Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My take on John Kasich dropping out of the race.

Ohio Governor John Kasich's official portrait. 

Ohio Governor John Kasich is dropping out of the race, leaving Donald Trump as the only one still standing. Obviously this has a huge impact on the race. With no one to oppose him Trump will win all the remaining delegates and will easily pick up enough to ensure that there is no contested convention. 

It's not like Kasich was going to win anyways. Kasich was in 4th place in a three man race for the longest time, trailing Marco Rubio in delegates despite the fact that he dropped out after Florida. He never won a second state after Ohio and only occasionally picked up delegates. It was possible that his campaign would have gotten a boost with Ted Cruz getting out of the race but with Trump getting majorities in the past seven contests it did not matter. 

So why did Kasich fail? Here's the short list:

1. John Kasich never got mainstream name recognition. I remember talking to people as late as April, after the Wisconsin primary, who still knew next to nothing about Kasich. I think most people knew that the was a candidate for president but nobody really knew who he was and what he stood for. Out of anyone I talked to, I was the only one that really knew who John Kasich was and what he wanted to do. 

2. For those of us that did pay attention to Kasich, not many of us liked his policies and beliefs. Kasich was a moderate Republican and he was liberal in ways that was exact opposite of what the electorate wanted. He was pro immigration in a time when the GOP was almost totally opposed to it. He was also a neo-con when it came to foreign policy, which pushed away people like me who wanted a less aggressive foreign policy. Finally, Kasich angered social conservatives by supporting wedge issues such as Gay Marriage and opposing religious freedom bills. In short he was totally opposed to things that the GOP base wanted.

3. Kasich never really got a large coalition of supporters. His appeal was narrow. Leftist Republicans who were too conservative for the Democratic party, but too liberal to support anyone else. He also appealed to the Never Trump crowd that disliked Ted Cruz for whatever reason. And those were the only people he appealed too. That wasn't nearly enough to win him any states besides Ohio.

4. Kasich ran a clean, calm campaign and always tried to stay positive. This was a major mistake. Though his clean campaign always had a certain appeal, it did nothing to energize an electorate that is, quite frankly, pissed off and angry. The GOP electorate wanted someone who was willing to name the enemy and ridicule them. Kasich was not going to be the one to do that.

5. Kasich stayed in the campaign way longer then he should have. He never really had any appeal and stayed in the race despite poor showings until Ohio. He won his home state but was never able to follow it up with another win. When people like Marco Rubio drop out, who have won way more states, it's time to stop. 

6. Kasich was also hurt late in the game by supporting Ted Cruz's deal. Not only did that plan backfire on everyone involved it proved that Donald Trump was right about the GOP trying to steal the election from him. Though it hurt Cruz more then Kasich, it certainly didn't help him.

So what is next for Kasich? Presumably he goes back to Ohio and resumes his duty as governor. Some have suggested that Kasich might make a decent VP pick for Donald Trump. I guess it is possible but the main reason for Trump to pick Kasich was to get his delegates. That is not longer an issue so I doubt he will be picked. Kasich and Trump may kind of get along personally, but they have little in common when it comes to policy. They never burned their bridges so perhaps there is a place for Kasich in the Trump campaign and White House. 

There is always a chance that Kasich could run for president again. After all, this is his second time around. He actually ran back in 2000, but dropped out before Iowa. He's 63 years old though so the window is closing. The only real chance he has if if Hillary Clinton wins this year or Trump decides he only wants to be a one term president. He could run in 2024, but he would be in his 70's then. Still, Kasich is a governor in a major swing state. He will still have an impact in national politics. 

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