John Kasich Dropping Out, Clearing The Field For The Worst GOP Candidate Ever
In a rational universe somewhere, John Kasich is preparing to become the de facto Republican nominee for President. In ours, he's dropping out in favor of Donald Trump.
Following in the wake of last night’s blowout win by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz’s decision to end his Presidential campaign, the end of the campaign for the Republican nomination comes today with the announcement that Ohio Governor John Kasich is dropping out of the race:
John Kasich is dropping his presidential bid, according to a senior campaign adviser, one day after Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee and Ted Cruz bowed out of the race.
The Ohio governor had long ago been mathematically eliminated from clinching the GOP nomination outright but had hoped to emerge as a consensus candidate at a contested convention.
Ultimately, Kasich outlasted nearly all of his rivals but can claim to have beaten few of them. He won only one contest — his home state of Ohio — during the primary season, and his final tally of 153 delegates puts him fourth in the race behind Marco Rubio, who dropped out in mid-March.
Kasich had said Tuesday night that he would keep fighting, but after Cruz suspended his campaign and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive nominee, Kasich apparently decided to end his bid.
Kasich had been expected to talk with reporters this morning at Washington Dulles International Airport before embarking on what his campaign termed a full day of finance events in Maryland and Virginia. But the campaign later canceled the briefing and scheduled a news conference at 5 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio.
Kasich had a flash of hope when he won Ohio’s winner-take-all primary. But after that triumph failed to spark any subsequent victories, Kasich pinned his hopes to a contested convention, with a plan to hang on through the primary contests and snatch the nomination on the back of being the last candidate standing.
The Ohio governor’s campaign tried to cast its candidate as a steady, accomplished alternative to Trump and Cruz who would fare better against a Democrat in the fall. And he entered the contest with a much-hyped team. He mixed longtime, trusted Ohio aides with nationally known Republican operatives — John Weaver served as the campaign’s chief strategist and admaker Fred Davis worked with the campaign’s super PAC.
In any other Presidential election year, one in which an insane level of anti-immigrant, xenophobic partisanship had not infected the base of the Republican Party to its core, a candidate like John Kasich would have been taken far more seriously. His resume multi-term Congressman who spent the 1990s as head of the House Budget Committee from where he worked together with others in Congress, and with a Democratic President, to bring some degree of (temporary) sanity to the Federal Budget. From there, he spent several years in the private sector before re-entering the arena with a campaign for Governor of Ohio, which he recaptured from the Democrats just four years after the scandal-ridden Administration of Bob Taft seemed to have tarnished the reputation of Ohio Republicans for at least a decade to come. Four years later, after a generally successful first term, he was re-elected in a landslide that included across the board support from groups that typically don’t vote Republican. Add in the fact that he represents a state that the GOP absolutely must win if it is to win the General Election, and the arguments in favor of a Kasich candidacy are rather obvious.
As I’ve said, in a rational election year, Kasich, or someone like him in the form of a Governor with significant experience and preferably from a swing state, would have been considered a near perfect candidate by Republican primary voters. Yes, he did stray from conservative orthodoxy by agreeing to sign on to the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid for his state, but that seems like a decision that could easily have been spun as an action by a Governor who believed it was in the best interest of the people of his state. Moreover, beyond that one decision Kasich’s record consists largely of a record of sane, competent government in the mold of what used to be a typical conservative Republican. The GOP’s anathema for President Obama in general and the PPACA in particular, though, meant that many voters immediately rejected Kasich without considering other parts of his record, a reaction that is compatible with the take no prisoners ideological bent that the GOP base had taken, an attitude which doesn’t allow for any consideration of compromise. Given that, it’s no surprise that candidates like Kaisch, Christie, Bush, or, to draw from the 2012 cycle, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson or Mitch Daniels are automatically rejected by the GOP and candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz notwithstanding all of the negatives that one can list about them. It’s not a path to electoral success in the General Election, but it is an inevitable result of the ideology that has taken hold of the base of the Republican Party. Now, we’ll get to see the perfect manifestation of that ideology actually run as the party’s nominee. Perhaps when the GOP is dealt its inevitable loss, it will come to its senses.