SALT LAKE CITY – Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin casts himself as the only 'true conservative' in the race and an alternative for voters wary of Republican Donald Trump.
The political newcomer has no chance at the presidency because he's not on enough ballots. But he could become a spoiler in Utah and establish himself as a political presence in parts of the West. McMullin makes a broad-stroke pitch that a vote for him will help lay the groundwork for a new conservative movement.
A look some of his policies:
REBUILD MILITARY, BOLSTER NATIONAL SECURITY
McMullin cites his national security experience and an understanding of military needs from his 11 years in the CIA doing mostly undercover counterterrorism work in war zones after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He also served as a national security adviser for the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
He says the U.S. needs to rebuild the military by spending more to train and outfit soldiers and add troops. He also says the Pentagon needs to be more accountable for taxpayer money.
U.S. AS GLOBAL PEACEKEEPER
McMullin says peace and stability are preserved by maintaining global alliances.
He calls for the U.S. to speak out against dictatorship and stand up for human rights. He favors tougher sanctions on Russia, punishment for Iran if it violates the nuclear deal and support for Israel. On Syria, he favors U.S. support for allied forces on the ground, not a commitment of U.S. troops.
In the CIA, he said, "I learned that people around the world depend on this country to be a light and a hope for them; that they someday have the freedoms and liberties that we have here."
McMullin calls Trump a racist who uses bigoted rhetoric. McMullin speaks of a new conservative movement or political party in which conservative principles would join with inclusivity and compassion.
He criticizes Republicans for failing to stand up to Trump.
"Right now, the Republican Party under the leadership of Donald Trump is not open to people of different races and religions and background," McMullin said. "It runs counter to the basic truths on which our country was founded."
ECONOMIC GROWTH RECIPE
McMullin proposes cutting tax rates for small businesses to 25 percent of profits, down from about 40 percent now. He wants income tax rates lowered to help the middle class.
On regulations, McMullin says he would curtail a blizzard of rules that go beyond their purpose and lift those that aren't helping anything.
He calls entitlement programs the greatest cause of the country's debt, saying Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are plagued by inefficiencies, waste and fraud. He doesn't say what should be done about that, except to change the programs so they are solvent for future generations.
PROTECT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
McMullin, a member of the Mormon church, advocates for the defense of religious freedom. He says the United States must defend the right for people to practice their faith, and he recognize that religious diversity is a strength of the country. That should be treated as a "core human right" in U.S. diplomacy, he says.