Well, after Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Tom Coburn, and a whole bunch of other people took a pass on this mission, all the way down to David French, it appears that conservative opponents of Trump have finally found someone willing to take the plunge as an Independent candidate. As McKay Coppins notes, the sacrificial lamb is not exactly a household name:
Key players in the GOP’s anti-Trump movement are preparing to launch an independent presidential campaign for Evan McMullin — a CIA veteran and the chief policy director of the House Republican conference — sources close to the effort told BuzzFeed News.
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He would make for an unlikely presidential candidate. He has never held elective office before and has spent most of his career as a CIA officer, according to his LinkedIn page. Young and unmarried, McMullin received an MBA at Wharton in 2011, and after a stint at Goldman Sachs, went to work as a policy wonk on Capitol Hill.
Unlike National Review writer David French, another conservative courted by anti-Trump Republicans to launch a long-shot third-party bid, McMullin has virtually no public profile. He doesn’t appear regularly on television, and has just 135 followers on Twitter. His most high-profile recent appearance seems to have been a TEDx talk about genocide he gave at London Business School in April. He also delivered aspeech in May about the future of the Republican Party.
I wish the people who are behind this effort all the best of luck, and it certainly seems by his resume that McMullin is a serious person – more serious than Donald Trump, by a mile. However, this late in the game, the ballot access issues alone are nearly insurmountable. Maybe if this had been in the works since March, it could have caused some actual damage but it’s hard to see this getting off the ground to any significant degree, even with a significant influx of cash, which Rick Wilson alleges they have.
The only way such a move is feasible at this late stage of the game would be with a candidate who was both a) fantastically wealthy and b) at least a minor celebrity, and McMullin is neither. Probably the best-case scenario here is for McMullin to play spoiler in Utah, which hates Trump and might well latch on to McMullin as a guy with BYU ties.