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The newest presidential candidate has a surprisingly clear path to victory

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Since many #NeverTrump voters are apparently sticklers for one or two issues that Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson can’t satisfy, a new conservative savior announced his candidacy for president today. Evan McMullin apparently has the backing of some big Republican donors to get his campaign rolling. The initial reaction of most (“Who?”) is understandable, but the relative unknown may actually have a better path to victory than even Johnson.

Sounds crazy, right? There’s plenty of reason to think so. McMullin is a total unknown outside political wonk circles. He’s never run for or held elected office before and thus has no name recognition. Unlike even a third party longshot like Johnson, he has no existing party or campaign apparatus, no fundraising history, and won’t be on most state ballots.

He may not need to be, even to win.

There’s one key state missing from that list: Utah. McMullin is a BYU alumnus and a Mormon (and conservative), which automatically gives him a head start in the state.

Even if McMullin comes out of nowhere to win Utah, it’s not enough to win him the presidency, of course. But it’s enough to get him on the list of eligible candidates should no one else claim an electoral college victory. In that unlikely scenario, the election would go to the House of Representatives, where McMullin might have an even bigger advantage than his LDS faith in Utah.

McMullin served for most of the last 3 years as an advisor to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and policy director for the full House Republican Conference. Although most House Republicans have declared their intentions to vote for their existing party nominee, many have also expressed reservations about and disagreements with Trump. If another Republican were on their ballot after November, he would give them the ability to dump Trump without abandoning their party, like a vote for Johnson would do.

The problem, other than a total unknown winning electoral votes, is getting the election to the House so that it matters. The way polls have gone in the last two weeks, and most of the year before that, November is looking more like an Obama ‘08 landslide than an even split with a chance for a spoiler up the middle.

The reknowned Crystal Ball election predictors have placed their bets on the electoral vote results, and it’s not close.

Any hope of a Trump victory or an electoral draw rests in heavily blue collar states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. If Trump loses them all, Clinton will win easily, and the status quo will march on.


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