Evan McMullin concluded his three-month presidential campaign at a rally in Provo on “election eve” by emphasizing his hopes that his presidential independent campaign will progress the conservative movement within the U.S.
McMullin said the message of principled conservatism his campaign fought for was received incredibly well by voters in Utah and all around the U.S.
“People are very focused on what we are doing here in Utah right now. That’s great. People are paying attention to us,” McMullin said. “But we’ve been all over the country and it’s not just people in Utah who are responding possibly to this message.”
McMullin’s campaign strived to advocate the message of true and principled conservatism focusing on maintaining liberty, returning power to the states, respecting the Constitution and standing up for all people regardless of race, religion or gender.
BYU students Brittany and Joe Valdez were impressed by McMullin and his vice presidential candidate Mindy Finn’s message during the Utah County Election Eve Rally at the Utah Valley Convention Center on Monday night.
“A lot of what he believes is what I believe,” Brittany said. “I don’t think I have to vote for someone because I don’t want someone to win. I want to vote for someone who is aligned with what I believe in.”
Joe Valdez, Brittany’s husband, said voting for a person who shares the same values is a useful way to vote.
“I think it’s really hard nowadays to find a genuine political candidate who is true to his values,” Joe said. “Based on what I’ve observed in other candidates, they seem to be two-faced and kind of superficial. Evan has a lot of the same values that I hold, my moral and ethical values. I just feel good voting for a person who shares those.”
Finn suggested the Republican Party may be losing those values and might even be dying.
“I think the Republican Party goes one of two ways,” Finn said. “Either it repudiates the racism, sexism and religious bigotry that’s become all too normal and mainstream in the era of Donald Trump, or a big portion of the party — 30 to 40 percent — will eventually break off and have to go into a new party.”
The McMullin campaign, with its presidential bid as independent candidates, has shown a campaign focused on conservative principles may lead to a future discussion of conservatism within the American political system.
“In a very short time and with a modest budget, we have a huge movement,” Finn said. “Here in Utah we are in striking distance of the Republican candidate. People are very focused on what is happening here in Utah. But across the country we have thousands, potentially millions, who are standing with us and this movement.”
McMullin reaffirmed the goal of mobilizing a new conservative group, without sharing too many details.
“We are building a new conservative movement. We have been doing that as we’ve been campaigning,” McMullin said. “We are going to be continuing to build this new conservative movement. We’ll be talking about that more in the days ahead and sharing more details about what that looks like, but we are committed to that.”
The Clark family, most of whom are BYU alumni, attended the Utah County Election Eve Rally to voice and show their support of McMullin and Finn’s independent-yet-conservative campaign. The family brought the same signs they used while attending a McMullin rally at the Utah Capitol.
Father of the family Larry Clark said the reason his family went with their signs was to support “the only principled conservative” in the presidential race.
“Donald Trump only got 9.8 percent of the vote in the Utah primaries,” Clark said. “That’s a reflection of Utah’s values and principles. Now, Utahns are being coerced by leadership and others to set aside their values and vote for the lesser of two evils.”
McMullin said many Republican leaders have not had the courage or interest to stand with the conservative moment. He said this may be because of a leadership crisis on the Republican side.
“Real leadership not only says what you’re against, but real leadership will stand up and say what you’re for and then fight for that thing. That’s what we’re doing,” McMullin said. “We need leaders of courage who are principled and who will stand up for us and core American ideals.”