By Clint Bishop
Evan McMullin has surged into the spotlight in Utah this past week, actually surpassing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in one poll and running a statistical tie in a couple of others. This has garnered the former House of Representatives Chief Policy Director significant momentum nationally among self-proclaimed conservatives over the past week, particularly #NeverTrumpers. Having entered the race on August 8th, 2016, one would think that Mr. McMullin were on the ballot in every state, had irreproachable financial backing and grassroots stucture, and were the perfect answer for true conservatives who feel disenfranchised by the Republican nomination of Donald J. Trump. Let’s take a look.
‘Who Bankrolls Evan McMullin?’, ‘ Firestorm of Media Attention out of the Gate’, and ‘Who Were These Utah Pollsters and What Led Up to the Past Week’s Polls?’
Who Bankrolls Evan McMullin? Brief History
The Better For America PAC (BFA) was founded earlier in 2016 in an attempt to offer the moderate, neo-conservative establishment wing of the #NeverTrump movement an alternative to Mr. Trump. BFA was founded by Mitt Romney donor John Kingston III and pollster Joel Searby, along with Democrat strategists Ileana Wachtel and Kahlil Byrd.
Ileana Wachtel and Kahlil Byrd left Better for America in order to form the Stand Up America Super PAC so they would be able to directly raise campaign money for Evan McMullin.
Ileana Wachtel’s resumé couldn’t be more progressive if she had represented Karl Marx himself. Don’t take my word for it, check her LinkedIn. As recently as last year she was in charge of
press releases for the ‘Sister Giant Conference‘, which featured keynote speaker Bernie Sanders and advertised “Williamson will moderate talks given by former congressman Dennis Kucinich, civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, progressive talk show host and author Thom Hartmann, food movement leader Elizabeth Kucinich, host and co-founder of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur, and Lynne Lyman, California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.”, all whom were to be in attendance.
Kahlil Byrd’s background is only slightly less impressive… to a Hillary supporter. He launched his political career as communications director and senior strategist for the successful campaign of Mitt Romney successor, Democrat Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, just before his term membership with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Although McMullin’s policies will not be touched in this article, it’s important to note that he, too, is a CFR term member (2011-present). Former Governor Deval Patrick (D) was on the shortlist for Hillary Clinton’s Vice-Presidential picks before choosing Tim Kaine. David Axelrod participated in Deval Patrick’s campaign bid as well.
Evan McMullin was the last of a long line of Republican names thrown around by Bill Kristol, the neo-conservative editor of The Weekly Standard. Actually, I’m not even sure Kristol mentioned McMullin. Evan, himself, states that he simply “decided” that he would run. I suppose the BFA ballot efforts, which had only yielded access to two states at the time, was just a coincidental bonus by having been formed? After even unknown journalist David French declined to accept the offer, the search went stale. Kristol had even stated at one point in March that he’d rather see Hillary Clinton win than to witness a Donald Trump presidency. BFA strategist Rick Wilson recently admitted that even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s name was thrown around in their quest to thwart Donald Trump’s path to the White House. I’m a fan of The Rock but do these sound like strategists who were “in it to win it”?
Firestorm of Media Attention Out of the Gate. Why?
As a former Republican who was appalled and alarmed by the exorbitant amount of free advertising given to Donald Trump during the Republican Primaries, I can’t help but wonder the same regarding Evan McMullin. Don’t others?
In Donald Trump’s case, there was at least the rare phenomenon of a foul-mouthed, crass
businessman conducting himself as childishly as possible, yet leading the polls. Most of us could see right through the favorable media coverage and realize that the liberal mainstream media actually wantedTrump in against Hillary in order to throw the election her way once the party conventions were held.
In Evan McMullin’s case, however, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein had been gaining steam nationally as 3rd Party candidates. The conservative side of the #NeverTrump movement was beginning to narrow down their choices between Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle and America’s Party nominee Tom Hoefling. Evan McMullin was entering the race with less than 200 Twitter followers, no name recognition, ballot access in two states with TWENTY-SIX states already having passed their deadlines upon his entering the race (to put that in perspective, he couldn’t have surpassed Darrell Castle’s ballot access from day 1), most remaining states were closing access just two days later on August 10th, there was no party to promote the growth of as an independent candidate (perhaps part of the reasoning?), and his greatest asset was his most recent job as House of Representatives Chief Policy Director – you know? The House of Representatives that has a whopping approval rating of 14.7%!
Despite all the aforementioned, McMullin received an interview on every mainstream media outlet within one day of entering, and many others within one week: Kelly File on Fox News on 08/08/16, Morning Joe on MSNBC on 08/09/16, CNN on 08/09/16, ABC News on 08/09/16, the Hugh Hewitt Show on 08/09/16, Bloomberg Politics on 08/09/16, and so on.
Can you guess how many interviews Jill Stein received on many of these stations? How about Darrell Castle? There are SEVEN presidential candidateswith ballot access exceeding that of Evan McMullin. Them? This amount of press coverage for someone with zero viability is unprecedented, especially considering the plight of actual third parties any given election cycle.
Perhaps the most telling interview was that of Glenn Beck. Glenn had sent an open invitation to Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle back in June, on air. Following the invitation the Castle campaign and hoards of supporters close to the campaign attempted for weeks to cash in the offer to no avail. The national coordinator for ballot access for the Constitution Party literally called in to the radio show and sat for hours at a time on hold, simply to never have anyone return to the line. Twitter was lit up, Beck’s Facebook feeds, nothing…
Within three days of entering the race, his fellow Mormon Glenn Beck had Evan McMullin on the show, but had not yet had Darrell Castle (nor his LDS running mate) on his show. In fact, Castle was forced onto the Pat & Stu Show when he was finally accepted on The Blaze and was diminished to an 8 minute interview. Evan McMullin received a 33 minute interview, failed the only two tests he was given by the Beck crew, then was invited back on 10/13/16 (while being mistakenly credited with Darrell Castle’s ballot access in the headline) and 10/14/16 for two days of interviews on his show.
The Utah Media Leading Up to the Recent Poll Spikes and the Utah Pollsters
Perhaps the most astonishing find in researching this phenomena was the favoritism bestowed upon Evan McMullin by the Utah media. Ben McClintock of defendingutah.org
must have wondered the same. He released simple research just over one week ago, after the first poll showing McMullin closing the gap on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Of the two major news outlets in Utah, KSL TV and The Salt Lake Tribune, Evan McMullin had received over 4800 mentions, only surpassed by Gary Johnson among 3rd Party Candidates jointly, but still with over FIVE TIMES the mentions of Gary Johnson or Jill Stein on KSL. The Darrell Castle campaign only pooled 13 mentions out of both sources combined. Why such a discrepancy? After all, Darrell Castle’s running mate, Dr. Scott N. Bradley, is a Utah native as well and has actually ran for a U.S. Senate seat twice.
So what’s the big deal as long as the polls listed everyone over a certain percentage of national ballot access? It would be fair game, right? There in lies another problem. All five polls in the recent RealClear Politics polling only listed five candidates; Clinton, Trump, Johnson, Stein, and McMullin. The polls are listed here: Emerson, Heat Street, CBS News, Monmouth, and Y2 Analytics. Ever heard of any of them except CBS or Monmouth? Nah? Me neither. Those two have Trump leading while the others show McMullin in a statistical tie or in the lead. It only takes one to start the unearned momentum, that was Y2 Analytics.
Should you worry about who is bringing us Evan McMullin?
My advice is a resounding “Yes!”. Why wouldn’t we worry about Evan McMullin when the circumstances surrounding his bid for the presidency are far more suspicious and just as advantageous for the left as Donald Trump’s run? Why, as conservatives, would we give him a pass? Because he’s a more eloquent speaker? Are we really so gullible and unprincipled. I said early in the article that I would not touch upon Evan McMullin’s policies and I won’t. I will leave a couple of links for that, however. The information in the first link was meticulously researched and the sources for all information within it are linked throughout the article. The second link is a comparison chart between the main four center-to-right candidates in the race. The information regarding Evan McMullin in the chart was extracted from the article in the first link.
If this were ever truly about principles, constitutionalism, and conservatism; then at least do your due diligence. Read them. God Bless.