What is independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin’s endgame? Here’s one semi-plausible path for him to win the White House.
New York Magazine suggests Mullin is hoping to win Utah’s 6 electoral votes, then have a ton of things go his way, which would deny both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the 270 electoral votes they need to win.
If you go to one of those interactive electoral-college-calculator sites, you can come up with a reasonably plausible scenario where Clinton wins Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Colorado and winds up with 269 EVs, and Trump wins Iowa, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, and North Carolina and gets 263. That would indeed throw the race into the House, and at that point we are supposed to believe that a U.S. House repelled by the two major-party candidates will turn to McMullin after 30 or 40 ballots or so.
Is this a clinically insane scenario? Not really, since something vaguely like this (if you want to compare Evan McMullin to John Quincy Adams, which is a tad unfair to the sixth president, who was also secretary of State and Speaker of the U.S. House) happened in 1824. It is absolutely ludicrous, of course, and depends, for even threshold credibility, on the possibility that both Clinton and Trump will do something completely disqualifying between Election Day and a theoretical election in the House, after doing something systematically alienating the people of Utah much earlier. Trump’s made a good start on this last precondition for a McMullin win, but a few dozen other dominoes need to fall before this last gasp of the NeverTrump faction of the Republican Party breathes regularly.