Yesterday we learned that independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin had qualified for the ballot in Utah, creating ripples of excitement among supporters of Hillary Clinton around the nation. When combined with Colorado, that’s two down and 55 to go as Barack Obama might say. And yet, I suppose it can’t be all sunshine and roses for someone trying to get into the race in August, so perhaps you won’t be terribly startled to learn that he’s missed the deadline in California. But hey… we’re only talking about 55 electoral votes. (Politico)

Independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin has missed the deadline to make it on to the California ballot, a top staffer confirmed Monday.

Candidates had until Friday to file the 178,039 valid signatures of registered voters needed to get on the ballot. But on Monday, McMullin campaign chief strategist Joel Searby confirmed that the campaign had missed that deadline and was looking for alternative routes to get on the ballot.

“In California, both the legal and write-in options remain for us and we intend to pursue any and all options to ensure that Californian’s get a chance to vote for Evan McMullin in November,” Searby said in an email.

McMullin has said from the start that he plans to compete in all fifty states, but that was always little more than a smokescreen. He can bring a lawsuit in an attempt to force his way onto the ballot, but that will almost certainly represent nothing more than an excuse to generate a few more headlines and waste a bit more of the meager resources he’s been able to attract.

But at least he’s carrying the “conservative” flag for the troops, right? I notice that Politico refers to McMullin as the “independent conservative candidate.” We could chat about how “conservative” it is to attempt to ensure a Hillary Clinton victory all the live long day, but instead I’ll just offer a link to Maggie Gallagher at National Review (of all places!) and her conclusion that Evan is far from a conservative standard bearer.

In three years of Facebook posts, he never commented on a domestic issue, economic or social. He never said anything on any specific issue that a diehard Democrat couldn’t applaud.

When I was telling my boss Frank Cannon about McMullin’s Facebook page, he made a possibly unfair, or possibly telling, comment: “I find the people who post photos of Lincoln and Churchill are the least likely to actually be leaders like these men.” He meant that if you want to be a uniter, not a divider, you cannot be a leader in perilous times like Lincoln and Churchill were. Now, after their battles are long won, they unite us in admiration. But they were leaders precisely because they were willing to be reviled and despised at the time, not only by their opponents but by their fellow party members, if that was the price of defending core principles. Principles that turned out to be right.

We’ll no doubt see more of these stories about ballot access for McMullin in the press as bored media figures look for something to spice up their election coverage through September and October, but in the end the effect is the same. Nobody – including Evan McMullin himself – thinks that he’s going to win any electoral votes, say nothing of the presidency. He’s going to be on the ballot in a few places for the purpose of ensuring that Hillary Clinton is elected president and by the widest margin possible. I suppose this serves the purpose of anti-Trump advocates in two ways. First, they get to play the I Told You So card after the fact if Trump loses massively. And second, it gives them a name to point to when defining who they “supported” in the election so they can (falsely) claim that they were #NeverHillary all along and weren’t actually trying to get her elected.

The real test will come in November. If McMullin can do more than simply tip the scales to Hillary in Utah, perhaps then I’ll believe that he had an actual impact on the election.

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