In 1892, the state of Kansas stood at the cutting edge of a new political movement. The Democrats and the Republicans were mired in a deadlock over issues that the people of Kansas cared little about. The things Kansas did care about, such as the adoption of silver-backed currency, was an issue that neither major party felt was important enough to be worth their time. Who, after all, cared what the little farmers and small-town workers in Kansas thought?
Then, Kansas took the extraordinary step of giving its ten electoral votes to General James Weaver, who ran not for the Republicans or the Democrats, but for a new party calling itself the Populist Party. Kansas led the way, taking Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and North Dakota with it to send the message to the major parties that the people of the Great Plains would not be told that their concerns would have to take second place to what the rest of the nation thought was best for them.
James Weaver did not win the election. But his loss shook the Democratic Party to its core, and caused William Jennings Bryan to adopt the entire Populist platform as the Democrats’ own in the next election. Kansas altered the course of the national conversation about politics. And over the next two decades, four amendments to the Constitution – including the right to directly elect our Senators and Women’s Suffrage – would follow as both Democrats and Republicans realized that the people of Kansas were a force that they could not ignore.
Not all of these changes were positive, when looked at in hindsight. Indeed, the Eighteenth Amendment’s Prohibition goes down in history as a failure. But that misses the point: The point is, that by taking a stand against those parties that would take it for granted, Kansas – despite losing THAT election – won for itself and its people a stunning political victory that would put our issues at the heart of the nation’s politics.
Now we, the people of Kansas, are in a similar situation. No one in the nation cares about us and what we think. The Democrats largely revile us as stupid hicks who will always vote Republican because they think it appeals to the motives they say energize us: racial and religious bigotry, anti-intellectualism, and an unreasoning defense of the 2nd Amendment. They don’t care for the liberals of Kansas either, since their votes will never matter. Republicans, on the other hand, take us for granted, telling us that we must vote for whoever they dangle in front of us. Even a lecherous fool like Donald Trump, lest we be sacrificed to Hillary Clinton’s cronies.
But the people of Kansas have already shown themselves, this year, to be better than this. It was not we who stuck the American people with a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We voted for Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. We did not swallow the Democratic lie that they were running a fair primary election, nor did we accept the media’s shoving of Donald Trump down our throats by giving him free advertising in the name of telling the story they thought would get them the most attention.
But now that Kansas faces the general election, we seem poised to give our votes to Donald Trump, the man we rejected, who has returned in triumph to the top of our ballots, and who rather contemptuously expects our votes as the only legitimate way to show that we do not want Hillary Clinton for President. He demands our votes, as a kind of homage, paid to the Republicans, who for years have promised us they would represent our values in Washington.
And what both parties fail to understand is that this is why Kansas, overall, does vote Republican: because we believe that it is more important that the President direct the nation than it is that he makes us prosperous: we can do that ourselves. Even liberal Kansans know this: it’s why they voted for the Bernie Sanders they believed in, not the Hillary Clinton who could easily win. But most Kansans vote Republican because the Republican party says it will represent the values most of us share (the Democrats openly tell us we are backward and wrong), and we believed them. But have we won any of the values Kansas is nationally known for supporting by voting Republican? Has Roe v Wade been overturned? Has religious freedom expanded over the last thirty years? Of course not. Why should the Republicans care to do any of these things when they will have our votes regardless?
And what will we get if we do vote for Donald Trump? We will get, overwhelmingly, three things we do not want. Firstly, whether we win or lose, we will alienate the swing voters, who will rightly see that the Republicans of Kansas are willing to vote for an abusive, bullying and dangerous thug who is utterly ignorant of the Constitution, simply in order to stop Hillary Clinton. Secondly, if he should win (which all polls say he cannot, but more on that later) we will be stuck with him not for four years, but for eight. We will not be able to withdraw our support in 2020. And all his mistakes and sins will be justly laid at our feet: the feet of Kansas conservatives. But that isn’t the worst. The worst and final thing we shall get, if Trump should somehow win, is a New York businessman, exactly the kind of man who does not understand agricultural policy, nor does he understand any economics except that which involves moving money around to his advantage via manipulation of the markets. He neither understands the military nor its uses, and treats those who have made the ultimate sacrifice with contempt. Is this the kind of man who is likely to understand, much less care about and defend, the interests and values of the people of Kansas?
Now many of my readers at this point are doubtless thinking that as much as they agree with me, they cannot afford to have Hillary Clinton win the next election. They feel compelled to vote for Donald Trump because he is the best chance of stopping her. And they are both right and wrong. Certainly, Donald Trump will get the second-highest number of votes (both popular and electoral) in this election. But all reputable polls indicate that Hillary Clinton has already won. It is not even close. Therefore, I suggest that the argument for voting for Donald Trump because he is the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton is invalid. He cannot defeat her. True, he will come closer to defeating her than any other candidate, but that doesn’t matter. If you are jumping a 15-foot cliff, it matters not at all whether you jump two feet or twelve feet. You will not make it to the other side. Donald Trump will not be President.
This leaves us with taking the long view. It leaves us in the position of having to act boldly, as our ancestors did 124 years ago, and vote for another candidate, a third-party candidate, so that we can once again send the message that we will not be ignored, and we will not be dictated to by two parties who are determined to treat us like a dull and unloved child. We must vote against the horrors of this terrible election so that we and our children will not be trapped in it again in four years. And in eight. And in sixteen.
We can, if we have the courage to face the facts with open eyes, and the vision to look beyond this dark time to the next several elections, send a message that we reject this two-party system and redirect the whole course of American political dialogue. And at this time I believe that there is only one man who can assist us to do that: Evan McMullin. The advantages of voting for Evan McMullin are these: Evan McMullin represents most of the values that conservative Kansans have tried to vote for over the past thirty years. And yet, a vote for McMullin is not likely to result in policies that liberals will find oppressive. I also recommend him to liberal Kansans who hate the thought of supporting Clinton, whose DNC crushed Bernie Sanders while assuring us that of course they were running a fair primary. More importantly, Kansas will never vote for Clinton, but a vote for McMullin might deny it to Trump. Secondly, Evan McMullin ALONE among third-party candidates actually leads a state in the most recent polls. He is leading right now in Utah and is likely to be the first candidate since 1968 to actually win electoral votes. This is what Jill Stein and Gary Johnson do not understand, but McMullin has: third parties can be ignored because they never win electoral votes. But Evan McMullin will win Utah’s six.
Will he win? No. There is a remote chance that he could throw it into deadlock and toss the election to the House of Representatives, but that’s no more likely than a Trump victory. Hillary Clinton is, and I shudder to say it, the next President of the United States regardless of what we do. But McMullin can and will redirect national politics if he wins votes in the Electoral College, just as James Weaver did, and Kansas can once again help him do that. Every time a third party has won votes, the change in American politics has been deep and profound. Let us follow Utah’s lead as they followed ours so long ago and send a clear cry out into the political wasteland that we will not support the insupportable, or defend the indefensible. Please join with me, and vote for Evan McMullin.
From Somewhere In Orbit