I desperately wanted to vote for Austin Petersen as a Libertarian, but that party went with Gary Johnson instead. So I felt like my only choice was Evan McMullin was the only candidate I could stand behind, and I wrote him in.
I took a lot of heat from friends for my choice. One friend on Facebook told me to get off my high horse, while another asked me if I could reconcile not voting for Trump with my conscience. (Oddly enough, that same second friend raked me over the coals when I shared a Babylon Bee article satirizing Jen Hatmaker, telling me that if I spent more time with LGBT people I wouldn’t be so insensitive.)
In the run up to the election, McMullin had a clear conservative message that resonated with me. Yes, his bid for the White House was quixotic, but he gave conservatives a choice they could be proud of. It was easy for me to vote for him and still hold my head high, again partially because I knew I could vote third party and still not hand Georgia’s electoral votes over to Hillary Clinton.
Since the election, McMullin’s message has become somewhat of a more nuanced version of the eight-year-old’s argument: “Donald Trump’s a jerk.” Unlike so many conservatives who are at least willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt and call balls and strikes when necessary, McMullin is operating from a hardline Never Trump stance.
Late Tuesday night, McMullin quote-tweeted a tweet from the president, adding a comment that should make conservatives recoil in horror.
America’s first Russian president? Wow, the most ardent leftists should be proud, because McMullin is now parroting their line. When the concept of collusion with Russia is the left’s default argument against a Republican chief executive, conservatives would do well to avoid it like the plague. Yet McMullin throws the line around as though it’s a credible assertion.
But it’s not credible. And neither is McMullin if he’s going to repackage leftist talking points to attack the president. It’s one thing to call out Trump when he does something stupid or when he breaks a promise; it’s a whole other thing to mimic a leftist attack that doesn’t ring true. That’s certainly no way to provide a conservative alternative to today’s Republican party.