For all the attention it received from the non-Breitbart conservative media establishment, the so-called #NeverTrump movement doesn’t appear to have had a whole lot of impact at the voting booth on Tuesday. However, the presidential candidate who came to symbolize traditional Republicans opposed to the nomination of Donald Trump apparently hopes to take what’s been started and try to build a movement.
Even as Trump was glad-handing his way through the Republican congressional leadership Thursday, Evan McMullin, a former House Republican staffer -- and until the election, independent candidate for president -- emailed his supporters to continue their opposition to the president elect in areas where he falls short of old-school Republican values:
“Now, more than ever, it is time for a new generation of American leadership, a new era of civic engagement, and a New Conservative Movement. We are not giving up. This is only the beginning.”
Notably, the email contained no suggestion that McMullin’s supporters fall in line behind, or even give the benefit of the doubt, to President-elect Trump.
“As we face the reality of Donald Trump’s victory and the uncertain future it holds, we must not give up on the timeless principles for which we have fought,” he wrote. “That’s why we are going to continue building The New Conservative Movement.”
“We will stand on the same truth we started with: equality, freedom, liberty, and inclusiveness. If you’re reading this, you already know what we stand for and we’re asking you to keep standing,” it continued.
What followed was a request for donations, and an opportunity to sign up for a new email list. Doing so brought another email that promised to soon share information about how this New Conservative movement would “take the next step.”
What’s unclear is just how much #NeverTrump sentiment there really is out there in the Republican electorate.
For a movement supposedly based on widespread discontent with the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, though, the New Conservative movement may have to scrape for members angry enough to join it in any significant numbers. Donald Trump won 90 percent of the vote of registered Republicans who showed up at the polls on Tuesday -- a better showing than Hillary Clinton, whose 89 percent of the Democratic vote came without a newly-formed splinter movement aimed at taking her down.
McMullin only came in third in his home state of Utah, with 20 percent of the vote.
Nevertheless, he remains optimistic that he has built the beginnings of a movement.
“We are not going away,” he told his supporters Tuesday.
“No longer can we stand by and passively hope our leaders will stand up for our rights, stand up for women, people of different races and religions, stand up for people with disabilities. We can no longer do it,” he said.