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With the election only weeks away, Hillary Clinton appears to have the lead and the momentum. As of this writing, the FiveThirtyEight polls-only forecast gives her around an 87 percent chance of winning — up from around 55 percent in late September – and that may not have fully absorbed the fallout of Trump’s lewd video, debatable debate performance or the daily deluge of fresh scandal jeopardizing his candidacy.
But if Clinton doesn’t run away with this, there is another candidate who may also have seen his chances of becoming president skyrocket. The third-most likely person to be the next president of the United States: Evan McMullin.
It would take a fascinating scenario — in which much of the technical detail of how we select presidents comes into play — for McMullin to be sworn in as the 45th president, but the chances of its happening are slim, not none.
. . . According to the bio on his website, he served in the CIA for about a decade, and spent time in investment banking, as an adviser for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as policy director for the House Republican Conference. On the issues, McMullin has taken fairly orthodox Republican positions, including supporting free trade. He has been critical of Trump on immigration, refugees, anti-Muslim rhetoric and on temperament and fitness to be president.
The idea that an independent candidate could swoop in to win has been largely dismissed, on the grounds that any conservative-leaning third-party candidate would be more likely to hurt Trump than Clinton, thus making a Clinton victory more likely. But McMullin may have one advantage that other second-tier candidates do not: Utah.
His path to the presidency basically looks like this:
- Win Utah
- Deadlock the Electoral College
- Win in the House
An Update: Here’s How We’re Forecasting The 4-Way Presidential Race In Utah.