Here's why I would be a better president than Trump or Clinton

This commentary originally appeared on The Hill.

American voters want to feel proud of the choices they make on Election Day. They are searching for a candidate who has both a positive vision and the personal integrity to make that vision credible. When they leave the voting booth, they want to feel that they have done something to put America back on the path toward justice and integrity.

What voters tell me is that settling for the lesser of two evils is simply not good enough.

Voting is an affirmative act that lets us express who we are and what we stand for. We can argue at length about which of the major party candidates falls further below the minimum ethical standard we have for our politicians, but voting for someone who is unfit to serve weighs heavily on our conscience.

"Only two weeks remain before the election, yet a lot can change in that time."

Right now, many voters feel trapped by the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They know that they can vote for an independent or third party candidate, but why lose the opportunity to influence whether Trump or Clinton will win their home state and its votes in the Electoral College?

The people of Utah have shown that there is a way out of this trap. At first, there were hundreds of Utahns who stood up and insisted they would vote their conscience. They told their neighbors and friends that they didn't have to settle for less. Soon there were thousands of Utahns ready to vote their conscience, then tens of thousands.

Utah is now a battleground state, where my independent campaign is neck-and-neck with Trump and Clinton — but the momentum is on my side.

Meanwhile, this determination to do the right thing is spreading to Idaho, Wyoming, and other states in the Mountain West. Voters can break out of the two-party trap if they are willing to lead the way. As I've said from the moment I launched my campaign, it's never too late to do the right thing.

What we are seeing now is the birth of a movement that is calling for a new generation of American leadership. It is a movement dedicated to the principle that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The equality of all means that this movement repudiates racism and the degrading treatment of women. It rejects all forms of religious bigotry, especially the anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry of the white power extremists known as the alt-right.

The movement for a new generation of leadership also believes that character matters and that we can expect more from our candidates. The first two debates this year have demonstrated how Trump and Clinton cannot escape the past. Regardless of the question, they immediately shift their focus to the innumerable scandals that call into question their opponent's fitness to serve.

This approach has been moderately successful, at least in terms of persuading American voters that both candidates have put their personal interests ahead of the national interest, and then relied on an impressive array of falsehoods to conceal that fact.

I have tried to set a better example. I spent 11 years as an officer with the CIA, working alongside thousands of men and women who put country first. On five occasions, I volunteered to serve overseas, fighting terrorism on the front lines in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

I am a constitutional conservative dedicated to preserving the checks and balances created by the founders. The time has come to restore appropriate limits on executive power while ensuring that judges are faithful to the Constitution as it was written and intended. We must have a government that is accountable to the people, not an insulated Washington elite that puts special interests and insiders first.

The time has also come to kick start our economy by rolling back excessive regulations, reversing tax hikes, and bringing down the deficits that have left us with an unprecedented $19 trillion debt, almost half of it accumulated over the past eight years. I believe we can do this while fulfilling our obligation to serve as stewards of our natural environment, which is a magnificent divine gift.

While the economy recovers, we must redouble our efforts to help the 43 million Americans living below the poverty line and millions more living on the edge of poverty. There are dozens of federal programs that provide relief to the poor, but these programs are set up in a way that discourages work and marriage — two of the most important forces that can lift us out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency.

A president should also be a guardian of the nation's values. I believe that life is precious from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. I will defend religious liberty, so that no one is punished for having traditional views of life and marriage.

Only two weeks remain before the election, yet a lot can change in that time.

Until we start voting for the kind of leaders we truly want, we will keep having to settle for less. Join me and help build the movement for a new generation of American leadership.

Commentary by Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and the Independent candidate for president. Follow him on Twitter at @Evan_McMullin.

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