“Be not afraid.” It is a familiar command from scripture that is often ignored by Christians. We are easily motivated by fear. Politicians seeking elected office and the media seeking more attention constantly persuade of the opposite: that we should be tremble at what might happen if we do not vote for them, or read their clickbait. But those who are secure in their faith know that our Kingdom is not of this world. And so while we might actively engage our world by doing things such as voting, we ought not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea (Ps. 46:2-3).
When I make decisions I often remind myself that I should not act out of fear, for my hope is built neither on my actions nor the outcome of them. But the current presidential election poses a unique challenge for me in this regard. It seems like the stakes are higher this year and no one wants to be on the wrong side of history. It’s extraordinary that Hillary Clinton would be the most unpopular candidate ever to be nominated for president by a major party in recent history if it were not the case that Donald Trump is also on the ballot. Given that each of these candidates is so unpopular one might expect voters to seek out another option, however, that does not seem to be the case. Here on this journal and elsewhere, some have suggested that there are only two choices for the office of the president in 2016, though in fact there are a great many more. In Iowa, for example, we have ten candidates on the ballot.
Despite her high unfavorable ratings, there are a great number of Democrats who do enthusiastically support Hillary Clinton and will vote for her unreservedly. Similarly, there are many who very enthusiastically support Donald Trump; he believes he could murder someone on 5th Avenue in New York City without losing such supporters. These supporters will clearly be voting for him. But what about Christians who identify as conservative and yet do not want to vote for someone who sexually assaults women, has promised to build a wall between the US and Mexico, has not released his tax returns, has a questionable record as a businessman, makes fun of those with disabilities, is proposing new tax cuts that will largely benefit the very wealthy1 and would add $5,000,000,000,000 to the deficit,2 says he is a Christian but does not believe he needs forgiveness, praises foreign dictators for their leadership style, encourages foreign governments to conduct espionage against the US, and speaks lies more often than truth? Whom do they vote for? For many of these conservatives Clinton is no better choice than Trump, so what options do they have?
Enter Evan McMullin. He is a former CIA operative, business professional, and the House GOP’s Chief policy director. He believes strongly that all men and women are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He is a conservative in the traditional sense of the word. He is moral man with a history of service to the country. He is pro-life in the full sense, caring both for the lives of the unborn cut short in the womb as well as the young black lives cut down on the streets. He values people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and religions.3 Evan McMullin is someone who in conversation is knowledgeable about the country and our world, respectful of others, and acts like someone who is fit for the office of the president of the United States of America.
Evan McMullin also has a chance to become president if none of the candidates are able to accrue 270 votes in the Electoral College (which is possible) and if he carries the state of Utah, which is also possible given recent polls.4 One reason he may carry the state of Utah is that the large Mormon population in the state is uneasy with Trump’s morality and McMullin, who is also Mormon, aligns with their conservative principles. But McMullin is not only angling for Utah, he is on the ballot in 11 states including in the state of Iowa, where I live, and he is a registered write-in candidate in 32 others. In this way a vote for McMullin can be a real message about the kind of candidate conservatives want in the future and real support for someone they wish to actually become president.
Only 13.3 million Americans voted to put Trump on the GOP ballot. Now if given the side by side choice between Trump and McMullin whom would the other 206 million eligible voters wish to see in that spot? In the end those voters still have that choice. McMullin is on ballots in nearly all states and each one of those 206 million voters can still choose him over the other candidates. So why not vote for a genuine conservative if one holds those tenets? And yet, Christians are voting in large numbers for Donald Trump. Many of them might say they are not voting for Trump as much as against Clinton. But another option would be to vote against both, and support McMullin. I’m not afraid to vote for whom I believe will be the best president among all the candidates. Who knows, maybe this is the year for a third party candidate to break through, and maybe the major parties will get the message and nominate better candidates in the future.