In an election that saw the two least liked major-party nominees in modern history, Independent candidate Evan McMullin appeared as a dark horse late in the 2016 race. As a conservative Independent, McMullin in particular offered an alternative to the many Republicans deflecting from Donald Trump. He was also expected to provide a boost to Hillary Clinton by siphoning votes away from Trump in traditionally conservative areas. But regardless of his effect on the nominees, how many people voted for McMullin as the Independent candidate for president? The number created ripples outside of his home state of Utah.
When all was said and done, it seems like less than 500,000 people voted for McMullin in the 2016 race. Early predictions saw McMullin's greatest effect would be in Utah, with a RealClearPolitics poll placing him less than 1 percentage point behind Clinton leading up to the election. But as of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, McMullin had won only 160,800 votes in Utah.
Political experts predicted that if McMullin won Utah's six electoral votes — making him the first third party candidate to capture any electors since 1968 — he would then have a chance at preventing both Clinton and Trump from getting the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, however much of a long shot it was. Without the 270 electors, the election would then be handed to the House of Representatives, which could have potentially given the win to McMullin.
So how did the "Utah Scenario" play out in the actual election? Trump, who, as we all know by now, was the victor of the 2016 election, ended up taking Utah with approximately 360,000 votes, 200,000 more than McMullin earned.
However, McMullin has said he will not give up, calling on conservatives to abandon the Republican party. "The Republican Party can no longer be considered the home for conservatives. Conservatism is about protecting the fundamental rights: That we are all equal, regardless of the color of our skin, the faith that we practice or our gender. But tonight there are millions of Americans, I’m sad to say, who are now in fear that perhaps their liberties will be challenged and threatened under a Trump administration that has made a campaign of targeting people based on their race, religion and gender."