The Republicans don't get it. But some of the media do.
For some, it's undoubtedly a temporary thing. Many of my fellow McMullin supporters are followers of Ted Cruz. Some are already planning for Cruz's 2020 campaign. Doubtless many are dismayed by Cruz's decision to sell out after all and tacitly endorse the man who has hijacked the GOP. But for many of us, 2016 marks a final break with the party.
Even without Donald Trump, many of us simply are sick and tired of what the Republican party has become.
Evan McMullin has been the victim of a vicious cycle. Despite his steady progress in gaining access to the ballot in state after state- the campaign expects voters in 43 of the 50 states to have the option of voting for McMullin either by marking their ballots or by write-in by Election Day- the polls for the most part continue to ignore him. He has a natural constituency- the Republican mainstream- far larger than the marginal ones of Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, But it's hard to make progress in the polls if the pollsters don't include you in them.
But many are taking notice of McMullin even so. He's gotten some remarkably good press in the past week. Several writers in both the electronic and the print media seem to "get it" in the way that others simply do not.
Erick Erickson, writing for The Resurgent: "Evan McMullin: A Sane Alternative:"
McMullin gives people a reason to show up. He gives conservatives someone they can vote for without holding their nose. He gives people someone to vote for instead of reconciling themselves to voting against someone. McMullin’s candidacy is not the lesser of an evil, but an alternative against evil.
"I believe it may be necessary to start a new political party that rededicates itself to the cause of individual liberty and to tolerance and diversity in this country," McMullin says. "The most likely scenario for the Republican Party is that it becomes decreasingly relevant in American politics and that it cannot be saved anytime soon, if at all. I believe that it is time for a new conservative movement."
What McMullin has going for him is this: He's smart. He has expertise in counterterrorism. His foreign-policy worldview is much closer to the mainstream than anyone else running this cycle. He is genuinely conservative. And he is—this cannot be emphasized enough—a normal human being.
"It’s a cocktail of racism and a violation of civil rights,” said McMullin, a former CIA officer from Utah running on a platform of stopping Trump. “He’s communicating to people that their civil liberties do not apply in certain situations in which they have not even done anything to raise any credible suspicion of law enforcement. Your race should not be a factor for deciding whether you should be suspected of a crime. Period."
So the institutional guardrails are quite rickety. In the end, the only true guardians of a liberal republic are the people themselves. They must prescribe minimal standards of decency. I will be voting for Evan McMullin, the only candidate (of five) who doesn’t pose a threat to our national welfare.
The political system is not simply broken. It's shattered. The two parties have become nests of screaming, hate-filled fanatics. The dominant voices in both parties have become the shrill, extreme and divisive ones, more eager to call names and shout slogans than to work together to find solutions.
When the smoke has cleared on the morning of November 9 and Hillary has been elected (and even more in the unlikely event that Trump somehow ends up winning), the GOP will still be home to all those crazy conspiracy theorists, racists, anti-Semites, and neo-Nazis who rallied to the Trump banner. His movement may have been decapitated (there is no way Trump could credibly run again in 2020 after splitting the party and losing this time). Or, if he somehow wins and plunges the nation back into recession through his protectionist trade policy and into world crisis through his irresponsible isolationism, he will simply lead the party into a terminal tailspin ending in his impeachment or defeat in his re-election bid, and almost go down in history as the last Republican president.
And there are some of us who have had enough. That's is the thing the Reince Priebus and Newt Gingrich Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh-types don't get. The role they're playing in the Trump tragedy will certainly brand them with a stigma. They will never have the same standing in the Republican party again. But this is no longer about the Republican party. The Republican party has lost its way, and at this point seems unlikely ever to find it again. And the Democrats are no better off.
The McMullin campaign marks the birth of a new movement that will pick up the standard the Republicans have dropped in order to raise the banner of extremism and divisiveness and hate instead. And the American people will respond to the re-emergence of common sense and decency, if not this election cycle, then the next, or the one after that.