is also likely that some people who have been successful in business, but show no respect to women, minorities, or anyone else are planning on voting for Donald Trump. It’s also probably true that there are a few bureaucrats who routinely delete classified emails putting national security in jeopardy that plan to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Sheep, sheep, sheep.
The good news is that Evan McMullin—the only conservative candidate left in the race—does in no way resemble a sheep in his actions. He is not willing to change his stance on important political issues simply to buy a vote. He doesn’t pull the Trump card of saying that you have to vote for him, even if you don’t like him—something Donald Trump recently told Republicans at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa:
“If you really like Donald Trump, that’s great, but if you don’t, you have to vote for me anyway. You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges… Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice.”
It used to be a safe bet that a vote for the Republican candidate would be a vote for conservative values. Not true today. And Donald Trump is far from conservative. In fact, if you look at his voting record he’s also pretty far from Republican. He did register as a Republican seven years ago, but prior to that he was an independent voter. As such he was very pro-choice, loved universal health care, donated $100,000 to Hillary’s foundation, donate more money to Democratic candidates than Republican candidates, and even declared that the economy did better under Democrats.
If you are engaging in sheep-like behavior and planning to vote for Trump because he’s a “Republican,” erroneously thinking that ANY republican will support conservative values… Well, I’m sorry to be the one that has to break this to you, but that Republican Party died when Trump was given the Republican nomination back in July.
While this election will likely mark the end of the Republican Party as we know it, it will also signal the emergence of a new conservative movement. Evan McMullin is currently the face of that movement.
5. McMullin can’t win, so he’s a wasted vote (and therefore a vote for Hillary).
This is half true—it is highly unlikely that Evan McMullin will be elected President of the United States.
In all actuality, however, while it is true that McMullin will not win this race, it’s equally true that Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and my neighbor Gregory will also not win.
Indeed, it is very very likely at this point that Hillary Clinton wins the Presidential bid. But what Trump supporters don’t understand, is that the majority of McMullin supporters are actually in the #NeverTrump camp. This means that a vote for McMullin is actually a vote for Trump because that vote would have otherwise gone to Hillary Clinton or another third-party candidate. Thus, Trump gains the most by a “wasted” McMullin vote.
Is it even possible for a third-party candidate to win the Presidential election?
While it is indeed possible, it’s highly unlikely. A Presidential candidate has to get 270 electoral votes. The highest electoral vote total any of the third-party candidates is likely to receive—if they receive any at all—won’t even begin to approach that number.
However, there is a real possibility that Evan McMullin will win Utah. If he does so there is a very remote possibility he can indeed win the election.
Not likely, but possible.
So Utah matters. For the first time ever Utah is a swing state. Trump thought he had Utah in the bag and has spent virtually no time and resources campaigning there. This, of course, makes no sense given he gained only 13.82% of the Republican vote in Utah’s March 22nd primary election, the lowest percent total of any state.
Hillary Clinton isn’t making the same mistake as Trump, and has recently hit the campaign trail hard in Utah. Running-mate Tim Kaine even penned an opinion piece in the LDS church-owned Deseret News comparing his faith and missionary service to that of Mormons. Whatever it takes to win, right?
Even Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has made a real effort to win over Utah voters, going so far as to place his campaign headquarters there.
So what can you do?
The president of the United States is a reflection of who we are as Americans. Election Day is our opportunity to vote for a candidate who we feel will best represent our country while helping us to continue to be a great nation.
Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil. Our votes are precious, and I’d like the chance to earn yours. https://t.co/Bzqr0SudIH— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 11, 2016
Please do not waste your vote by submitting a ballot for the “lesser of two evils.”
Vote your conscience. Take action that you can be proud of.
God Bless America.