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Opinion: Tired of politics? Why I think Evan McMullin is the candidate you need

If politics feel divisive, pointless or self-promoting, I want to show you why Evan McMullin is different — and why it is the kind of different we desperately need

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Evan McMullin shakes hands with a member of the audience at the Democratic State Convention

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Evan McMullin shakes hands with a member of the audience at the Democratic State Convention at Cottonwood High School in Murray on Saturday, April 23, 2022. McMullin is running for Sen. Mike Lee’s seat.

Katie McKellar, Deseret News

Let me start with a disclaimer: There are a lot of things I don’t agree with Evan McMullin on. And that’s OK. But I am more excited about him as a candidate than any other election candidate in my lifetime.

Here are the top three complaints I hear from people on both sides of the political divide:

  • Politics feel so divisive and toxic. The “other” political party is too extreme.
  • My vote doesn’t matter. I’m not in a “swing state.” My state/county/city is going to vote the same way they always do, so why should I care?
  • Politicians are all the same. Left, right, they’re just in it for themselves. They’ll do whatever their biggest donors or political party leaders tell them. 

Maybe this sounds familiar. I’ve felt and said all these things at one time or another. But that’s what is truly remarkable about the Senate race in Utah this fall. This might be the most important race in the country this midterm year that no one is talking about. 

Let me take these points, one at a time, and tell you why McMullin is the candidate you can support.

Politics feel divisive?

McMullin is a candidate the left and right can get behind. He’s running to represent Utah, not just the Democrats or Republicans in Utah.

Will everyone love all of his policies? No. But we finally have a candidate who’s not interested in dividing us further or blasting the opposing party with hate and misinformation.

For those on the left, there is a lot to like in his common sense ideas on how to make Congress and our country more democratic and functional. For those on the right, he holds classic, conservative principles not dissimilar from Ronald Reagan

Your vote doesn’t matter?

This will be a close race with a profound impact for our country. In a Senate that will likely be close to evenly divided once again, a Sen. McMullin would lead to a profoundly different reality than a Sen. Mike Lee.

If you believe that bipartisan compromise is good, an independent senator from Utah could very well be the most important influence on making sure those compromises are in the best interest for our state and our democracy. Every vote counts on this one.

Politicians are only motivated by self-interest?

McMullin doesn’t take money from PACs or special interest groups, and he won’t caucus with Republicans or Democrats. It’s hard to put into words how big of a deal this is. We send our representatives to Washington hoping and expecting that they will represent us. But more often than not, their actual votes are aligned with whatever the party leaders want, which is aligned with whatever will help them raise the most money from wealthy donors.

McMullin won’t do that. In fact, by bucking the support of either party, he will have to work for us the voters. Most elected leaders seek reelection with the backing of huge funding from their respective political party. Not McMullin, he will be beholden to us and us alone. 

I know, it’s hard not to be cynical, skeptical and disillusioned with politics. Or with politicians. But we have to believe that things can get better and be better. This is not a year where you have to choose between the “lesser of two evils.” This year is a year we can make a real difference in this country, for the better.

Let’s come together, as Utahns, to elect Evan McMullin. 

Garrett Sherwood is a resident of Payson, Utah, where he lives with his wife and two sons.