Third-Party Candidate Evan McMullin Officially Enters 2016 Presidential Race, But Can He Derail Trump Train? [Video]

Donald Trump just got some new presidential competition in the form of third-party candidate Evan McMullin. The BYU graduate and Utah native threw his hat in the ring last week, but this weekend his presidential campaign was made official. As Fox 13 Now reports, third-party candidate Evan McMullin was officially nominated for the U.S. presidency by the Independence Party of Minnesota by way of a vote on Saturday. Evan McMullin’s next hurdle? Obtaining the 2,000 signatures he’s going to need to get his name on the Minnesota general election ballot.

According to multiple reports, Evan McMullin, a Mormon with an Ivy League business degree as well as a former CIA official, has been billed as the “anti-Trump” candidate. If he manages to get on the ballot in just a handful of frustrated swing-states or even states that traditionally bow to the GOP but want no part of Donald Trump, he might have what it takes to derail the so-called Trump Train.

Even at this early stage of his third-party presidential campaign, McMullin has pulled no punches in describing what he perceives as Donald Trump’s deficits.

As Yahoo News reports, Evan McMullin said Friday that Trump has tapped into his voter base’s “darkest fears and prejudices.” He further alleged that the former reality TV star is a threat to national security. Something that a former CIA employee would be expected to be able to identify.

According to reports, McMullin wants disgruntled conservatives to have a non-Trump presidential option when they cast their ballot in November.

“There are a lot of Americans out there who are really, really struggling. They’re struggling under wage stagnation, a lack of other economic opportunities, and at the same time they don’t feel as if the government is hearing them. That’s real. Donald Trump has tapped into that in a way that other candidates did not. What he did, though, is he took it a step further and combined that frustration with people’s darkest prejudices and deepest fears.”

Even though it appears that the third-party candidate is directly targeting Donald Trump, he has said that he wants to keep both Trump and Clinton out of the White House. With that in mind, Evan McMullin’s voters will likely come directly from Trump’s voter base, and at a time when the GOP candidate is clearly floundering in the polls.

Like Trump, Evan McMullin has espoused a desire to return America to its roots and ideals. Unlike Donald, however, McMullin doesn’t feel as though the way to achieve his political goals is through building walls and banning immigrants. According to a recent speech given in his home state of Utah, McMullin told his audience that his America is one that welcomes people of all nationalities, ethnicities and religions.

“This good will is such a vital source of American strength that we cannot allow it to be destroyed by politicians or other personalities.”

It is likely that third-party candidate Evan McMullin will do very well in Utah, a traditionally red state full of voters that have wholeheartedly refused to get behind Donald Trump and his plans for the future. That is, if McMullin manages to get on the Utah ballot.

Reportedly, the third-party candidate has only until August 15 to collect the 1,000 verified signatures he needs to be an option in Utah during November’s general election. Despite the time crunch, Evan McMullin believes that he will get his name added to the list of presidential choices in Utah and that he will do extremely well in the state, perhaps even ripping Utah’s six electoral votes out from under Trump.

According to McMullin, Trump simply doesn’t care about Americans, a quality that makes the real estate mogul unfit to hold the office of POTUS.

“This is a guy who does not care about Americans the way you need to care about Americans in order to lead them, in order to be their president.”

Third-party candidate McMullin wants to base his presidential campaign on the positive, not take the negative route that has so controversially defined Trump’s 2016 candidacy.

“…we need to appeal to people’s better selves and I believe that will win the day, I really do.”

What do you think? Are you excited that conservatives will have a non-Trump alternative on election day? Do you think that McMullin’s campaign could derail the Trump Train and/or undermine conservative efforts to regain control of the White House in 2016? Could the presidential campaign of third-party candidate Evan McMullin totally shake up the upcoming presidential election?

[Photo by George Frey/Getty Images]