Since Evan McMullin declared he was running for President on the Anti-Trump ticket this past week, the 24 hour news cycle has been awash with news on…Donald Trump. Like Donald Trump was a runaway bus and Evan McMullin was a bug that smeared on his windshield on impact.
So who is Evan McMullin anyhow? According to Politico he’s a “former CIA counterterrorism officer and ex-House Republican Conference policy director.¹” CNN describes him as a man who has worked at “the CIA, Goldman Sachs and most recently served as a top House Republican aide.²” Neither description is overwhelming with qualifications of a future president, but you could argue the same thing about Donald Trump. With no name recognition and a candidacy that’s missed filing deadlines in 2 dozen states, how could McMullin realistically stop Trump? The short answer is he can’t. He’s in the race to stop Gary Johnson.
With hundreds of millions of dollars in the Republican War Chest, you know what Evan McMullin really is? A good soldier for the Republican Machine. As Trump flounders, it seems like the establishment is almost conceding a loss and are now concentrating on the preservation of the party. But if the Republican’s own best and brightest can’t stop Trump in the primary season, the Republican Party gets what it deserves. (Of course they don’t think that way.) It’s not a coincidence that McMullin filed in Utah where, as of August 8, Gary Johnson is polling at 16% and according to utahpolicy.com³, he is “surging.”
Say what you will about Green Party candidate Jill Stein, she went through the process and believes in the Green platform. I don’t see her as a spoiler, I see her as a person who stands by her beliefs. Evan McMullin is an example of the Republicans playing the long game, securing their spot for whoever they trot out for the nomination in 2020. Somewhere, deep in the bowels of the Republican Leadership Headquarters, some think-tank lackey in a thousand dollar suit ran a worst case scenario program for the 2016 election and came up with 3 situations where McMullin is an intricate chess piece.
I believe there’s a Mendoza Line that if Trump falls below it, Republican money floods into McMullin even where he can’t win. If the Libertarians get a foothold in this election and get matching funds for 2020, they’ve already damaged the Republican “brand” which has been damaged by Trump himself. McMullin has access to the one thing Johnson doesn’t, Republican Old Money with liquid assets.
What if Trump just quits? Say Trump is down 25-30 points in October and he’s had enough. You could see Trump pounding his fist on the podium “the system is rigged.” (Just not in the way he thinks.) But Trump, he’s not beholden to the party. The Republicans won’t let the votes flood into Gary Johnson's camp, they would then be in self-preservation mode and I could feasibly see court cases to move “independent” Evan McMullin into the vacated spot.
What if Clinton screws up so bad that Trump is actually leading in the fall? Many Republicans cannot say (out loud) to vote for Hillary, but they can siphon money away from Trump and to McMullin. Again, not concerned for the country, but playing the game and positioning themselves for their next turn at bat. Republicans and Democrats both like the fact that the 2-party system heavily slants the process in their favor.
Under all three of the setups, the Republican Party is trying to squeeze out the true independent voice of Gary Johnson. Again, the Republican Party is a giant corporation with thousands of employees and Evan McMullin is another mechanism that allows the party to manipulate the procedures to keep the national electorate a 2-party system for the next election cycle. The media should describe Evan McMullin this way, an insurance policy for the preservation of Republican Party power.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of things he says in his Letter to America ring true, but then I ask if McMullin felt this strongly about America’s future “where were you at the Libertarian Party Convention?” That’s right, working for the RNC.