I’ve noticed something curious about GOP politicians and talking heads lately: they won’t talk about us.
There seems to be a never ending parade of people who refuse to endorse, have unendorsed, or are “condemndorsing” Donald Trump. Many a tweet, blog post, and think-piece has been devoted to Mr. Trump’s atrocious thoughts, words, and deeds. But as Election Day draws near, more attention is starting to be paid to what will happen to the GOP should Trump lose.
Every election prompts the losing party to conduct an “autopsy” on the campaign, struggling to learn what went wrong. Usually, it consists of a lot of navel gazing, followed by patting each other on the back, before finally filing the document away and declaring that lessons have been learned. Consider the primary message of Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012: Republicans need to do a better job respecting and responding to the issues of minority voters. That lesson was not just ignored; it has been devastatingly abandoned. Mr. Trump is historically unpopular with women and minorities, and deservedly so. He hasn’t just ignored minority outreach and issues, he’s overtly antagonized and insulted them.
Now, a lot of conservatives and former GOP figures seem to be trying to ride out the storm, waiting to fight over who will be king of the rubble pile left in the wake of Hurricane Donald. Joe Scarborough and Michael Steele are just two of the latest to publish pieces on reforming the GOP. They all seem to follow a familiar pattern: Trump is bad, the party needs to be inclusive, and if it doesn’t change the GOP may die.
But there’s a glaring omission in their narrative: Someone has already stood up for inclusive conservatism in America: Evan McMullin. He is the only conservative running for President, and he’s the only independent or third party candidate with a chance of winning Electoral Votes. Those two facts aren’t unrelated. Try as they might to ignore it, Evan is proving that true conservative principles still resonate with the American people.
That’s why I stood up with him, to help spread his message as running mate. We’ve already made tremendous progress in Utah and the Mountain West, and more Americans are standing up with us daily. Most importantly, we’ve done it without dividing people on racial, gender, or religious lines. On the contrary, we support conservative policies that value and respect the issues of all communities.
From a criminal justice platform that seeks to divert people away from crime rather than over-incarcerate, to education reforms that give poor communities more power over their children’s future, we are providing a blueprint for effective and inclusive conservative leadership. Evan and I have both been among the most vocal critics of Donald Trump’s disgusting comments about women and his bigoted plans to ban Muslims from America. In short, our campaign is walking the walk while the GOP is still only talking.
It’s frankly mystifying to hear men and women of conscience argue that their party must learn their lesson “next time.” Evan likes to say “it’s never too late to do the right thing.” I would add a corollary: “why wait to do the right thing?”
Republicans have an opportunity today — not in the midterms, not in 2020, but today –- to prove that they have learned their lesson, and that they won’t go back to their old ways. That means embracing the movement that’s already underway. In just under three months, this small campaign has turned into a movement, and it’s growing by the day. Our supporters are standing up for integrity, equality, and liberty. They’re forcing the country to have a conversation about the principles we hold dear, and what it means to be conservative. Most importantly, they’re standing up for a new generation of American leadership.
The pundits are right to say that the GOP is in trouble. But that trouble isn’t new, and it isn’t just about Donald Trump. His candidacy has shone a bright light on the party, and many are recoiling from what they see. What the pundits are missing, or maybe willfully ignoring, is that the principles they claim to support are already leading a national movement elsewhere. Many “Never Trump” Republican politicians may not be willing to say the names Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn, but chances are one of your neighbors already has. As far as endorsements go, that means a lot more to us. No one knows if the Republican Party will ever find its principles again. For anyone who’s tired of waiting to find out, there is another option: a grassroots conservative movement that isn’t willing to wait any longer to stand up for what is right.
Mindy Finn is an independent candidate for Vice President. Follow her on Twitter: @mindyfinn.