John Kasich’s Disastrous Campaign Proves How Ignorant the Majority of Republicans Are

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.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Paul Julian Gould

    Yes, for all the truly bad things about Kasich and his tenure as a governor, he didn’t get down in the mud and play either the batshit Dominionist game, nor the litany of insults and lies regarding his opponents.

    That’s why they didn’t vote for him… This is the modern-day Republican party, informed and portrayed more by Chuck Norris, the bizarrely pneumatic lunatic state legislator in Nevada, Duck Dynasty, the Duggars, and the huge self-perpetuating echo-chamber of their friends and game-partners on Facebook.

    TR, Ike, and, hell, even their vaunted St. Ronnie have been dead a while… this is the party of Trump and Cruz and they built that.

    • Paul Julian Gould

      At one time, and even perhaps presently, an old leftie like me could still see at least considering a vote for John Huntsman… he never had the earned negatives Kasich has had with his pandering to the fundies and the batshit, and seemed a thoughtful man, willing to consider rather than knee-jerk and pander… An honorable man, although I’d probably disagree with his priorities… No chance of that ever again… Kasich is merely more gentle-spoken and maybe a bit more thoughtful than Trump or Cruz, but still a pretty whacked-out winger, and it’s only by comparison he seems more reasonable. More’s the pity.

      • anastasjoy

        He only seems more “gentle spoken” because of the tiny, doled-out doses you’ve seen of him. He’s really a rude, arrogant bully.

    • anastasjoy

      Kasich is a fundie. Don’t know about dominionist; he hasn’t gone that route publicly. But his attacks on women’s reproductive freedom have been the most extreme of any governor.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        Please don’t hear me praising the fool… My point was more that it shows just how batshit Cruz and Trump have been and are that such a schmuck as Kasich seems reasonable by comparison.

        I’m well-aware of Kasich’s history, and would sooner pull out my fingernails with rusty pliers than vote for him…

        It shows just how far that “Overton Window” has moved that even someone such as Nixon or Reagan seems somehow better…

        They made their bed with Trump, now, and they’re just gonna have to lie in it.

        More like the past 40 years, but at least the past 8 the constant hate, negativity and obstruction just because have borne their bitter fruit. Carlin’s dictum regarding half the people around being more stupid than the most average person you know is more than obvious.

        We’ve got a lot of really smart people in our nation, but face it, with 300M+ people, there’s a huge population infected with congenital derpitude.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        No… Cruz, pere et fils, are the dominionists… Kasich is more a garden-variety fundie… better, only by comparison, and that ain’t sayin’ much, y’know?

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