I’ll be the first to admit that I am by no means an expert on John Kasich. I don’t live in Ohio and I didn’t pay attention to politics nearly as closely as I do now when he was a member of Congress. This article isn’t about breaking down who Kasich is, how disastrous he might have been for this country or how he’s been a terrible governor in Ohio. Any time I’ve brought his name up I get several messages from people in Ohio or who know more about him than I do who don’t exactly say the nicest things about him.
What I want to discuss is the 2016 GOP presidential primary and how Kasich’s overwhelming lack of success proves just how ignorant many Republican voters are in this country. Now when I say “disastrous,” I don’t mean that he was a disaster. Far from it, actually. What I mean is that his campaign was never remotely even close to contending. He won exactly one state – his home state – and slightly competed in a couple of others – that’s it.
While the original field of candidates was rather large, for the last few weeks it’s been Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
If I’m a Republican (though that will likely never happen), and I’m using logic and reason to determine who I should support (though I’m well aware most Republicans don’t use logic or reason), if I want to win this November, I’m supporting John Kasich.
I’ll be honest, I don’t believe it would have mattered if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders won the nomination. I really do think that if Kasich had become the GOP nominee, he would have beaten either one of them.
While I wouldn’t call him a moderate, in the world of the modern-day Republican party, he is a moderate. So, if he’s going up against Clinton, I think he would have attracted a good chunk of independent voters. If he would have gone up against Sanders, I think he could have appealed to a lot of the moderate and conservative Democrats (especially those 55+) who aren’t exactly onboard with supporting a democratic socialist. Furthermore, he would have likely given the GOP Ohio – which is a very important swing state.
I would also like to point out that it’s incredibly difficult for the same party to win the presidency three or more times in a row. The last two times it happened was when George H.W. Bush won it after Ronald Reagan in 1988 and in 1948 when Harry S. Truman won his only actual election after replacing Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945 (while Truman served almost two full terms, he wasn’t actually elected the first time – Roosevelt died). So, historically, Democrats were already facing a bit of an uphill climb in 2016 no matter who the candidate was.
But Republican voters had choices:
- They could vote for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, two of the most radical and dishonest candidates running for president. – or –
- They could have supported John Kasich, the candidate who would have likely given them Ohio and their best chance to win the White House in 2016.
Well, we all know what the majority of Republican voters chose.
John Kasich, for all of his faults, ran a positive campaign that, even as a progressive, I was rather impressed with. He didn’t get down in the mud with Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Bush and that whole circus nor did he try to build himself up by tearing others down. There were times when he was giving a speech where you felt like he just wanted to throw his hands up in the air and say, “What the hell is wrong with this party?”
Even though he’s a very conservative individual, John Kasich really is “today’s Republican moderate.”
But it’s also a testament to the mentality of the majority of Republican voters that, when presented with three candidates, you could literally rank how successful each campaign was based upon how dishonest they are.
No, seriously, here’s proof.
Plus, Republicans literally chose the candidate who polls worse against pretty much any candidate you put up against him. While I don’t put a whole lot of importance into head-to-head polls this far out, Trump performs, by far, the worst of any of the remaining GOP candidates against either Clinton or Sanders.
Even as a progressive, I will fully admit that I would have been afraid of John Kasich as the GOP nominee. I really do believe that he was the best shot Republicans had to win the White House this November – but he was the candidate who never stood a chance. Because the truth is, by today’s conservative standards, John Kasich just isn’t radical, crazy, hateful, bigoted or paranoid enough to appeal to the majority of conservative voters.
I really do believe that history is going to look back on 2016 as the year the Republican party officially died. While they may still call themselves the GOP, the party we see today has absolutely nothing in common with great Republicans from the past like Eisenhower, Roosevelt or Lincoln – those days are long gone.