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Evan McMullin is part of the problem.

George Frey/Getty Images

McMullin, who announced his conservative protest bid in August, has nearly pulled even with Trump in his home state of Utah. His appeal is based largely on the fact that he is not Donald Trump; instead, he is a genuine religious conservative. He’s therefore been upheld as an acceptably sane alternative to Trump by #NeverTrumpers on the hunt for a savior.

This is a mistake. McMullin certainly produces sane soundbites, but he, like Trump, represents the extreme fringe of the GOP.

He is stridently anti-abortion and wants to repeal Obamacare. His platform is broadly anti-public education; he promotes charter schools and school vouchers, and reserves a special shout-out for homeschooling. He also supports a sort of soft privatization of the Veterans Health Administration (something the majority of veterans still oppose):

McMullin also boasts some truly fascinating opinions about federal ownership of western land:

Because this election really needed The Ammon Bundy Candidate.

McMullin, of course, is not going to become president. He might not even win Utah. Even so, #NeverTrumpers should rethink their support for McMullin. Normalizing the party’s fringe is precisely what got them into their current predicament.