Evan McMullin has no chance to win the presidency.
Likely scenarios, in order:
1. Hillary Clinton gets over 270 electoral votes.
2. Neither candidate gets 270 electoral votes, and Evan McMullin wins Utah.
3. Donald Trump gets 270 electoral votes.
SCENARIO #1 – Hillary Clinton Gets Over 270 Electoral Votes
If you removed all toss-up states from the RCP Electoral Map – meaning if a candidate has an average of 0.1% better than the other in the polls, you give them the state – then Hillary Clinton would win 333 electoral votes.
In order for her to get under 270, she would have to lose:
Florida (29), where she’s up 0.7%
Arizona (11), where she’s up 1.5%
Nevada (6), where she’s up 2.0%
North Carolina (15), where she’s up 2.4%
Doable, right? But we’re still not there. She would also have to lose Pennsylvania (20), where she’s up 5%. And that’s assuming Trump wins all of the states where he’s ahead by 0.1% or more today. For example, he’s only up 1.1% in Ohio.
How did those states go in 2012?
Florida – Obama 0.9%
Arizona – Romney 9.1%
Nevada – Obama 6.7%
North Carolina – Romney 2.0%
Pennsylvania – Obama 5.4%
Ohio – Obama 3.0%
(That’s right. Trump is losing two states Romney won.)
SCENARIO #2 – Neither Clinton Nor Trump Get to 270; McMullin Wins Utah
There would have to be serious shenanigans and poll-swings for it to work out this way. Clinton would have to lose Pennsylvania but win North Carolina and have a couple other unexpected outcomes for that to result. If it did, it would go to the House. (Reread the 12th Amendment; it’s fun!)
Under a circumstance like this, Trump would have won 27-28 states. Now even though Evan McMullin harshly criticized Chris Stewart and Jason Chaffetz for publicly announcing they would vote for Trump, let’s assume they go along with Rob Bishop and Mia Love and give Utah’s vote to McMullin. Would a single other Trump state vote for McMullin? Highly highly doubtful. Under this scenario, if Clinton doesn’t get to 270, Trump will be the next president.
SCENARIO #3 – Trump Wins 270 Electoral Votes
Same as #2, but Utah goes to Trump. It still results in Pres. Trump.
SO WHY VOTE FOR McMULLIN?
I’ve taken the ISideWith quiz a few times over the past year or so, and the usual results (since McMullin has been added) is that I agree with Gary Johnson the most, but McMullin comes in second. If Gary Johnson was polling in double-digits in Utah, I probably would have voted for him, but as he is a distant fourth, I look at the top three.
The Utah Republicans are sending a message by not uniformly backing Trump. Previous candidates have had numerous sins/flaws/imperfections that Utah still voted for, because hey, he’s our guy! We knew Bob Dole would lose; still voted for him. Utah still went for Nixon twice, Ford, Reagan, Bushes 41 & 43, McCain and Romney.
But Donald Trump is different. It was only a few years ago he was a registered Democrat. He even donated to previous Hillary Clinton campaigns. Trump is a guy who boasted about cheating on his wives and trying to get married women to cheat on their spouses with him. Trump is a guy who’s demonstrated that being rich and famous means he can just kiss women or grab them by the p***y, and they’ll just let him. “What is consent?”
Everyone who’s ever run for president has had to have a little bit of narcissism in them to some degree, but I have yet to see evidence we’ve ever had one that was more narcissistic than Trump. And since he’s been surrounded by yes-men his whole life, he still at age 70 doesn’t seem to know how to handle criticism or show restraint, like he was emotionally stunted at age 7.
You know the litany of Trump’s disqualifying moments that have only helped him win. Mocking the disabled reporter, misogynist comments about the likes of Carly Fiorina and Megyn Kelly, banning all Muslims from entering the US, attacking the Khan family, saying that Bush knowingly lied to get us into Iraq, saying that he’ll order US troops to commit war crimes against suspected terrorists and their families. And so forth.
I understand why some Utah Republicans are still voting for Trump. Hillary Clinton is the least ethical candidate the Democrats have put up in my lifetime. Her view of the role of the Supreme Court has zero consideration for the Constitution. “However bad Trump may be, Hillary’s worse.” Hillary might be worse in some ways, but you can’t say Trump won’t be worse in many ways himself.
I look at who Trump surrounds himself with, and what these people have to say to defend him. Breitbart’s Steve Bannon is a raging anti-Semite whose goal seems to be more on destroying the GOP and getting revenge on the Clintons than actually building a governable coalition. Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and Chris Christie have destroyed their credibility. Kellyanne Conway has been Olympic-medal-worthy in her acrobatic spinning. Reince Preibus has been a hapless RNC Chair.
I look at that subsection that Trump’s inspired. The alt-right thugs that tweet about putting Jews and “cucks” in gas chambers. Those people are not my people.
So I expect Trump to go down in flames. We don’t know what October surprises are still to come, but I can’t imagine anything that would make Clinton lose. If James Comey came out next week and said that you know what, he actually does recommend that Hillary Clinton be indicted, she’ll still win.
But Utah has a chance to make a statement to the rest of the country. Sure, McMullin has not been thoroughly vetted, and his candidacy may be just the first step before he runs for some Utah office in 2018. I have no idea if he’d be a good president. It doesn’t matter, because he won’t be the next president. But if Utah’s electoral votes can go to anyone else besides two of the least trustworthy candidates in history, then that’s great.