I honestly am not sure that I have lived through a year as terrible as 2016. From Antonin Scalia back in February to Arnold Palmer and Shimon Peres now in September, some truly great people have departed us from this realm. The Democratic Party has endorsed as its presidential nominee a brutally corrupted cronyist and congenital liar who should probably be in jail for serially undermining American national security. The Republican Party, in nominating an “alt-right” god-king who is potentially the most catastrophically unfit person to ever receive the nomination of a major political party in American history, effectively committed suicide at its national convention in Cleveland. Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan weep.
As regular readers of this site know, I am proudly and unapologetically #NeverTrump. (Almost all of us here at The Resurgent are, for that matter; it helps to have one of the most principled conservatives in the country to lead us.) After Ted Cruz dropped out of the GOP presidential primary race on May 3rd and I attempted to define our opposition movement as the Resistance on the following day, I then wrote a “#NeverTrump Cheat Sheet” that laid out our possible ballot box options. In July, I revisited the cheat sheet and proclaimed that I would write in Ted Cruz’s name for President of the United States this November.
Since 2016 is 2016 and therefore just unprecedentedly horrible in every conceivable way, however, the situation since then has changed. By thanklessly standing on principle in Cleveland, Ted first made me proud to have written the write-in vote piece. It was truly the proudest I have ever been of Ted.
But the sentiment proved rather short-lived.
Last week, I gave at least six reasons as to why Ted should not do what he ended up doing: endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States. With what I perceived to be an inner circle of advisors and confidantes bitterly divided on the issue of the Trump endorsement, Ted ultimately made the endorsement. None of the information, with the exception of the fig leaf of my former boss Sen. Mike Lee appearing on Trump’s revised SCOTUS judges list, was unavailable to Ted when he made his stand in Cleveland. I do not say it lightly about a man I respect and admire as much as Ted, but I believe his backtracking away from his Cleveland stand represents a profound mistake in judgment which transparently reeks of oleaginous political calculation over stalwart principle. For a man whose entire brand is predicated on “principle above all else,” it is a terrible look and a weak play. Ted is a good man, but he will be dealing with the repercussions of letting down so many of his most ardent supporters for a very long time.
I will not write in the name of a candidate who has endorsed Donald Trump. I just do not see the point in doing that. I might as well write in Mickey Mouse or Kermit the Frog; at least they have not endorsed the orange-hued narcissistic vulgarian that a plurality of Party of Lincoln primary voters apparently thinks should be President.
Gary Johnson is just a truly awful candidate and, as I explained in June, I will not vote for him, either. Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party is an Infowars-style conspiracy theorist—no thanks.
And so we get to Evan McMullin, who is, no doubt, a “sane alternative” to the Trump-Clinton dumpster fire. He has been certified as a write-in candidate by my voting jurisdiction of Texas, so my voting history will not reflect that I abstained from voting for a presidential candidate this year. As Mona Charen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and National Review tweeted, one can ignore all other pertinent information and still conclude that, in comparison to Trump and Clinton, McMullin—like most people I run into at the local grocery store—is more qualified to be President.
I am not super enthusiastic about McMullin on the merits, to be honest. I think he is conscientiously trying to court the Chamber of Commerce wing of the #NeverTrump contingent much more than he is trying to court the
Cruz/Lee/Sasse constitutional conservative wing of #NeverTrump. But Evan McMullin is still a conservative. He has actually conservative instincts. He is pro-life, and he understands both the enduring imperatives of free market economics and a Reaganite “peace through strength” foreign policy. His grasp of conservative first principles stands in marked contrast to the bloviating clown show that is the GOP’s fraudster of a nominee.
Compared with Trump and Clinton, McMullin is simply a no-brainer alternative. Unlike Gary Johnson, he knows more about foreign policy than does the median dude pumping gas at the local station. Also unlike Gary Johnson, he believes in the inherent dignity of the unborn. He is a patriot who has served his country honorably as a CIA operations officer.
This election cycle, he is very clearly the superior choice for #NeverTrump conservative holdouts. I will vote for him, and I happily encourage others to vote their conscience and do the same.