Hey everybody, big news! “Principled Conservatives,” a term that Bill Kristol has used so often lately I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s had it tattooed across his back, have finally found their man to make an independent run against Donald Trump, and it’s big.
Which intrepid and clearly well-known (otherwise it would be total folly for him to jump into the race after so many state filing deadlines have already passed) conservative icon is jumping into the race to stop Trump?
That’s right, it’s…
Funny story…I spent all morning tweeting about this guy, mostly because I got almost no sleep last night and so I’m pretty punchy today, and yet when I Googled his name just now to find his campaign website, I Googled “Eric McMillin.” That’s how memorable this dude is. So, hey, principled conservatives? This one’s for you:
Vox’s Andrew Prokop theorizes that
McMillin McMullin is intended to do one thing: cost Trump Utah, where his lead is astonishingly slim for a Republican nominee. If Hillary Clinton were able to take Utah it would open up the possibility of this electoral map:
The problem here, to my thinking, is simple: if Hillary Clinton is losing Pennsylvania, she’s probably 50/50 to be losing New Hampshire too, and thus–even with Utah–the presidency. And McMullin, whose resume (to the extent that we know it; his campaign website is hysterically bio-free) looks a lot like the kind of center-right, foreign policy interventionist, cool with Wall Street-type Republican voter whom the Clinton campaign seems to be desperately chasing, may take as much support away from Clinton as he takes from Trump. While it would be an incredible irony (or an epic troll, I guess) if “Never Trump” Republicans wound up getting Trump elected, I’d just as soon not experience that scenario even for all the lulz.
Oh, and there’s also the fact that McMullin has one week to get 1000 Utahan voters to sign a petition to get him on the ballot…which doesn’t seem like much of a hurdle, but with apparently no organization in place to support this guy’s candidacy, it may be just enough of a hurdle to keep him off the ballot in the one place he might really hurt Trump.
But for McMullin himself the political consideration is little more than an afterthought. In terms of what really matters, building his personal #brand, this announcement has been pure gold. He’s gone, for example, from less than 500 Twitter followers this morning to over 17,000 at last count, more than enough to nab himself a book deal and a cable news gig whenever he puts the “campaign” to bed.