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Why is Evan McMullin morally equating Democrats with Republicans?


“Right-wing populists demonize minorities. Left-wing populists demonize the wealthy. Neither offer real solutions for the American people.”

That’s from McMullin’s Twitter feed last Saturday.

What did he mean and why did he say it?

I have consistently argued that it’s wrong to equate the Left and the Right in moral terms, because that implies that both sides are equally moral (or immoral, as the case may be). The fact is that the Right, as we currently see it in America, is immoral, because it has chosen to collude with an abomination, Donald J. Trump. This theory that both sides are to blame for the nation’s ills is reprehensible; I hear it a lot in Oakland, where so many young people are saying “A pox on both their houses.” They are wrong, wrong, wrong.

And so is McMullin. One part of his statement is true: the Right does demonize minorities: Blacks, Browns, LGBTQ, Muslims, immigrants and whoever else is on Trump’s shit list on any given day. The other part of his statement is a lie: the Left does not demonize the wealthy.

What the Left wants is to raise taxes on the wealthy, both through marginal rates, through the estate tax, and perhaps through a luxury tax. That is only right and fair. It is not demonization! The lives of billionaires and the lives of the 99% can’t even be compared. It’s obscene to see the uber-wealthy accumulate more and more mansions, race horses, paintings, antiques, yachts, jet planes, jewelry and couture clothing, while so many people in America struggle to pay for food or medicine. And yet we have a Republican Party that consistently lowers taxes on the uber-rich; and we know that their trickle-down argument has been proven to be totally bogus.

So what’s up with McMullin? A little background. First, remember that McMullin ran for President in 2016, calling himself “a conservative alternative candidate” to Trump. In the event, he didn’t do very well: of the three minor candidates (Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and McMullin), he got the fewest votes: Only 728,830 compared to Johnson’s 4,488,931 and Stein’s 1,457,050. Despite the magnitude of his defeat, McMullin did well in Utah, where he took 21% of the vote to finish third behind Hillary and Trump. The Utah victory was noteworthy in that Mormons in that state (McMullin is a Mormon) abandoned the Republican Party they had previously supported in every presidential election since LBJ’s 1964 landslide. Trump did take Utah in 2016, but McMullin’s vote total, added to Hillary Clinton’s, dwarfed Trump’s total.

That made McMullin (as it also made Johnson and Stein) a spoiler, throwing the election to Trump—a foregone conclusion to anyone who had the eyes to see.

McMullin said some pretty fierce anti-Trump things during the campaign, so why is he now equating the Trump movement with the Democratic Party? The answer is, because he’s a rightwing conservative, further to the Right even than Trump. Here’s McMullin on the issues:

Abortion: Ardently anti-choice. He would defund Planned Parenthood and end all subsidies to mothers obtaining abortions.

LGBTQ: He is fiercely anti-same sex marriage or granting civil rights to the LGBTQ community. (Mormons, it’s important to remember, are one of the Christian sects most opposed to gay rights.)

Marijuana: McMullin is opposed to the legalization of pot.

Energy: Yes on offshore drilling and fracking. No on subsidies to wind farms.

Gun control: A firm “second amendment” fan, McMullin opposes any further forms of control.

Minimum wage: McMullin is against raising it.

Hillary Clinton: McMullin continues the Trumpian smear, calling her “a corrupt career politician.”

Social Security and Medicare: McMullin calls them “runaway entitlement spending” and would slash them.

Taxes: He is opposed to raising taxes on the rich. He is in favor of further lowering taxes on corporations.

This rightwing stance on taxes, combined with his other extremist positions, lays behind him equating Trump-Republicanism with the platform of the Democratic Party. We should realize two things: (1) McMullin’s only chance at a national political future is to defame both parties, and (2) his real base is the same as Trump’s: white, Christian, male, angry and resentful. The only reason he did so well in Utah was because he’s a Mormon and the Mormons, for all their glaring bigotry in other areas, are profoundly bothered by Trump’s amorality.

It looks like McMullin is gearing up for another run in 2020. He’s pretending to be a moderate centrist who can pull both sides together: “There is an urgent need to find common ground and seek sensible compromise between factions to counter the dangerous wave of political polarization currently washing over the nation,” he tweeted.  

Don’t believe it! Evan McMullin is a rightwing religious extremist who would impose his reactionary views on America. Any journalist  covering him should hit him hard on the issues I outlined above and demand to know why he’s so out-of-step with the American people.

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