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Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin | Wikimedia
Inde­pendent pres­i­dential can­didate Evan McMullin | Wiki­media

This election is a binary choice. American voters can choose between honor and dis­honor. They can choose liberty or tyranny. They can vote for major party dem­a­gogues, or they can vote for a serious can­didate —Inde­pendent, Evan McMullin.

McMullin, an ex-CIA oper­ative and former policy director for the House Repub­lican Con­ference, announced his long shot bid for the pres­i­dency in early August, after con­ser­v­a­tives with higher name-recog­nition turned down pleas to enter the race.

In an interview with NPR, McMullin explained his moti­va­tions for entering the race by saying, “Seeing that no one else would get into the race to offer the American people a better choice, I decided to get in and try to do just that.”

And a better choice is exactly what the American people need.

According to Real­Clear­Pol­itics averages, Demo­c­ratic pres­i­dential nominee Hillary Clinton is viewed unfa­vorably by about 53 percent of Amer­icans, and Repub­lican pres­i­dential nominee Donald Trump is viewed unfa­vorably by a whopping 60.4 percent of Amer­icans. And the people have good reason to be dis­sat­isfied with the choice between these can­di­dates — based on their records and public state­ments, neither Clinton nor Trump are suited for the respon­si­bil­ities of the Oval Office.

If that polling is any­where close to accurate, the American people must be treating their votes as a chance to block one of these two deplorable can­di­dates.

On the other hand, McMullin offers voters a chance to vote for thoughtful policy pro­posals firmly rooted in a con­ser­v­ative political phi­losophy.

“Our basic rights are God-given,” McMullin said at an early cam­paign rally. “Every American is created equal and has the same right to life, liberty and the pursuit of hap­piness. The fun­da­mental purpose of gov­ernment is to secure, not define, these rights for every member of our diverse society.”

From this fun­da­mental prin­ciple, McMullin has built a platform that resembles the draft platform pro­posed by Hillsdale’s own pres­ident Larry Arnn and rejected by the Repub­lican National Com­mittee. By promising to rein in the admin­is­trative state, secure America’s leading role in foreign affairs, and promote free enter­prise both at home and in the inter­na­tional arena, McMullin is promising to restore gov­ernment of, by, and for the people.

McMullin’s prin­cipled approach to policy also offers con­ser­v­a­tives a chance to pre­serve the honor of their movement. By building his cam­paign around the essential American prin­ciple that “all men are created equal,” McMullin shows con­ser­v­a­tives the way to avoid alle­ga­tions of racism, misogyny, and xeno­phobia that have plagued the Trump cam­paign.

Trump’s divisive rhetoric not only under­mines his support among growing voter demo­graphics, it also dis­tracts from his alleged pro-life stances on social issues. McMullin, in con­trast, fre­quently talks about the inherent dignity of every human being. Far from pushing away minority voters, McMullin’s rhetoric about common goods, natural rights, and the value of human life is pre­cisely what con­ser­v­a­tives need to employ to per­suade growing blocs of voters to vote for a pro-life, con­ser­v­ative agenda.

Regardless of whether con­ser­v­a­tives stick with the Repub­lican Party or try to build a new party to fight for con­sti­tu­tional liberty, voting for McMullin sends a signal to the political elite that con­ser­v­a­tives are tired of the dis­honor of business-as-usual.  

By any esti­mation, the United States is fast approaching a time of crisis.Terrorist groups and hostile regimes are on the march once again overseas. The national debt has sky­rocketed past $19 trillion. 54 million babies have been aborted since the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade in 1973. Out-of-control federal agencies subvert the checks and bal­ances that once defined our republic. Zealous social justice war­riors attempt to use the power of gov­ernment to further their ide­o­logical ends. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, the American people are perhaps more polarized today than they have been at any time since the Civil War.

The country needs serious states­manship to nav­igate the treach­erous waters ahead. The business-as-usual pol­i­ticking of the RNC and the Demo­c­ratic Party gave the American people can­di­dates utterly inca­pable of uniting the nation around the solu­tions nec­essary to fix its problems.

McMullin may not be the statesman for our times, either. But, he is a good man trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. And that’s far closer to what the American people need than what George Wash­ington called the “frightful despotism” of “the alternate dom­i­nation of one faction over another, sharpened by a spirit of revenge.”

A vote for either Clinton or Trump is a vote to send an incredibly unqual­ified, petty, and selfish dem­a­gogue to the White House. This country does not have to endure such dis­honor. Instead, voters ought to con­sider casting their ballot for common decency, sound policy, and the American tra­dition of ordered liberty and self-gov­ernment. Voters should con­sider voting for Evan McMullin.

Luc­chese is a junior majoring in American Studies and minoring in jour­nalism.