About Our People Legal Stuff Careers

Evan McMullin's strategy to win the White House hasn't been used in nearly 200 years


Evan McMullin's strategy to win the White House hasn't been used in nearly 200 years

WATCH: Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin discusses his long-shot campaign to save the GOP from Donald Trump.

Evan McMullin, a 40-year-old ex-CIA officer and Republican Capitol Hill staffer is the defender of the "old" in the Grand Old Party.

"Somebody needed to stand up to Trump at this time to differentiate from his hateful rhetoric, and ignorant rhetoric, and silly policy positioning with true conservatism," he said.

As the center-right option to Trump and conservative alternative to Clinton, McMullin wants to preserve America's religious values and military dominance while embracing free market capitalism.

And he has an impressive resume, which includes a decade in the CIA, an MBA from Wharton and a position as the chief policy director for Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Yet, McMullin, who announced his presidential campaign as an independent candidate in August, has little name recognition, no national party backing, no built-in fundraising operation, and he won't even make the ballot nationwide.  

For the record, his campaign slogan is: "It's never too late to do the right thing."

So what's his plan to win?

We can challenge Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in such a way that neither of them gets a majority in the electoral college .
Evan McMillan

Simple: Make sure that neither Trump nor Clinton gets a majority of votes from the electoral college.

If that happens (and it's a big if), that means the vote would go to the House of Representatives.

No presidential election has gone to the House since 1824.  For this to be the first election in almost 200 years to be decided by the House and not  the voters, McMullin would have to prevent both Trump and Clinton from winning 270 electoral votes.

That's something that Brookings Institute governance studies fellow John Hudak says isn't going to happen.

"There is zero chance that Evan McMullin is going to force this race into the House of Representatives," Hudak said.

McMullin knows the long odds.

For example, to block Clinton from getting to 270 electoral votes, he would have to keep her from winning more than one swing states plus win at least one state himself.  Just to let you know how hard that is, a third party candidate in a presidential election hasn't won a state since 1968.

He is on the ballot in several states including Utah, Arkansas, Idaho, Colorado and Minnesota. But McMullin said being on the ballot in each state isn't even his goal.  It's also about protecting conservatism.

He's a spoiler and he's a spoiler for Republicans.
John Hudak, Brookings Institute

But some say that McMullin could actually be hurting the party he's trying to preserve.

"He's a spoiler and he's a spoiler for Republicans," Hudak told Circa. "Republicans are going to have spend money in one of the most conservative states in America. And that's very harmful when that money could be better spent in Michigan, Ohio, or Florida."

"In the last week of August of this year, this race is not a close one. And what Evan McMullin does... is not likely to have a meaningful impact," Hudak said.

But McMullin said that many American voters are deeply dissatisfied with the two major candidates and are ready for new leadership.

"I strongly believe that," he said. "We need a better option."

Is McMullin right that America deserves better than a Clinton- Trump election?

Is McMullin wasting his time? Weigh in on our poll. 

Read Comments
Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest Linked In List Menu Enlarge Gallery Info Menu Close Angle Down Angle Up Angle Left Angle Right Grid Grid Play Align Left Search Youtube Mail Mail Angle Down Bookmark