The Unethical Candidacy Of Evan McMullin


From Wikipedia:

“McMullin will likely not appear on enough ballots to win the necessary Electoral College majority of 270 electoral votes. However, McMullin hopes to deny a majority of the electoral vote from either of the two major party candidates. In such a scenario, under the the terms of the Twelfth Amendment, the House of Representatives would select among the top-three electoral vote winners. McMullin hopes that he could win the presidential election by finishing among the top-three electoral vote winners, and then winning the contingent election in the House.”

Reportedly, Evan McMullin also hopes to some day be able to burrow to China, like a mole, so he can see the terracotta warriors without paying airfare and going through Customs. (All right, I made that up.)

How ridiculous do  a Presidential candidate’s “hopes” have to be before they disqualify him to be President? Whatever the answer is, Evan McMullin has lapped it. Either he is dangerously detached from reality, or he’s exploiting deperate voters by lying to them. On the chart above, only the orange states have McMullin on the ballot. The yellow states allow write-ins, which mean he is on the ballot exactly as I am, or Donald Duck, Batman, and Britney Spears. In the rest, you can’t vote for him at all.

McMullin didn’t even announce his candidacy until August 8. Why the rush, Evan? This is like the joke about Poland’s greatest comedian being asked what the secret to comedy is, and before the question is completed he shouts, “Timing!” Timing is essential to effective leadership too, as the dithering style of Barack Obama has shown in many tragic ways. [I expect him to give an eloquent speech about the dangers of racial distrust and attacks on the rule of law —as, for example, in this fiasco—sometime in 2018. Probably on a golf course.] It was clear to anyone paying attention that the U.S. was going to be stuck with a Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton binary hell-choice by the end of May, when the Libertarian Party demonstrated to the world that it is a joke. Was McMullin not paying attention? That’s a bad sign, don’t you think?

The U.S. Presidency is important, and elections are important. One of the first times I wrote a post critical of Donald Trump was when he first floated the idea of running for President several cycles ago, and it was clear—then— that he was doing it as a publicity stunt.  This was signature significance, I wrote.  Only a massive jerk (I already knew Trump was a massive jerk, of course) with no concern for his country sets out to confuse and confound the easily confused and confounded American voter by throwing random pollution into the Presidential campaign. After the 2000 election, where the twin ego-driven campaigns of Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan probably changed the identity of the next President by sheer chance, it was obvious that nobody should put themselves on the ballot unless there is a very good reason related to the nation’s welfare. Building a credible third party option over time is a good reason, or can be if the party doesn’t try to do it by nominating an incompetent. Running for President for vanity, or to sell merchandise, or to get speaking gigs, is not a good reason. It is unethical.

McMullin is running as an independent, but there is no real independent party. He’s running to win Utah, but you can’t be President of Utah. He can’t hurt Clinton, but he can hurt Trump. Oh, right—the House scenario. Did you know that Charles Guiteau shot Garfield believing that the nation would turn to him, a screwball disbarred lawyer, once Garfield was dead? Guiteau ‘s plan was exactly as plausible as McMullin’s.

Only being on the ballots of Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina and Kentucky, all McMullin can do is distort the election process, and, of course, provide an imaginary balm for self-deluded Americans who feel they have a responsibility to vote but who lack the courage to meaningfully participate in a crucial, if nauseating, choice, leaving the miserable work to the rest of us while preparing to roll their eyes to heaven, act superior and say  “Don’t blame me!” for the next four years.

It’s unethical to provide temptations to make others behave unethically, like persuading them to vote for phony candidates. It is unethical to intentionally throw random factors into a Presidential  election. It is unethical to run for President without a clear and responsible purpose.

Evan McMullin is an unethical candidate, and we have too many of those already.

56 thoughts on “The Unethical Candidacy Of Evan McMullin

  1. The yellow states allow write-ins, which mean he is on the ballot exactly as I am, or Donald Duck, Batman, and Britney Spears. In the rest, you can’t vote for him at all.

    Many of those states, including mine, require write-in candidates to register as such so if John Smith wins as a write-in they know which John Smith to swear in.

    Incidentally, that unopposed judicial candidate you wrote about not long ago has a write-in opponent who the Chicago Bar Association was kind enough to add to their pocket guide.

    McMullin hopes that he could win the presidential election by finishing among the top-three electoral vote winners, and then winning the contingent election in the House.

    Worked for John Quincy Adams… sort of.

  2. If I trusted write-ins, I might consider writing him in. As it is, I’m just leaving the top spot blank. I am a person of honor, and there is no honorable end in pulling the lever for a woman with no honor who will lead this nation down the same dishonorable path it has been traveling for almost eight years and probably cement it on that path. There is also no honor in pulling the lever for Trump, also a man without honor, save that he might (emphasize MIGHT) lead this nation down a less dishonorable path if he was going to get elected. He’s not going to get elected and he’s definitely not carrying NJ, so there is no value in me sacrificing my personal honor (and believe me, I would be sacrificing a chunk of it if not all of it to pull the lever for this jerk) to take a chance on getting a more honorable result for the nation as a whole. I have spent too long opposing the Democratic Party and all it stands for, and pointing out the many, many flaws of Hillary, to turn coat now. I also spoke out against Trump, and called him a would-be Franco and American Berlusconi, neither of which this nation needs or deserves. I’ve done my part, my conscience is clear, we know which way this is going. I won’t own the proto-tyranny of Hillary and I won’t own the disaster that Trump would be. You can own it if you want, but I believe that if you pull the lever for Hillary Rotten Clinton, knowing everything we know about her, you then forfeit the right to credibly criticize her.

    I think at this point the best we can hope for is what Mitt Romney said: vote down ticket to avoid giving the hag-in-chief a blank check, and wash our hands of Trump and all the baggage he carries. Then we step back and watch everything fall apart on Hillary’s watch as Obamacare turns into a meltdown, and tell her your party created it, now your party can damn well fix it! Our job at this point is to stop you at every turn, same as you have tried to do every time we win an election (recalls, violent protests, legislatures fleeing the state) , by whatever means necessary.

    • You can own it if you want, but I believe that if you pull the lever for Hillary Rotten Clinton, knowing everything we know about her, you then forfeit the right to credibly criticize her.

      So what should those of us who vote for Hillary Clinton do? Never criticize her? Is that really what you want?


      Why are you so determined to spread the perception that hostility to Hillary Clinton is based on her gender?

      • Those of you who support her are corrupted, end of discussion.

        Why don’t you ask Bill Maher why it was ok to refer to women on the other side as cunts and twats and Martin Bashir why it was ok to say someone should shit in Sarah Palin’s mouth?

  3. Hmmm. This would be a first. I don’t think we’ve had a completely bald presisident before. Wait! There was Eisenhower and Mr. McMullin you’re no Eisenhower!!

  4. “How ridiculous do a Presidential candidate’s “hopes” have to be before they disqualify him to be President?”

    Ask Dennis Kucinich, who stayed in the 2004 race long after John Kerry had sewn up the nomination, and was cheered on for doing so by the farther left progressives, who said that candidacies like his, while they may not result in getting elected, “drive the engines of history,” and might result in moving the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction. Ask Teddy Roosevelt, who ran a vanity revenge campaign in 1912 that destroyed William Howard Taft and put Woodrow Wilson in the White House. Ask freelover Victoria Woodhull.

  5. If the contention is “They’re worse than Clinton and Trump” I’ll disagree with you, but that’s fine, I disagree with a lot of people this cycle, and I can’t find it in me to call them /wrong/ per se.

    If however the contention is “They’re worse only because they’re third party candidates and can’t win except by extraordinary means, and therefore only acting as a spoiler on their (admittedly worse) counterparts” Then I actually think you’re wrong.

    When your party system is so broken that they produce such ringers as Hillary “Like With a Cloth?” Clinton and Donald “Grab Them By The Pussy” Trump, then maybe, just maybe you need to start seriously considering an alternative.

    Is Gary Johnson better or worse than either Clinton or Trump? By what metric? Is Evan McMullin better or worse that Clinton or Trump? By what measure? You think that Johnson is a goof? Stipulated. Better or worse than Clinton or Trump? You think that McMullin is cynical and underhanded? Stipulated. More or less than Clinton or Trump?

    This entire election ceased to be about who was “better” and started to be about who was “less awful” a long time ago.

    • The post is just smart-assery and unserious, exactly the kind of elitist, airy condescension—this isn’t a game!– that is making non-elites despise these assholes. If 538 really thinks the chances of this scenario playing out is one in q hundred, then Nat Silver and Co. are lying frauds.

      1. The odds om McMullin winning Utah are probably less than this, but lets put them at .50.
      2.The odds on the electoral college deadlocking is remote. It’s happened legitimately…err, never. Let’s call it 1000 to 1.
      3. The final likelihood that Republicans would elect someone they have no party loyalty to President is much less than that. One in a million?

      And if it happened, the results would be catastrophic, more or less immediately, and almost certainly ensure a Constitutional convention, leading to god knows what, on which a civil war would be very possible. Wouldn’t that be cool?

      • What IS serious is the FBI reopening the email investigation… maybe Comey had another friend who needs to squeeze the Clinton Foundation for a few bucks to have him bury it again.

  6. Would it be any better if he only ran on Utah (the only place where he has a fighting chance) and encourage strategic votes everywhere else?

  7. In other news: Anthony Wiener’s wiener just became pertinent again. FBI investigations into his sexting uncovered new information that revolves around Hillary’s bathroom server. Which probably means that something of some kind of classification went from Hillary to Huma to Anthony. Wonderful. Just wonderful

  8. The Cntons* (Bl and Hlary) are getting help from all quarters, it seems.
    *their real names, because after all, there are no “li”es in them

  9. You missed the entire point of why McMullin is running. You need to look at read a greater variety of sources. That might give you a more factual view.

    • Gee, Doris, do you want to keep it secret? I don’t care why he’s running. There’s no excuse for pulling off votes and distorting results when you can’t win yourself. There’s no excuse for waiting so late to take action.

      As for you, there’s no excuse for writing such a non-substantive comment. The next one like that will get you banned. Don’t tell me how to research posts. I check many sources.

      • Wait…you mean this cliched garbage?

        Now, he’s running for president because, he said, he believes “we just need better leaders in this country. We stand for the fact that we’re the only conservatives in this race and we stand for the fundamental ideals that have made this country special,” McMullin said.

        Wow! That changes everything! Most people run because they think the country needs worse leaders. Or leaders exactly like the ones it has! You’re right: the man’s a visionary! What a creative objective: get better leadership! You know, like leaders who make decisions too late to get on the ballot to become leaders!

        Now that I’ve discovered the crucial information you felt justified you impugning my research, I’m banning you now. You’re a troll, a jerk or an idiot, and I don’t care to five you another chance to show which.

  10. I have 9 presidential candidates on the ballot in my state. How is McMullin any different than the libertarian candidate? The green candidate? The Constitution Party candidate? The Prohibition party did not make the ballot, but I think the marijuana party did. Are they all unethical?

    Hillary is going to win my state. Mondale won my state. A republican has not won here since Nixon. I cannot in good conscience vote for Hillary or for Trump. Johnson disappointed me for reasons you have covered. I disagree with Stein on the issues. McMullin holds many positions that I like.

        • 1. Please stop using the urban dictionary as authority. When definitions are written specifically so particular individuals are described,” they have no use. Can someone be acting exactly as a troll without having that as their objective? I use that assumption here, on EA. McMullin is just causing trouble and confusion. The fact that he says that he has a real goal—which is completely deluded

          2. The man says he’s about leadership, and couldn’t decide to run until it was far too late. DING.

          3. The man says he can win because UTAH will be the key to the election, which it has been…NEVER. He’s either lying, or he’s an idiot.

          • Jack,
            Since you didn’t bother to define what you actually meant when you used the word “troll”, you left it wide open for any interruption. How I define a troll is different from yours so I wanted to be clear as to what I meant.

            Jack said, “Please stop using the urban dictionary as authority.”

            I’m not using “urban dictionary as authority”, I used it to share exactly what I consider a political campaign troll to be, similarly to when I use it to share what I consider something else to mean that really doesn’t have a fixed definition. That was a definition that I personally submitted to Urban Dictionary, do you think the definition is in error; if so how. Linking to the definition made it clear what I was talking about.

            Jack said, “When definitions are written specifically so particular individuals are described,” they have no use.”

            The actual definition was non-specific; however, since the Urban Dictionary requires an example (which is the part in italics), what I entered works as an example for now, I plan to add something more generic at a later date. If Urban Dictionary didn’t require an example, that sentence would not be there.

            I think that’s enough beating of Urban Dictionary drum.

            Just curious, do you think Trump is a decent example of a Political Campaign Troll as defined by the generic definition?

            I don’t consider McMullin a troll.

  11. It sounds like your argument is that since its unlikely his plan to win will work that he is therefore unethical. You should be a gymnast, as you are food at stretching.

    • No, I’m saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE for his plan to work, and that he is the election version of a troll, causing trouble and chaos just to cause trouble and chaos, because it gives him gratification somehow. That’s what “Running for President for vanity, or to sell merchandise, or to get speaking gigs, is not a good reason. It is unethical.”

      Try to comprehend what I write before issuing mistaken criticism.

      And I assume you meant “good” and not “food.” I hope so.

  12. This is the dumbest “ethics” statement i have ever heard. Evan is not lying, cheating, or decieciving the american people. HE is following all the rules, in any interview i have seen he is completely up front with his strategy. If you don’t like him fine, if you have issues with his viewpoint not a problem. To say it is unethical is just plain wrong.

    • Well, you have not dealt with a single reason I gave for why he is unethical. That was no rebuttal. That was denial. Again, he’s messing with the election and adding random confounding factors for no practical reason, other than grandstanding.

      Unethical. And you know relatively nothing about him except his resume. He hasn’t held elective office, and has no relevant experience. Why not write in the name of your best friend or favorite professor? It’s no less of a gamble, but just as irresponsible.

  13. In most elections (primary or general elections) I look at the top two candidates, then pick one – even if there is someone else I personally would like better. There’s got to be some balance between practicality and principle.

    In this election, however, I will vote McMullin. Voting for a third party or an independent is the only ethical choice. To vote for Trump, to some degree, gives approval from society (and you personally) for what he says and does. I’m afraid the damage that would do to our society is even worse than the corruption of another Clinton presidency. Which is worse? I don’t know. I can’t ethically support either, however, so I must vote for someone else. That balance between practicality and principle? It goes both ways. You can’t completely abandon principle for the sake of practicality either.

    Evan looks like he would actually be a good president. I like his résumé, his principles and, as much as is known, his character. His chances are slim, but I’ll take them.

    • His chances are zero, and pretending otherwise is self-delusion to support a comforting rationalization. Hillary Clinton would look like a promising if she was a little known as McMullin, And citizens are all equally accountable for the leaders we elect: it’s our country. It is a societal binary choice, and refusing to engage meaningfully in the process is an abdication of duty.

  14. One of the reasons I participate here is the primary focus on ethics and the overall feeling I get that most people are tolerant of opposing opinions even though we can get in some heated discussions. I value a majority of the opinions around here and this is why I feel reasonably comfortable in presenting this here.

    I know this is a bit off topic but I literally have no where else to go. This is an honest question for anyone willing to answer it. This is something to help my situation, nothing more, nothing less.

    Question 1: How do I prevent a personal dissonance drag (#12 on Jacks list) from taking hold when you’re repetitively faced with saint’s excuse (#13 on Jacks list) arguments from a person exercising self-validating virtue (#14 on Jacks list)?

    Question 2: How do I prevent myself from falling into the trap of being a person that unknowingly uses the saint’s excuse while being swallowed by a self-validating virtue?

    Those are serious questions regarding a dilemma I’m faced with.

    • For question 1, I suggest framing the situation to yourself as if you are an outsider listening to it, or even reading about it in a book. If you forget any emotional history you have with this person, or any other good deeds they might have done, you can view their current actions in isolation and judge them independently. Does that help?

      Question 2 has a similar answer. Try imagining that you’re an outside observer on your own actions. Is what you’re doing something that you’d let someone else get away with, even knowing they had done some good things that they would use as an excuse? Mindfulness, metacognition, and methods of rationality are powerful tools for addressing the problems you describe.

      Full disclosure: I struggle with resisting the saint’s excuse as well. The approach I use in addition to the above is to avoid situations where I would feel the “need” to do something I’d make an excuse for. Furthermore, I gradually strengthen and hone my skills so that I can accept the consequences of my actions without fear, and accomplish goals without the risk of making an ethical misstep.

      How does that sound?

      • Extradimensional Cephalopod,
        I’m sure there are others that struggle with these kind of things once in a while too, some may not even recognize it when it’s staring them in the face. I’ll take your valuable input into consideration. Thanks for taking the time to respond, I genuinely appreciate it.

        P.S. Every time I see your handle and the associated photo it reminds me of a Buckaroo Banzai move from the 80’s.

      • I’ve thought about your reply for a while and since you took the time to think this through I’d like to ask you follow up questions.

        Consider for a moment…

        Would you privately and respectfully approach the subject with the individual?

        If you were the individual being approached, how do you think you would react?

        • I would probably strike up a conversation in private. It might start out about something different and I would guide it towards the desired subject, or I might flat-out ask. The important thing starting out is to build ethos, so the person understands you’re standing on the same side looking at the situation rather than on opposite sides looking at each other (clever imagery not mine). If they’re already comfortable talking to you, you probably don’t need so much buildup.

          Then I’d would ask questions as a curious but nonjudgmental person, and provide suggested counterpoints where appropriate, but at every turn demonstrate that I can understand and appreciate how a person may be motivated to do what they are doing. If I feel the person is doing something wrong, I would describe the consequences of their actions to them and to others and let them consider the implications, rather than simply pronouncing a normative judgment.

          If a person is using a rationalization, that almost by definition means they want something and are afraid they cannot get it except by the means they are using, but they want to maintain a self-image as an ethical person. If you can figure out what they want, you can figure out how they can achieve it some other way, or you can put it in perspective by comparing it to a similar situation with a hypothetical stranger to make the goal seem less significant. Since trying new methods is intimidating, and giving up a goal outright is depressing, they will need emotional support if they are to even allow themselves to consider being wrong and therefore having to change.

          All of the above is part of deconstruction mindset: the combination of analysis and empathy, which allows you to enter someone else’s paradigm, define it functionally, and reveal its flaws to the person in ways that they can understand and accept. It is a difficult but very rewarding mindset, and one we desperately need more of in this world.

          To answer your second question, it were me being approached and made to confront my rationalization, I would seek out the support in order to start behaving more ethically by changing my methods or giving up the desire that I was pursuing. It wouldn’t take much to make me look honestly at the situation, but it would take more emotional support to get me to change my ways, depending on how important the goal and how difficult the change. I am by no means cowardly intellectually, but am still overcoming cowardice when it comes to expenditure of effort. Other people may still have problems confronting their unethical behavior in the first place. That’s where the deconstruction comes in.

          As a general case, without knowing what behavior is being rationalized, that’s my take on the situation. Does that help?

          • Extradimensional Cephalopod asked, “Does that help?”

            You went a whole lot further than I asked by presenting how to, but yes it might help down the road if necessary. Thanks for the efforts!

            I’ve actually chosen and already implemented a different approach. Rather than any direct confrontation regarding this, I’ve chosen a method that I hope will steer towards self revelation. This is a very intelligent person and I think this is the best way for this particular individual and the circumstances; plus for this individual, I think the long term effect using this approach will be very positive. I genuinely hope self awareness takes hold. I’m sure the results, whether positive or negative, will be obvious to me.

            True character will drive us to stand up for what we believe is right and stand against that which we believe is wrong. Sometimes it’s difficult to know the right path but you gotta put one foot in front of the other and move forward.

            Here’s to hope.

            • Sounds like a good first approach; they would probably appreciate that, and it makes it easier for them to accept if they’re lead to reach the conclusion without explicitly being told. If it doesn’t work, there’s nothing preventing you from just talking to them later.

              The approach you’re using can be very effective if you understand well the person you’re working with. I hope you succeed one way or another. You’re definitely a good friend to make the effort; most people would leave their friends to their own devices and call it “respect”.

              Standing up for what we believe is right is hard, but what may be harder is questioning what we believe is right and finding sensible resolutions. You’re right; we have to move forward regardless, because otherwise nothing can improve.

  15. The main issue with this whole Trolley Problem of an election is that just like the classic Trolley Problem (allow the trolley to kill five people, or redirect it to kill only one person), people are focusing too much on the binary question which has no good outcome. I get the pragmatism of ensuring that the less terrible of the two nigh-inevitable candidates is elected. I understand that that may mean voting for that person. However, just like how the trolley problem would play out in real life, once we cut our losses, write off the damages, and send our condolences, we still need to ask ourselves a few key questions:

    How did this happen, and how can we prevent it from happening again?

    Jack, I don’t think you’re saying that all third party candidates are automatically unethical because they draw votes away from the two major parties. After all, in theory, the major parties will be offering candidates that would either one of them be acceptable. In theory, we should all be on the same page as far as ethics are concerned, and the only disputes would be about convention and personal preference, so there wouldn’t be any major factions representing ideological false dichotomies.
    How then did we end up with the major political parties fielding candidates such as these? I’ve heard the situation described eloquently in several ways: Alien vs. Predator (Trump and Clinton, respectively, “whoever wins, we lose”), and “Trump represents everything bad about the American public; Clinton represents everything bad about the American government.”

    By way of explanation, I submit exhibit A:

    Now, no matter what happens in this election, we’ll need to run damage control, and we’ll need to root out the causes of this debacle of democracy: the complacency, insecurity, and ignorance of the American people. Where will all the eloquent critics be then? It’s not enough to describe what is wrong. We must construct something that is right.

    By way of solution, I submit exhibit B:

    • Extradimensional Cephalopod said, “Trump represents everything bad about the American public; Clinton represents everything bad about the American government.”

      I’m going to take the liberty to elaborate on that point a bit.

      Trump represents the exacerbation of everything unethical about the American public and is anti current government establishment; Clinton also represents everything unethical about the American people and everything unethical about the the current government establishment.

      They are both 100% tapped into that segment of society that actively rationalize what the candidates do and say and firmly believe that the ends justify the means. Trump and Clinton are political hacks tapping into a constituency full of pissed off political hacks.

      I’ve heard the drums beating daily; “Anyone but Trump!” and “Anyone but Clinton!” I believe that all those that choose to vote for Clinton to keep Trump out of the White House personify the ends justify the means and all those that choose to vote for Trump to keep Clinton out of the white House also personify the ends justify the means.

      In my opinion; the United States culture is in the midst of an ethical flush. The government has become what we have allowed it to become; there will be no lasting solution until We the People choose to change ourselves, we are the root problem.

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