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Evan McMullin : The spoiler that triggers the 12th Amendment

Written By | Nov 8, 2016

LOS ANGELES, November 8, 2016—It’s exciting to watch spoilers and underdogs, and it looks like Evan McMullin has an outside chance of spoiling this awful 2016 election via the 12th Amendment that triggers if no candidate reaches the 270 electoral votes necessary to win today’s presidential election.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.

Personally, this writer has been wishing for a 12th Amendment event since they handed the criminal Hillary Clinton and the egregious Donald Trump the Democrat and Republican nominations, respectively.

Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton: How should a Christian vote?

McMullin’s latent candidacy is based on the premise that if no candidate garners 270 electoral votes, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution requires the House of Representatives to decide the winner amongst the top three candidates receiving electoral votes. McMullin is surging in Utah, a traditionally Republican stronghold who threw 70 percent of its support to Romney in 2012.

Trump has struggled in Utah from the beginning, and the polls of the past week have shown McMullin, Trump, and Clinton in a dead heat. If McMullin wins Utah, he wins those 6 electoral votes. If he garners enough votes in other states (mostly through write-in), he effectively muddies the waters, and hinders Clinton or Trump from gaining that coveted 270.

Should the 12th Amendment come into play, each state delegation in the House, which is currently controlled by Republicans, would have one vote. Given the smattering of Never Trumpers and Never Clintons among the House members, if the House does hold the cards, it could see neither party candidate getting the nod. Evan McMullin could come out the victor.

Most talking heads and pundits are doing their best to discount the possibility; but if this election has shown us one thing, it’s that ANYTHING is possible.

Both Clinton and Trump are flawed, and disliked by many, Republican or Democrat. Even before the litany of FBI investigations, email scandals, and locker room talk, these two candidates carried the highest unfavorables of any presidential candidate. With the leadership of both parties showing their craven and weak wills, it is no wonder that someone chose to step up to the plate to throw a wrench in the works. McMullin launched his campaign in August for those very reasons.

McMullin describes himself as a constitutionalist, in the vein of former Republican presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul. He is a former CIA agent who also previously served as the chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, and as a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he has the academic pedigree that seems to fit into Washington, D.C.

McMullin supports limited government, states’ rights, fewer regulations and taxes, a strong national defense, and a number of other policy positions that conservative Republicans tend to hold dear.

Both McMullin and his running mate Mindy Finn tout conservative ideals that are more inclusive of racial and religious minorities than the current Republican Party. Since the Republican Party all but ignores minorities, and eschews fighting for an urban base, that’s not hard to do. Just the brief statement of the McMullin/Finn’s stance on Law Enforcement, Race, and Criminal Justice puts the Republican platform (or lack thereof) to shame.

His stances appear to be principled and thoughtful.

Yet the hue and cry among our betters, Trump supporters, and others is that any vote that is not for the major party candidate is a wasted vote.

McMullin, Stein, Johnson: How not to waste your vote

In an interview with Christianity Today, McMullin said, “A wasted vote is a vote for a candidate who hasn’t earned your vote.” That’s spot on. Between the preening, and the bullying, the whining, and misinformation  by both campaigns, the traditional appeals and engaging with the American people have been given short shrift, largely due to the fact that both parties have engineered the process in such a way that the current candidates achieved the upper hand. The factions of Never Trump and Never Hillary are indicative of the fact that people are not happy with the outcome of these nominations, and many are choosing to “vote their conscience” with another candidate. Evan McMullin has given conservatives a viable choice of a candidate they can feel comfortable supporting.

As my colleague Dr. Jim Picht stated in his article, “How Not to Waste your Vote“,

“There are no wasted votes when people vote their conscience. A vote for someone or something is a positive act; a vote against isn’t a vote for something different, but a vote for more of the same. If Clinton and Trump don’t appeal to you, don’t let their partisans stampede you into voting for the lesser of two evils. That only makes you complicit in evil.”

Polls open in a few short hours on the East Coast, and the night may be short or long, but it will certainly not be uneventful. Whether tonight garners a clear winner, or we have a 12th Amendment event remains to be seen; what will be seen is that the American people are not interested in giving their vote away lightly or cavalierly. Hopefully the seriousness and the weight of the electoral process will gain heightened importance not just today, but in the coming years; that will change the country, not just one man or woman.

Jennifer Oliver OConnell

Jennifer Oliver OConnell offers witty, insightful, and direct opinion, analysis and musings on local and national politics and popular culture, with occasional detours into reinvention, food, and Yoga. Jennifer also teaches Yoga, and coaches clients on careers and reinvention. You can keep up with what's in Jennifer's orbit through her As the Girl Turns website.