Today's the day. The American people are picking a president — and facing one of the ugliest choices in memory.
On one side, we have a candidate who has repeatedly demonstrated poor judgment, an unfitness for office, and a severe lack of ethics. On the other side, we have Donald Trump.
I'm not a U.S. citizen, and thus can't vote today. But I would nonetheless like to urge my fellow conservatives to eschew both Clinton and Trump. Nor should they be swayed by Gary Johnson.
Real conservatives should instead vote for Evan McMullin.
Clearly, McMullin has an underwhelming resume for a presidential aspirant. But he is still more qualified than Clinton and Trump.
For her part, the Democratic nominee is unabashedly, absolutely pro-choice — that should be enough for all social and religious conservatives to reject her. But she is also, in a word, "crooked," with her hidden emails and her global grifting scheme. How could any conservative voter support her, even in the sense of casting a ballot against Trump?
As for Trump: Maybe you think conservatives can propel him to victory and then sort of box him in, governing from Congress and appointing staff so that Trump himself doesn't run things, not even his Twitter account. Don't kid yourself. This won't happen. The GOP would instead be plagued by a bureaucratic civil war between Trump cronies and Pence/Ryan cronies, fought through press leaks and, eventually, congressional investigations, or worse.
But more profoundly, the president matters. How would President Donald Trump react in a crisis? A virulent, mutated strain of Ebola makes it to the U.S. A major terrorist attack. Russia-backed rebels wreak havoc in the Baltic states. Hackers disrupt the American financial system. What would Trump do?
Let us pray we never find out. Because obviously, he lacks the basic self control to make rational decisions even in the best of times. He is, at the most fundamental level, unqualified to be president of the United States.
Donald Trump has endorsed war crimes. He has actively sought the support of white supremacists and anti-Semites. He has shown absolutely no interest in the concept of constitutional, limited government; to the contrary, the animating concept of his campaign is that he is a strongman who will break rules to make things work. He is anathema to everything that America is supposed to stand for. No conservative should reward Trump with their vote.
So what should conservatives do? They should have a little pride and a little self-respect, for starters. A candidate should earn your vote. Neither Clinton nor Trump have done enough to earn it. So they shouldn't get it. Everything else is just music.
All the more so because Evan McMullin actually has a plan to become president. It's a wildly implausible plan, to be sure, but this is a year where the wildly implausible has happened before. McMullin wants to win Utah and deny both candidates 270 electoral votes. That would throw the election to the House, where he hopes that traditional Republicans will pick a traditional Republican over the insanity that is Trump.
McMullin is a political nobody with a thin resume. But think of this as a process of elimination. Has he ever accidentally-sort-of-maybe endangered confidential information by storing it on a private server? Has he ever had a quasi-bromance with David Duke? No. Instead, he spent ten years in the CIA serving his country. That alone shows he has more character than the alternatives. We know he's knowledgeable about policy. We know he has principles. Would that make him a better president than either Clinton or Trump? Yep.
And that, in the end, is enough.