“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
Evan McMullin’s campaign for the presidency and “a new conservative movement” is gaining rapid-fire momentum in Utah and across the country. But, as we all know from U.S. poet T. Swift, “Haters gonna hate;” especially in the wake of growing success. Specifically LDS (Mormon) supporters of Evan McMullin are coming under fire as “gullible” and “suckers” for their seemingly incomprehensible act of deserting the Republican nominee. I am an admittedly-average person, so I do not expect you to take my word for it that those detractors are incorrect, and blatantly spreading misinformation. But, you can count on my sources as being credible, well-vetted, and cited as I debunk these common myths and misperceptions:
1: “Supporters of Evan McMullin are ‘suckers’ who would vote for Donald Trump if they ‘knew better.’”
Let me set this straight right now: Regardless of political strategy or climate, Most McMullin supporters would never vote for a candidate like Trump, and cannot bring themselves to vote for a candidate like Hillary.
Now, some facts: Utah has never supported Donald Trump. Utah was the only state in which Donald Trump came in dead last out of three candidates during the primaries. Trump also lost Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado by a wide margin.[i] For a three-month campaign, it makes sense for McMullin to focus on states that already rejected Trump. This campaign is about a common conviction, not a common religion.
2. “Members of the LDS Church ‘vote like sheep’ for members of their own faith”:
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) are encouraged to engage in the civic process, vote for candidates that promote their values, and thoroughly research the candidates presented to them. The LDS church does not promote or endorse any particular party or candidate, and they do not allow their church facilities or resources to be used for political purposes[ii]. Members are also encouraged to engage in the political process with civility, respecting the views and choices of others. Name-calling and shaming have no justification under this policy. Mormons do not blindly vote Republican. Mormons do not blindly vote Democrat. Mormons do not blindly vote in any way.
Furthermore, Evan McMullin is not running on an “I am a Mormon” platform. If anything, only the headlines seem to bring that up. The candidate does not talk about it, and his supporters rarely do. None of his events have been held at LDS-owned facilities.[iii] Lastly, there are thousands of Evan McMullin supporters outside of the LDS faith, and his running mate, Mindy Finn, is a devout member of the Jewish faith.[iv]
The Long-Term (Not Just a Protest Vote): I cannot speak for all, but I have met many Evan McMullin supporters both online and in person. McMullin/Finn supporters of all faiths and backgrounds support this candidacy and the new conservative movement because they HAVE done their research, have been involved in the civic process, and are very aware of our election laws, practices, and history.[v] Through their study they know that movements that change the world are started by ordinary people. They believe that government works best when it is held accountable to the people. So, even though the logical outcome of this election will most likely be a President Hillary Clinton (which I will point out later that the polling numbers show us is entirely the fault of Trump as a weak candidate and cannot statistically, logically, or numerically be blamed on a third party)[vi], Evan McMullin supporters are still conscientiously choosing him BECAUSE of their research–not in spite of it. They are looking to the long-term as well as the short-term.
McMullin supporters are voting strategically AND for principle. That’s why there is “McMullinmentum” and “McMullin Fever.” Every big win for Evan McMullin in this election, especially a statewide victory, will build the strength of this new political movement. That is the most important result to McMullin’s supporters. McMullin supporters are looking beyond November 8th and into the following years and decades where we want a better world and a better America for our children.
3: “Evan McMullin is a “nobody,” and you can’t learn anything about him.”
I’ll admit it. I did not know who Evan was a year ago. But, I must also admit I do not keep as close an eye on the House of Representatives as I should. I would have known who he was if I had ever read a Congressional Staff Directory, or read about the experts behind-the-scenes who help Congress members understand the policies they are considering. I will tell you for sure who has known and worked with Evan McMullin for several years: Paul Ryan (House Majority Leader), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Rep.), Rick Wilson (Republican strategist), and Luke Messer (Rep.), to name a few.
Word on the street is the CIA is pretty strict about this “highly-classified” business. So obviously we are unable to know everything about American CIA operations overseas from 2001-2012. But there is a wealth of information about Evan online and from the source himself if you are willing to look! Here is a summary of what I found from less than an hour of quick Internet research:
Evan McMullin was the Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference for almost two years before launching his presidential bid.[vii] As Chief Policy Director, he was an expert consultant to the House in both domestic and foreign policy, including foreign affairs, national security, technology, healthcare, finance, government reform, natural resources, and women’s empowerment.[viii] Before that, he was the Senior Advisor for the Committee on Foreign Affairs for the House for two years. For three years, he worked as an Investment Banking Associate for Goldman Sachs. He also completed a Wharton MBA. His 11-year stint as an Operations Officer for the CIA included serving mostly overseas in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, energy, political stability, and counter-intelligence, mostly in hostile environments. He has also worked for the UN as a volunteer refugee resettlement officer, and as a deckhand on a commercial fishing vessel.[ix]
Personally, I can also say this: I have watched all of Evan’s Townhalls and Q&A sessions. I have attended rallies and watched most of his TV appearances. I have listened to podcasts where he has been interviewed. I have met him and shook his hand. There is nothing there but sincerity and a true desire to serve. Coupled with his clear intelligence, knowledge, and power of presence, he is an ideal candidate.
4. “Who is Nathan Johnson? Why is Mindy Finn not listed on the ballot as his running mate?”
McMullin has also been clear about this from the beginning. Evan McMullin is listed on many ballots with the running mate “Nathan Johnson”. Nathan stepped in as a placeholder since the campaign had tight deadlines in several states to list a VP candidate in order to qualify for the ballot. The 12th amendment gives the campaign the strategy they need to ensure that Mindy Finn will either be VP or on the cabinet in the event of a McMullin presidency.[x]
5. “Evan McMullin was placed in the race to ensure Hillary wins the election.”
There are so many facts that debunk this conspiracy theory, but I will first defer to “Deep Throat” (a man who helped debunk an actual conspiracy) on this one: “Follow the Money.” First, the Clinton Foundation has never been anywhere near the McMullin campaign, despite clunky efforts to convince people otherwise (the photo-shopped picture of a supposed “Clinton Foundation invoice” has widely been discredited as a hoax[xi]). McMullin Campaign finances are an open book, as is required by law. The total amount the campaign had raised by the beginning of October was a little over $500,000. [xii] Granted, this report was compiled pre-”Access Hollywood” tapes…So chances are Trump’s own words have worked against him to fund the Evan McMullin campaign quite a bit since then. Most of its donations come from individual supporters–anywhere from $5-$200. Ordinary people are donating, ordinary people are volunteering their time, and Evan McMullin will only be beholden to – you guessed it: ordinary Americans if he is successful in his bid. That has been part of his message and the message of his supporters – it is time our leaders are accountable to us and not just special interest groups, corporate lobbyists, and the 200 or so people in this country with the deepest pockets. That message will live on if we make a statement this election and continue to fight for it.
Timing and Poll numbers: The numbers are all wrong to support the Clinton conspiracy theory. Clinton already had the upward trajectory and favorability in the polls long before McMullin announced his candidacy. Clinton has been ahead of Trump consistently for most of 2016.[xiii] It is especially obvious today that Trump is losing this presidential race all on his own. Even if Trump did win Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, he would still be short the presidency by a whopping 73 electoral college votes.[xiv] Hillary Clinton did not and does not need Utah to win, and she certainly did not need to launch a massive conspiracy effort to sway the “Mormon vote” away from Trump to win. So really, a vote for Trump in Utah at this point is confirming what the GOP has taken for granted these many decades; “Utah will vote for anybody with an “R” behind their name”. We have a chance to show them that is not true.
McMullin’s Opposition to Hillary: Evan McMullin has always been transparent in his opposition to Donald Trump. However, his opposition to Donald Trump does not lessen his opposition to Hillary Clinton; in fact, it was because of opposition to Hillary Clinton that Evan McMullin heavily advised against Trump’s nomination.[xv] As an expert in government reform and political stability, McMullin warned the Republican party that Donald Trump was dangerous, unstable, and could not win the general election; and he was right. Trump was nominated anyway. So, Evan McMullin stood up to challenge both unfit candidates when no one else would.
McMullin constantly states that Clinton has fully demonstrated that she views herself as unaccountable to the American people, and that she will put her own self-interests above national security.[xvi] Her policies and practices are a major threat to issues many conservatives hold dear – namely Life and Liberty.[xvii] And people of all political ideologies find her untrustworthy[xviii]. McMullin has spoken many times that her breaches of national security put many good people, his close friends, and himself, in jeopardy as they fought terrorism overseas.[xix]
Evan McMullin is not only the third-most-likely person to become president in 2017[xx], but he is also a leader for a new political movement that demands leaders who put principle over politics. McMullin and his supporters know that the bigger an impression he makes, and the more states he wins, the louder and longer our message to politicians will reverberate. To his supporters, this result is the most important result of this election.
I will leave you with this thought: We are only sheep if we continue to believe what we are told, instead of believing what we know in our hearts is correct. The more people who stop believing the lie that our voice does not matter, the less power that lie will have. We cannot afford complacency. We only win if we have moral leaders. And we will never have moral leaders if we do not vote for them.
About the Author: Heidi Jones is an educator, a wife and mother, a friend, and an admittedly-average citizen of the United States who loves American history, eating good food, and spending time with family and friends. Thanks for reading!
[i] Primary Election Results, CNN: http://www.cnn.com/election/primaries/states/ut/Rep
[ii] “Political Neutrality,” Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/official-statement/political-neutrality
[iii] List of Evan McMullin campaign events and locations: https://www.facebook.com/mcmullinforpresident/events/
[v] This is not to say that those who do not support Evan McMullin have not done their research and are not making an informed decision. That is also also untrue, and the author does not believe that. This is merely defending against accusations that Evan McMullin supporters (particularly LDS ones), are a “constituency of “sheeple” who would follow him regardless of the obvious logical outcome
[vii] Congressional Staff Directory: http://congressional-staff.insidegov.com/l/19573/David-E-McMullin
[xi] The man who created the image admitted to the hoax in an interview with The Blaze: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/10/17/rumor-check-man-behind-clinton-foundation-invoice-circulated-on-social-media-admits-it-is-fake/
[xii] Federal Exchange Commission, McMullin Campaign Finances: http://www.fec.gov/fecviewer/CandidateCommitteeDetail.do
[xiii] Polls compiled by Langer Research: http://www.langerresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/1180a1The2016Election.pdf
[xiv] Five Thirty Eight Polling Compilation and Predictions: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/?ex_cid=rrpromo
[xvi] Washington Post: “How Clinton’s email scandal took root”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/how-clintons-email-scandal-took-root/2016/03/27/ee301168-e162-11e5-846c-10191d1fc4ec_story.html