Newly minted Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin announced his campaign Monday, positioning himself as an alternative for Republicans who won't support Donald Trump, their party's own nominee. Recognizing that many prominent members of the GOP and conservative Americans abhor both major party candidates, McMullin and his team of influential Republican backers are asserting that "It's never too late to do the right thing" and by that they mean block both Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton from the White House. It's clear what McMullin is not, but what exactly does he stand for? As Americans get to know him better before the election in November, they'll want to know what Evan McMullin's views on women's issue are, and how he'll address many other challenges, too.
Real estate mogul and former reality TV star Trump, is, of course, incredibly unpopular with women, as he has basically insulted and belittled them for most of his adult life. And he's definitely alienated them throughout this campaign, like when he said women who have abortions should be punished, or just last week when he insinuated that women who experience sexual harassment at their jobs are weak and should find somewhere else to work.
So, McMullin, a former CIA agent and chief policy director at the House Republican conference, has a real opportunity to woo Republican women feeling disaffected by the vitriol Trump regularly spews at them.
But the 40-year-old McMullin has, like Trump, never before held elected office, and his official stance on issues like reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, preventing sexual harassment at work, access to childcare and many other issues that largely affect women aren't yet public knowledge. What's clear, though, is that although he's technically running as an Independent, he's a solid Republican. Besides already having worked for the party in Congress, McMullin has the backing of "well-known GOP operatives," according to ABC News, as well as "serious" Republican donors and fundraisers who will contribute to his campaign.
And the official Republican Platform, updated in July, opposes abortion in all situations and opposes the allocation of public funds to any entity where they're performed, like Planned Parenthood. The platform does also state that the party "emphatically" supports the original meaning of the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972, that no person be excluded from any education program on the basis of sex. "That language opened up for girls and women a world of opportunities that had too often been denied to them," the platform reads. (But it's worth noting that that, of course, doesn't protect discrimination based on gender identity.)
It's easy to assume that, because of the Republican support McMullin has garnered, that his views on women's issues will reflect those of the party platform and those of former Republican presidential hopefuls (like rejecting an increase in the federal minimum wage, which would help the largely female low-wage worker populations, and opposing the Violence Against Women Act). But his official campaign website, EvanMcMullin.com, had not laid out any official stances or policy proposals. And while his Twitter page is a collage of anti-Trump sentiments, he doesn't mention any of the issues that disproportionately affect women.
At the Republican National Convention in July, Trump's daughter Ivanka claimed that equal pay for equal work was part of her father's platform, even though that, uh, doesn't seem to be the case. Clinton, on the other hand, has publicly pledged to help American women by working to close the wage gay between women and men, mitigating violence against them, advocating for paid family leave, and more. While those positions are certainly attractive to many women, there are undoubtedly many others seeking a more conservative non-Donald Trump option to vote into office.
McMullin's biggest claim to fame before deciding to run for president was a TEDx Talk about genocide he gave earlier this year. He also delivered a speech about the past, present, and future of the Republican party during which he talked vaguely about the right to pursue happiness. If he hopes to contend with the current (albeit not especially popular) presidential heavyweights, he'll have to publicize his stances on a whole ranges of issues. He'll surely want to court women voters, so outlining where he stands on issues that affect them most is absolutely crucial.