Evan McMullin Not For the Democrats, Not For the GOP

Evan McMullin, who ran for president but lost, still says he isn’t a member of the Democrat Party of the United States.

He says this even though he won the Democratic Party of Utah’s endorsement on Saturday. He still owes $670,000 from that campaign.

A spokeswoman for his campaign confirmed to the Salt Lake Tribune that if elected, he will promise Utah residents he won’t caucus with the Republican or Democratic parties.

He is doing this despite the fact this pledge could sound pleasant to the Utah Democrats, whom McMullin does not want to offend by claiming he will form a coalition with Republicans.

Aside from that, it would also be pleasant to Utah Republicans who would be affronted if he caucused with the Democrats.

McMullin’s commitment is either an obvious lie or a guarantee to be utterly helpless when he attempts to represent Utah in Washington.

Factors to Consider

What McMullin either doesn’t understand, or is hoping Utah voters don’t understand, is the following:

While gaining a Senate seat grants you the right to vote and speak on the floor of the Senate, it does not provide you with the right to serve on any committees.

Every two years, the Republican base and the Democrat Party agree on the number of senators who will serve on certain committees.

It is always the case that their final deal reflects the power imbalance between the two factions, based on the number of members each party has in its group.

As a result, despite the fact Democrats only had 48 senators this year, independent politicians, such as Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, were elected to join the Democrats.

Because of this, the Democratic faction now has an even 50 members, compared to the Republican caucus, resulting in each party holding half of the committee positions.

If somehow, Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler had secured their runoffs against Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Republicans, would’ve had 51 senators and been able to negotiate a one-seat plurality on every panel.

Bad News For the People of Utah

McMullin would not have had a seat at the negotiation table if he hadn’t joined a caucus of Democrats.

Neither political party is bound to offer him a position on a committee. He also has no reason to be considered for any committee positions until he decides to join a caucus, as Sanders and King agreed.

In the Senate, committee seats are highly prized possessions. They give senators greater influence over the legislation that comes out of those panels. They offer senators additional personnel to work on the many topics each committee is responsible for covering.

It is doubtful that senators will assign McMullin to a committee unless they are guaranteed something in return.

As a result of not joining a caucus, McMullin will not be able to have a say in any committee work, which will be bad news for the people of Utah.

McMullin must either be upfront with Utah citizens and say which political party he plans to caucus with, or be honest and acknowledge he will not be assigned to any committees.