Image, Credit @Evan_McMullin.
Agree with Evan McMullin’s policies or not, he embodies Utah’s willingness to choose what is right over what is Republican.
Who is Evan McMullin?
Evan McMullin is a new conservative Independent candidate running as an alternative to Donald Trump. He is from Utah, has conservative policy goals, and a background in public policy, investment banking, and national security and intelligence. In an interview with John Berman on AC360, he says he decided to run for president because “[He] hoped for something better for months and months and months, and that somebody would step forward — somebody with national name ID who could advance another option for Americans, a better option. But it became clear as time passed that that wasn’t going to happen”.
Full disclosure: I have tried to learn about McMullin from various articles and interviews online, but because he is a new candidate without a personal legislative history, or a journalistic record of statements, it is difficult to express with precision his exact views or policies on subjects. His campaign website gives insight, however it does not have incredible specificity. Regardless, the purpose of this article is not to advocate that McMullin’s policies are the best, but rather to demonstrate that he represents Utah’s willingness to stand up for right over Republican, Utah’s pragmatic yet value based decisions, and Utah’s long-term vision.
Evan McMullin embodies Utah’s willingness to choose what is right over what is Republican in at least three ways:
First, Evan McMullin is running because he does not believe Trump really represents Republican values. McMullin says in his opening letter on his website that “Donald Trump appeals to the worst fears of Americans at a time when we need unity, not division. Republicans are deeply divided by a man who is perilously close to gaining the most powerful position in the world, and many rightly see him as a real threat to our Republic. Given his obvious personal instability, putting him in command of our military and nuclear arsenal would be deeply irresponsible. His infatuation with strongmen and demagogues like Vladimir Putin is anathema to American values. We cannot and must not elect him.”
Similarly, Utah has repudiated Donald Trump by voting strongly against him in the GOP Primary with Trump getting only 14% of the total Republican vote. Utah’s primary vote is so decisive that it shows that Utahns dislike all that Trump represents, including his hateful divisive rhetoric against immigrants, the LGBTQ community, women, and other political candidates. Another contrasting example between Utah and Trump is that Utah Governor Gary Herbert is one of only a few Governors of Republican states to welcome refugees into their states—a sharp contrast between Trump’s rhetoric against assisting refugees fleeing their home nations.
Second, McMullin has a diverse background that likely informs a pragmatic yet value focused approach to politics. McMullin spent two years as a religious missionary for the Mormon church in Brazil, graduated from the Wharton School of Business with an MBA, spent eleven years in CIA operations outside of the country, worked in the finance industry for Goldman Sachs, and most recently has been involved in public policy on a national level.
Similarly, Utah has one of the most educated and experienced populations in the country, with a very high number of its population who speak multiple languages and have lived in different countries. A diverse background gives Utahns insight into issues from different perspectives, leads to more constructive political discourse, and ultimately results in better decision making. For example, during the 2015 State Legislative Session in Utah, both Republicans and Democrats agreed on anti-discrimination legislation focused on ensuring that the LGBTQ population is treated fairly in housing and employment. During the following year and a half other Republican states passed legislation doing just the opposite. The difference in outcome is Utah’s people and their ability to see things differently.
Third, McMullin tries to visualize the long term course of the country and the GOP. In paraphrase, McMullin says in his interview with John Berman that he waited months and months, hoping that the Republican nomination process would turn around. Fairly inferred, it sounds like he is someone who plays by the rules of the political process, letting the democratic process due its part to put forward a candidate. McMullin does not come out against the values underlying the Republican party, but instead focuses on saving them from effects of a Donald Trump candidacy. He says, “With the stakes so high for our nation and at this late stage in the process, I can no longer stand on the sidelines. Our country needs leaders who are in it for the right reasons and who actually understand what makes this country the greatest on earth. Leaders who will unite us and guide us to a prosperous, secure future, beyond the dysfunction of a broken political system”.
Similarly, Utah strives to make decisions that go above politics, and beyond election day. Utah has an interesting history, as it was once a place that had a great deal of Democratic support, with a Democratic governor as recent as the 1980s. Even though Utah once had many Democratic counties, it has pivoted based on the needs of the state and the people’s vision of the future. Additionally, Utah’s long term fiscal management has consistently resulted in balanced state budgets, rankings as an excellent location for business, and a stable economy, even through the 2008 recession. Additionally, Being the second driest state in the country, Utah actively works to conserve water and preserve the beauty and health of its environment. In whole, Utahns are willing to look beyond the ballot box and consider the values and issues that will impact the country down the road.
In summary, win or lose, agree or disagree, Republican or Democrat, McMullin represents Utah’s willingness to make pragmatic yet value based decisions, think long term, and choose what is right regardless of party—a mindset every citizen should strive for.
Linked below are some of the sources I checked out when researching Evan McMullin.