Could the GOP be so afraid of Donald Trump winning the nomination that the party has neglected the conservative emergence of John Kasich, a fellow member of the establishment? The governor of Ohio is, on paper and at hundreds of town hall meetings, beginning to stand out as this election’s safe vote for the GOP. Why the embattled Republican party is unable to see this is anyone’s guess.
Kasich has been under scrutiny by both Republican candidates, businessman Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who are pushing the party for a one-on-one battle. GOP representatives, like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney, are telling their supporters that a vote for Kasich is a vote for Trump.
The endorsements of Cruz are wrapped with irony since Graham vocalized his fear and loathing for the senator. Romney, who endorsed Kasich, before changing his mind, are all playing the same tune on repeat that many other party members are; a vote for Kasich is a vote for Trump.
Against all odds, why does the Ohio governor continue to press on? It would appear he is hexed with hope and the blind belief that if he keeps doing the right thing, the American people (and his party) will do what he believes is the right thing at the convention in the ides of July. Perhaps Kasich is trying to gather as many delegates as he can and then jump onto the ticket of another candidate, thereby handing that candidate his delegates.
For those who have taken a peek behind the curtain of what it is that Kasich is selling, it becomes easier to see in him what he sees in himself. He is a safe and battle-tested alternative to the progressive-pulling lefts and the far right of right-winged conservatives.
Kasich has spoken at (literally) hundreds of Town Hall meetings, a handful more than any other candidate and those that have seen the governor speak can see the giddiness the candidate displays when talking about balancing budgets. According to Kasich, balancing budgets is the most important thing on his presidential agenda, besides the threat of ISIS.
There is a great authenticity that is found in the cracks of his unrehearsed demeanor. Kasich speaks with a great deal of pride and knowledge about balancing budgets. Whether it was his recent tenure as governor of Ohio, or if it is the books that he worked on all the way back during the Reagan Administration.
Balancing budgets is far from a sexy topic for either party, but it is an important and neglected issue that should be addressed. Kasich has been on the ground in every voting state so far trying to get the word out about the importance of the country’s budget plan. Hosting more Town Hall meet-and-greets than any other candidate from either aisle. Kasich and his campaign are putting in efforts on all fronts to prove that he is ready for the position of commander-in-chief and a safe alternative for the voters.
His efforts are heating up at the right time. His confidence is becoming evident to those willing to follow his speeches. The presidential candidate has been showing more humor in his speeches and going into greater detail on subjects, proving he has not stopped educating himself about the issues at hand in order to become a well-rounded candidate. He finally looks like he belongs among the political elites.
He came in as an unknown name (beyond his congressional district) to the seventh-largest populated state and captured the seat of governor. As great a victory as that was, it is nothing compared to the victories he won as governor. Kasich brought in nearly half a million jobs to Ohio in his tenure. He has convinced multiple companies from China and Taiwan to bring their business to Cleveland and other cities across the state.
Kasich inherited an $8 billion deficit when he walked into office his first day but in two terms of balancing the state’s budget with fiscal spending, he buried the deficit and created a $2 billion surplus for the state. This was around the time he decided to drop the microphone and run for president.
He is not negative. In fact, Nick Gass of Politico published a story of how Kasich told one of his super PAC supporters to pull one of their ads that referred to Cruz with the same “lyin’ Ted” nickname Trump made up for him. “I don’t like that word,” Kasich said when asked to comment, “and I’ve told them that.”
He may not be flashy or incredibly memorable but he has a proven track record of working with both parties to get things done. He has brought jobs back to America. He has defeated huge deficits while cutting taxes each year in office as governor of Ohio. All this was done without the slightest hint of controversy in his years in office and throughout his campaign.
However, anything is possible at the approaching convention. Rumors from political correspondents from CNN, MSNBC and, most recently, the Chicago Tribune, has said that Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan could come out of nowhere and swipe the nomination. Ego could be what causes the GOP to overlook the governor and his emergence as a safe vote, seeing as he is the only candidate that leads the polls in a head-to-head against Hillary Clinton.
Opinion by T. Aaron DeGeorge
Edited by Cathy Milne & Jeanette Smith
Politico: Kasich wants super PAC to pull ‘lyin Ted’ Ad
On the Issues: John Kasich
Biz Journal: 2015 Coverage of the 2016 Hopefuls
CSPAN: John Kasich Town Hall
Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License