Evan McMullin

Has Evan McMullin Proven He Has Party-Building Power?

His ballot access record doesn't really show it.

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McKay Coppins at Buzzfeed is very impressed with the political machine might of renegade CIA Mormon former Republican Evan McMullin, who is polling strong in his home state of Utah. He believes, according to his headline, that "Evan McMullin Isn't Just Running For President — He's Literally Building A New Party."

Evan McMullin campaign

I don't think the actual reported details, or recent American history (see the quick fade of the "Reform Party" in the wake of the last time an independent candidate, Ross Perot, did surprisingly well in a presidential run and then tried to spin a Party off that success) support that belief that a McMullin Party will be significant in America's political future, though only time will tell, as they say.

But one of the details Coppins uses to support the notion McMullin has some real political machine savvy behind him doesn't quite do so. Coppins writes that "According to his advisers, they've assembled serious state organizations across the country on a shoestring budget, enabling them to hustle their way onto 11 state ballots in the space of just 10 weeks."

Let's see how "serious" an operation one would need to achieve that.

Caveat: Unless one is a ballot access lawyer or professional, one might not be aware of certain specific tricks and complications with specific states. For sure that achivement is a sign that his campaign was able to hire a pro or two to read, study, and understand the specific requirements of the hows, wheres, and from whos of ballot access. It's always a little tricky, by design.

But the surface money and/or signature requirements for the 11 states McMullin made are not particular signs of a juggernaut machine moving forward to flatten the GOP (or the Libertarians, perhaps their true target to begin with).

According to this very useful compilation of deadlines and requirements from America's undisputed ballot access guru Richard Winger, longtime publisher of Ballot Access News, getting on those 11 ballots as an independent non-Party candidate (for the states where McMullin wasn't merely adopted by an existing Party structure that had already done the work) required a total of 14,500 signatures collected and $1,500 dollars spent. (That is the dollars-as-dollars in the states of Colorado and Louisiana which allow a pure money solution, not the dollars that almost certainly had to be paid to professional signature gatherers, always a big expense for small parties or independents.)

That's 1,400 or so signatures a week, or 200 a day. Five petitioners working eight-hour days would need to net five signatures an hour to achieve that. It isn't nothing, but I wouldn't use it as proof of stunning organizational power.

Excluded from that signature tally is New Mexico, which was a special and interesting case; it had the highest signature requirements of any of the states McMullin got on, 15,388, and indeed originally the state's secretary of state concluded the petitioners failed to gather enough, then after a lawsuit permitted him on the ballot in a pre-trial settlement. But you can add that number as well for a fuller, yet still not staggeringly impressive, assessment of the ballot access power of those on the McMullin team.

The New Mexico victory was besides technically won by the "Better for America" organization, which predated McMullin's own personal organization and is officially now dormant.

As I wrote back in June, getting on the ballot from that point was a little difficult, but not impossible, and McMullin's machine grabbed only the lowest hanging fruit.

Richard Winger at Ballot Access News details how even McMullin's small successes were achieved:

in five of those [11] states, the ticket could not have got on the ballot if prior minor party and independent presidential candidates hadn't won lawsuits against ballot access laws…

Not withstanding all the assistance that prior ballot access activism had done to benefit McMullin, the McMullin campaign has refused to join in any efforts to ease the ballot access laws. Even though he said he would sue states with unconstitutional ballot access laws, he did not do so.

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  1. Jesus Reason, if you keep writing articles about this guy he’s going to get a swelled head.

    1. Can’t wait for another Johnson article.

    2. OK Grinch. You win.

    3. Oddly, it does seem like a fitting head for the Oval Office.

  2. renegade CIA Mormon

    “like Jason Bourne… only boring”

  3. Jesse, we need to cook!

  4. From what I understand, Mormons are insanely politically active. Mormons are a disproportionate percentage of law enforcement, federal agencies, and elected officials. I believe it’s actually encourage as part of their religion.

    So, I’m not surprised that he’s doing so well in Utah – he’s got the backing in a very politically active state. How is he polling in the other 10 states that he’s on the ballot?

    It is pretty annoying that he might keep Johnson from getting the 5% needed to qualify for federal funding for the Libertarian party in 2020.

    1. May I add an opinion?

      “So, I’m not surprised that he’s doing so well in Utah – he’s got the backing in a very politically active state religion in all but name.”

      When McMullin’s usefulness as Romney’s Revenge expires, he will fade back into obscurity.

      1. Actually, McMullin is a Bill Kristol plant. It’s not Romney’s doing.

    2. Mormons are active at the grassroots and precinct level throughout the West – much like evangelicals are for the GOP and unions are for the Dems – and like the machines used to be before the top-down wholesale model (ads, donors, consultants, mass media) came into being. Those groups understand that the stronger they themselves are, the more likely it is that they can either a)choose the candidates they want or b)get the candidates to pay attention to their issues. The notion implied in this article – that McMuffin has created this is silly top-down nonsense. Candidates are all top-downers now with the exception of Obama who was a ‘community organizer’. McMuffin is doing well in Utah because grassroots Mormons picked him as their candidate to GOTV for.

      And the real reason we don’t have third parties in the US now is because none of them actually build this sort of organization. Perot did fund that sort of stuff and it worked for awhile but the Reform Party ended up more of an ego vehicle. LP and Greens simply refuse to do this stuff – too much heavy lifting and too little opportunity for wildeyed theory. Much easier to just sit around and wait to be saved by the charismatic 1000-1 longshot – and then whine.

      1. “LP…simply refuse to do this stuff – too much heavy lifting and too little opportunity for wildeyed theory.” — Then how did the Libertarian Party get on the ballot everywhere for the 2016 presidential election? Ballot access is the biggest area of effort for the LP in my state and the others of which I have some knowledge.

        1. And they do a great job of that too. But they have got to build a sustainable organization on whatever base they are using to get the signatures. Because in most places, the LP candidate doesn’t even get as many votes as the number of signatures they gathered to get on the ballot. Maybe I hyperbolized the problem here but there is a real problem taking that next step.

  5. That Ed McMuffin guy groped me at a beauty pageant in 1994.

    1. So what? You’re one of his wives.

      1. STOP VICTIMBLAMING!!!! Teach McMuffins not to grope!!!!

  6. He might make a compelling LP candidate next time around.

    Every day in every way, I keep wishing Rand Paul had run for governor of Kentucky rather than President.

    Rand went for too much, too soon, in a field that was far too crowded.

    Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have done much to take the sting out of being belittled as a libertarian in polite society.

    Rand would have four years of credibility as an executive.

    If Hillary wins, I expect she will be even more unpopular four years from now than she is today.

    If Trump wins, he’ll be susceptible to a Republican challenger in the primaries four years from now–especially one with governor’s mansion executive bona fides.

    Missed opportunity to give himself a real advantage in four years–just to keep a senate seat, albeit in perpetuity like his dad did.

    1. I may be mistaken, but I believe the Kaintooks elect their governor on non-presidential even-numbered years (2014, 2010, etc.). If so, Rand could still run in 2018 and be well-positioned for a 2024 bid (assuming the republic survives 4-8 of Hilldog or Trump/Pence)

      1. Finally. An optimistic libertarian.

      2. There was a challenge for McConnell’s seat by the tea party in the primaries. As I understand it, Rand more or less horse traded with McConnell. Rand gave McConnell some protection from the Tea Party, and in exchange, McConnell used his influence with establishment Republicans in Kentucky and in the Kentucky legislature to change the rules so that Rand wouldn’t have to give up his Senate seat in order to run for President.

        The Tea Party guy who lost the Republican primary to McConnell turned around and ran for the vacant governor’s mansion–and won.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Bevin

        Rand Paul could have had that governorship rather than Bevin. It was his for the taking, and Bevin would have been just as happy being the junior Senator from Kentucky.

        The real Libertarian Moment happens when the country is sick to their stomach of Hillary, but Hillary has the Democrats so sewed up that no one else can challenge her.

        Governors don’t often last for more than eight years without term limits, and Rand can stay a Senator forever.

        But the road to the White House usually goes through a governor’s mansion. We might even say Hillary took that route. Before she was a Senator from New York, she was from the governor’s mansion in Little Rock.

        1. Ah, yeah, I followed all of that as it was happening but had forgotten about it.

        2. I voted for Bevin both times around.

          From that wiki article:
          just a week before the election, a Bluegrass poll showed 45 percent support for Conway, 40 percent for Bevin, and 6 percent for Curtis.[136] The Lexington Herald-Leader noted that Bevin had trailed in every publicly released poll, and political analyst Stephen Voss said that, given the consistency of the data, “Bevin needs a sudden shift in voter preferences if he hopes to win this contest, and he may be dragging down some of his Republican ticket mates as well.”[137]

          The polls were off. On November 3, Bevin garnered 511,771 votes (53%) to Conway’s 426,944 (44%) and Curtis’ 35,629 (3%).

        3. I should add, McConnell needed help from Rand Paul with maintaining his leadership role in the Republican Party against Tea Party types, too. Otherwise, McConnell might have gone the way of that cry baby, Boehner.

    2. “Rand went for too much, too soon, in a field that was far too crowded.”

      You’re saying he dug too greedily…and too deep?

      1. And it released a pussy grabbing balrog on all of us.

        1. Just so long as Rand doesn’t [SPOILER ALERT] come back from his defeat wearing a shiny new white robe.

          1. Randalf the White. Nice.

            1. Randalf the White Supremacist

              At least that is what Huff Po called him

            2. I can see him defending the coal mines on a bridge now.
              “You shall not pass… that clean energy legislation”

    3. This is reasoning is why I’m shelving my dissapointment with Johnson and voting LP anyway. Making the 5% is important for any future LP candidates.

  7. Take note LP, find some candidates that won’t actively damage the party reputation and actually try to get elected.

    1. This is just more of the same old same old. Candidates are the last priority not the first. LP has got to build neighborhood and county level organizations. Contact registered L’s. Meet. Figure out how to contact independents and small-l’s locally. Keep meeting and having local events – esp around local issues.

      Do this and good candidates will flock to the LP. Esp in any area where there is actually only one active party.

  8. I have no idea who the f*ck Egg McMuffin is or anything that he stands for, but one thing I am completely confident of is that he is the best presidential candidate we have.

    1. He’s some neocon ex-CIA Goldman Sachs reject that Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes dug up to draw Never-Trump conservatives away from the LP. It would be very unfortunate for them if one year of Trump ruined 150 years of duopolistic control.

      1. That sounds awesome.

      2. Actually, Johnson and Weld drove NeverTrump conservatives away in droves by running as if they were auditioning to be Hillary’s veep. They seemed to believe the LP’s best chances lay in courting disaffected Berniebros. Said Berners grumbled a little but of course lined up behind Hilldawg.

  9. “Has Evan McMullin Proven He Has Party-Building Power?”

    Let’s ask him (too loud for work)

  10. I think McMuffin is going to step forward on Nov. 9th as head of some new Tea Party – like group to oppose everything Hillary says and/or does. Should be a lot of money in a Hillary presidency for conservatives like Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, Rove, Krauthammer, etc. etc.

  11. Isn’t he a Mormon? I thought they didn’t do parties?

    1. I heard it was one big seven-wife-having party. But I learned about Mormons from Arthur Conan Doyle.

      1. You meant to link to A Study in Scarlet?

        Basically, in a Holmes story, all you have to do is find the person who spent some time in the U.S. or Australia, they’ll be concealing a Dark Secret – solve the dark secret and your solve the case.

        1. and *you* solve the case.

  12. If this guy is truly planning to form a party, might I suggest a name for a party, color, and mascot? 😛

    Name: Liberty Union Party

    Color: Black

    Mascot: Bull

  13. If this guy is truly planning to form a party, might I suggest a name for a party, color, and mascot? 😛

    Name: Liberty Union Party

    Color: Black

    Mascot: Bull

  14. McMullin is nothing more than a willing pawn in the upcoming battle for the Republican Party brand name. This talk of forming a new party is just his backers positioning themselves for the coming power struggle to see which faction will control the Republican Party after this election.

    He is a tool of the Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney, et al wing of the Republican Party – national greatness conservatism of strong national defense, willingness for foreign intervention and a conservative version of the welfare state, all without the nasty rhetoric and tone of Trump.

    Deep down I do not believe his backers want a third party. That is most likely why McMullin has not been filing any ballot access lawsuits. They are big defenders of the two party system ? they just want to be in control of one of those parties. Right now with Trump at the head of the Republican Party they are not. If they did form a new party, their voter base would be just be a subset of the existing Republican base. I do not see what they espouse attracting any portion of the current Democrat’s voter base (which does not include those who are voting for Hillary this election but otherwise for Republicans down the rest of the ballot). Do they really want to further divide the anti-Hillary voters in two years and possibly give her a Democratic majority in the House and Senate?

    1. The best outcome of the 2016 election would be a shattered GOP and a realignment, forcing the SoCons into a rump party, with libertarians and “main street” conservatives who aren’t obsessed ghodbots coalescing. The latter group might go into the 2018 congressional elections and 2020 Presidential contest as the Republicans, or the SoCons might keep that name, and the non-insane group might need a new one. A possible merger with the Libertarians would give them one. Or they could be Constitutional Conservatives (ConCons) or Liberty Constitutionalists or something. Some small groups is already trying to revive the Whig name. The Constitution Party could join the ex-GOP SoCons.

      Who gets to use the “Republican” brand will depend on what happens in the 50 state parties. Then they can all fight it out in the RNC meetings and at their next national convention. Name-calling, lawsuits, floor fights, struggles over legacy real estate and bank accounts! What fun.

      Kevin R

  15. You’ll want to see this petition regarding Evan McMullin:
    http://www.ipetitions.com/peti…..christians

  16. That Utah poll image… “MOE +/- 4%” No. There are no candidates who can be called moe. Kawaii janai.

  17. You sound like an anarchist: screaming “the government can’t hurt me if I don’t believe that it exists!” Your comparison to the reform party is the most flimsy argument. That party was horribly managed, financed out the ass, and developed a ground game simultaneously to the duopoly parties.

    This article is either written out of spite since Evan McMullen took away Johnson’s place in Utah and Idaho, or out of fear that conservatives can no longer be converted to the cause of this guy really starts something.

  18. You sound like an anarchist: screaming “the government can’t hurt me if I don’t believe that it exists!” Your comparison to the reform party is the most flimsy argument. That party was horribly managed, financed out the ass, and developed a ground game simultaneously to the duopoly parties.

    This article is either written out of spite since Evan McMullen took away Johnson’s place in Utah and Idaho, or out of fear that conservatives can no longer be converted to the cause of this guy really starts something.

  19. You sound like an anarchist: screaming “the government can’t hurt me if I don’t believe that it exists!” Your comparison to the reform party is the most flimsy argument. That party was horribly managed, financed out the ass, and developed a ground game simultaneously to the duopoly parties.

    This article is either written out of spite since Evan McMullen took away Johnson’s place in Utah and Idaho, or out of fear that conservatives can no longer be converted to the cause of this guy really starts something.

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