Utah Senate candidate Evan McMullin won’t take a gamble with Republicans or Democrats

Utah Senate candidate Evan McMullin won’t take a gamble with Republicans or Democrats

During an interview on Meet the Press Sunday, Evan McMullin, who is running for the Senate as an independent from Utah, proudly stated that if he wins next month’s election, he will not make a deal with either party. McMullin has been a vocal critic of Trump, and so will he in 2020 approved Joe Biden for President. But his pledge not to meet with either party ended any hope that his disapproval of the Republican Party would translate into his work with Democrats.

Although McMullin did not mention Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., he perfectly described Manchin’s large role in the Senate.

During an interview on Sunday, McMullin justified his stance. He said his non-alignment with either party “will give Utah an added value of influence in the Senate that we just don’t have.” While McMullin didn’t mention Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., he perfectly described Manchin’s big role in the Senate and how Manchin accomplished it. Unfortunately, Manchin’s role is something McMullin wants to replicate. And that’s unfortunate, both for Democrats and for the American public.

Utah is a deeply conservative state, but to the surprise of many, its Senate race, once seen as a toehold for Republican incumbent Mike Lee, was recently classified as “wild card.” in the fight for the Senate. Lee is an avid Trump supporter, who also backed the former president’s plan to nullify the election on January 6, 2021. McMullin has found a lot of support among moderate and non-extremist Republicans, not to mention Democrats. The two, who debated Monday, are technically tied in the latest polls, with McMullin within the margin of error. Given the tight battle for control of the Senate, there is a very real possibility that if he were to win the election, McMullin would be the deciding vote in the 50-49-1 Senate, where Republicans hold a razor-thin majority.

While fewer extremists like Lee in the Senate would be good for the progressive movement at large, McMullin’s Manchin-esque approach could also signal a dangerous new trend, in which hungry or egotistical senators take advantage of the two-party system (which is simply not designed for this kind of politics calculations — unlike a parliamentary system, for example) to gain a disproportionate level of influence. This poses an even greater threat to the progressive cause.

While McMullin painted himself as a staunch defender of Democratic principles in refusing to meet with any party and therefore be politically limited, he also wrapped his story with lies: “We’ve seen it well enough over the past year or two, especially that senators in the Chamber which is ready to act with greater independence, serving its constituents, standing up to party bosses, standing up to extremist factions and special interest groups, they have the most influence in the House,” he said. “I think they’re more influential than even the party bosses, and I want that for Utah.”

Yes, since the last election Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Manchin have at times wielded even more influence in the Senate than party bosses. But that influence did not lead to their opposition to reactionary politics or special interests. Manchin has earned a reputation as a stickler for a Democratic and progressive agenda hostage, for example, playing a game of chicken with climate policy, which will irreversibly affect the whole world. In July, after what seemed like endless haggling with Manchin over the law, Sinema almost immediately revoked her support, demanding tax breaks for Wall Street’s wealthiest. The spectacle of the Democrats’ negotiations with Manchin proves how poorly the two-party system holds up against renegade or solipsistic politicians. Let’s not forget the joint decision of Sinema and Manchin in January to block the Democratic Voting Rights Act (which passed the House), aiding decades-long conservative efforts to disenfranchise disadvantaged communities, which also tend to vote Democratic.

The spectacle of the Democrats’ negotiations with Manchin proves how poorly the two-party system holds up against renegade or solipsistic politicians.

At the very least, we should loudly reject the Manchin effect. But this points to a larger issue. That a senator from a state with a small population (Utah has about 3 million people, West Virginia about 1.7 million) can shape the American political landscape and make or break laws that have political implications for the entire world should make us vociferously reject political system that enables these conditions. Inequality is built into the DNA of the American political system, not least because every state – regardless of population size – has two senators. California has about 40 million people, while Wyoming has 580,000, yet they have the same amount of representation in the Senate. In the senate 50-50, Democratic senators represent about 40 million more voters than Republicans. In less than 20 years, 30% of Americans will be represented by 70 senators, and 70% of Americans will be represented by 30 senators, according to political communication professor David Birdsella analysis.

The only two independent senators currently serving — Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine — understand this political reality and have demonstrated a real commitment to democratic and progressive principles by caucusing with the Democrats. McMullin’s political posturing, in which he insists he will never ally, betrays a more egotistical approach: a me-and-my-country-first approach, rather than a commitment to the broader ideals he claims to espouse.

“He could be in a very strong position if he could determine how the Senate is organized, which party gets the majority,” said Richard Davis, a political science professor at Brigham Young University in Utah. The Hill. “I think what he’s going to do is negotiate on behalf of Utah, get things for Utah out of this.”

Of course, senators and representatives are sent to Congress to work on behalf of their constituents. But these politicians do not exist in a vacuum, and there must be some political cohesion in the form of alliances for government to function, and for progressives, to advance and preserve basic rights. Using system vulnerabilities to play an egotistical game of chicken is not to be celebrated. While it might serve McMullin’s constituents in the short term, such political games only harm us all in the long run by undermining our democratic ideals: This is what we call the tyranny of the minority.

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