mcmullin

2011 Wharton MBA graduate and independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin is in a statistical tie with Donald Trump in Utah. // Courtesy of TEDx London Business School

Evan McMullin knows his presidential bid is a longshot by conventional standards, but that hasn’t stopped the former CIA operative and 2011 Wharton MBA graduate from pressing his way into the electoral foray.

So far, McMullin has officially gained ballot access in six states. Five of those — Arkansas, Colorado, Utah, Iowa and Idaho — were through signature drives. In Louisiana, McMullin earned a spot on the ballot by paying a $500 fee in lieu of collecting signatures, and in Minnesota, he is all but guaranteed access through his affiliation with the Independence Party of Minnesota.

But since announcing his candidacy on Aug. 8, McMullin has failed to meet the deadline to join the ballot in eight other states and Washington D.C.

Republican nominee Donald Trump, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson are on the ballot in all 50 states, while Green Party nominee Jill Stein holds current ballot access in 35. Even candidates from the little-known Constitution Party (on the ballot in 23 states) and Socialist Workers Party (on the ballot in nine states) have more access than McMullin.

Such a narrow electoral path has not prevented McMullin, the former chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, to repeatedly criticize the other presidential candidates.

The goal of his campaign, he told Yahoo News, is to “keep Hillary Clinton from reaching 270 electoral votes.” In regard to Trump, a fellow Wharton graduate and the Republican nominee, a McMullin campaign memo obtained by ABC News said Trump poses “a larger threat to national security than ISIS itself.” The memo went on to call Green Party nominee Jill Stein a proponent of “warmed-over magical-thinking socialism and weirdness,” and said Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has “astonishingly weak and dangerous positions on foreign affairs and religious liberty.”

In order to win the presidency, McMullin’s campaign intends to ensure no candidate wins the necessary 270 electoral votes, which would force the House of Representatives to decide the election, something that hasn’t been done in almost 200 years, according to the memo.

The last time the House decided the election, in 1824, Andrew Jackson received a plurality of the popular vote, but the electoral votes split between four candidates, with none receiving the required majority. The election went to the House of Representatives, who, under the leadership of Jackson’s bitter rival Henry Clay, supported John Quincy Adams.

“Once in the House, against the backdrop of Trump and Clinton’s deeply divisive positions and after a strong electoral college showing, we believe Evan’s unifying message will prevail,” said McMullin’s chief strategist Joel Searby.

The website FiveThirtyEight, which had successfully predicted the electoral outcome of every state in the 2012 election, currently gives Clinton more than 80 percent chance of beating Trump.

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