Dan Phillips, also known as Red Phillips, is an IPR contributor. He originally published the following article regarding the entry of independent candidate Evan McMullin into the presidential race on August 10th, 2016 at EconomicPopulist.org:
We have long been promised that if the convention coup plot failed, as everyone who knows anything about the process knew it would, and Donald Trump emerged as the Republican nominee, that the NeverTrump bitter-enders planned to put forth an independent challenger to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to represent self-proclaimed “real conservatism” and/or “real Republicanism.” After some teasing by author Brad Thor that never materialized, NeverTrump has found its candidate. It is … drum roll please … wait for it … Republican House functionary Evan McMullin.
I didn’t think it was possible for NeverTrump to field a more underwhelming candidate than David French, but they have managed to do it. At least die-hard NeverTrumpers and Trump supporters had heard of French due to his incessant Trump bashing at National Review, but not even wonky political obsessives have heard of this guy.
I have long said that NeverTrumpers were astoundingly clueless and didn’t understand the dynamic of this campaign or how the paradigm has likely (hopefully) been forever changed by it. They ran in the primary and continue to run a campaign about who is the most pristine “conservative” as defined by highly flawed movement “conservative” standards, but that’s not the campaign many Republican primary voters were responding to. A plurality of GOP voters were more interested in who is going to best represents us against them.
The choice of McMullin to head the NeverTrump independent ticket demonstrates that they still don’t get it. They don’t even remotely get it. Sometimes in the world of internet pontificating an op-ed just writes itself. An op-ed skewering McMullin is such a case. It just flows effortlessly off the pen. The guy is a veritable caricature of what is wrong with NeverTrump. If I didn’t know better, I could imagine him being a psyop parody of all that is wrong with NeverTrump in an attempt to discredit them. (He is a former spook.)
McMullin does have some impressive credentials, as I conceded that David French has some impressive credentials. They just aren’t the kind of credentials, notably name recognition, that make someone a good candidate to be a late starting supposedly credible independent challenger for President. The less credentialed but much better known Brad Thor would have been a better option if he had decided to run.
That said, I’m not going to focus on McMullin being a no name ID no-hoper, because he is reasonably well credentialed by independent and third party standards, which despite NeverTrump’s pretenses, is how he should be judged. The problem is the nature of his credentials. Where to even start?
After graduating from BYU, a not insignificant fact as I will discuss below, he joined the CIA. NeverTrump security state agenda item: check. Now while Trump is not where I would like him to be on the security state issue, I get the sense that Trump’s support for the security state is a kind of man on the street, tough on crime and terrorism support. I do not get the sense that Trump is ideologically committed to the security state in the way the NeverTrump brain trusts are. I don’t know if a history of being a CIA agent necessarily turns off a large number of voters, but I suspect it inspires ambivalence in many, especially when viewed as part of the whole package of this guy.
After working at the CIA, McMullin went to work at Goldman Sachs. Yep, you read that right, Goldman Sachs. NeverTrump agenda item financial market approved: check. Goldman Sachs? Really? After all the trouble Cruz had with the base because his wife worked for Goldman Sachs, did the NeverTrump vetters not recognize this as a major liability? Are they really that clueless and out of touch, or did they just not have any other options?
McMullin then left Goldman Sachs and went to work in Washington, D.C. as a Republican apparatchik. His first assignment was as senior advisor to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. NeverTrump agenda item hawkish interventionism: check.
Later he moved on to be the Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference, where according to the linked Breitbart article above “he was responsible for advancing the policy agenda of the Republican leadership in the House.” NeverTrump agenda item continue status quo globalist policies: check.
McMullin is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. NeverTrump agenda item Establishment approved: check. This speaks for itself. I can’t decide which is more tone deaf under the circumstances, Goldman Sachs or the CFR.
In the past McMullin has worked as a volunteer Refugee Resettlement Officer for the United Nations. Nope, I’m not making this up. NeverTrump agenda item invade the world, invite the world: check. NeverTrump agenda item globalist approved: check.
On Facebook he has criticized Donald Trump for his stance on Muslim immigration. NeverTrump agenda item prissy moralistic PC grandstanding: check. Perhaps, just perhaps, if we had been restricting immigration we wouldn’t need that whole security state thingy, but I know. I know. That wouldn’t be “who we are” and would violate our “principles.” Apparently NeverTrump believes one of the supposed principles of the Framers was self-destructive stupidity.
Ostensibly, the purpose of NeverTrump running a candidate, other than spite, is to win enough states to prevent either Hillary or Trump from winning the necessary Electoral College majority, thus throwing the contest to the House of Representatives. This scenario is extremely implausible for many reasons, however, and the more likely actual intent is for McMullin to deprive Trump of a victory in one or more Red states that he needs to win, thus handing the election to Hillary.
This is where McMullin being a BYU grad comes in. For reasons that it would be interesting to speculate about, Mormons make up a disproportionate number of NeverTrumpers, a fact that is reflected in Trump’s relatively poor poling numbers in deep Red Utah. The transparent aim of the NeverTrumpers and their obscure Mormon candidate is to cause Trump to lose Utah and maybe some other heavily Mormon western Red states and lose the election as a result.
As I have repeatedly argued, the NeverTrump honchos have never really cared about preserving the purity of the “conservative” message no matter how deluded much of the rank and file may be on this matter. The forces behind NeverTrump are threatened by Trump and the resonance of his campaign and unique issues cluster because his more nationalist and populist message breaks script and threatens their control over the narrative and their gravy train. NeverTrump is about keeping the GOP and “conservatism” safe for globalism, and nothing illustrates this more than the selection of a former CIA agent, Goldman Sachs employee, CFR member, PC preening open borders, foreign policy interventionist party hack as their candidate. It is hard for me to believe that NeverTrump is really this clueless and out of touch. What kind of a movement conservative bubble do you have to live in to not see McMullin’s vulnerabilities as a candidate just screaming at you? As the kids say, I’m smh.