WASHINGTON, District of Columbia—After results of a telephone survey showed their independent presidential candidate—conservative Mormon Evan McMullin—has zero name recognition in the Deep South, on Friday a strategist with the #NeverTrump coalition announced their Southern Strategy—a write-in campaign to stymie Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump and keep the Republican Solid South intact.
According to the strategist, the #NeverTrump coalition will promote write-in candidates in Deep South states, hoping to ignite a backfire to keep the deeply conservative region Republican red.
In a telephone conference call with national political reporters, Roy Pollman, chief strategist for #NeverTrump Republicans, said coalition leaders started having “really deep second regrets” immediately, within hours, after Mr. McMullin—a former Wall Street banker, CIA operative, and Mormon missionary—announced his presidential bid, in a speech at an event in Salt Lake City on August 10.
“He isn’t corrupt and he isn’t crazy. But it seems no one has heard of him other than pencil-pushers in two or three office buildings in D.C.,” Mr. Pollman told the reporters.
He isn’t corrupt and he isn’t crazy. But it seems no one has heard of him other than pencil-pushers in two or three office buildings in D.C.
Mr. Pollman said initial results of the survey showed a flicker of hope that Mr. McMullin could do well in some Deep South states. However, later survey analysis exposed an overlooked, critical measurement error.
“There was genuine widespread confusion down there about that name,” explained Mr. Pollman.
“It seems the words Evan McMullin do not translate smoothly to the Southern ear. A lot of them thought the pollsters were referring to a McDonald’s breakfast treat. That’s when concern grew that we were possibly in jeopardy of losing Dixie to that New York carpetbagger.”
…words Evan McMullin do not translate smoothly to the Southern ear…thought the pollsters were referring to a McDonald’s breakfast treat.
Mr. Pollman also said Mr. McMullin had announced his candidacy “with ridiculously insane timing,” as in many states the filing deadline for ballot access had passed or would expire within a few weeks after he announced his candidacy.
“At best, he’ll probably be able to get on the ballot in maybe two or three states. So we feel write-in candidates are the most viable option left if we’re going to preserve conservative Republican orthodoxy in the Confederacy,” Mr. Pollman speculated.
Mr. Pollman said #NeverTrump Republicans would be relying on later filing dates for write-in candidates in most Deep South states.
In most states, write-in candidates filing deadlines are in October and a few in September, and the #NeverTrump coalition believes they will be able to gain ballot access for write-in candidates in more states than Mr. McMullin will be able to get on ballots.
“We’re going to recruit the most popular person in every state. No matter the profession—athletes, preachers, reality TV stars—we think they will have an easier time slowing down Trump, no disrespect meant to Evans [Evan].”
The chief strategist provided reporters a preliminary list of possible write-in candidates.
Mr. Pollman acknowledged the chances of Mr. McMullin or a write-in candidate defeating Mr. Trump or Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in any state are slim, but he said the #NeverTrump movement’s ulterior motive is to “save the moral core fiber of modern Republicanism.”
“In any given election, anything can happen. Given an option, in the privacy of the ballot box people will vote their conscience. Nevertheless, the future of our party relies heavily on keeping the south solid Republican.”
Holleran N. Yellen II reports on dynamics of 2016 presidential election campaigns.