The only sane Republican alternative

by Lorenzo Piccoli

There still seems to be only a glimmer of a sliver of a possibility that a sane person might emerge as the Republican alternative to Donald Trump. John Kasich has proven, time and time again, that he is the only true presidential candidate in the circus of the Republican nominees.

The Ohio governor is the most experienced and the only one who has the substantive side of the campaign covered. Sure, Kasich is a hard-core conservative –  in his first term as a governor he’s gone after public-sector unions, fought to limit abortion rights and opposed same-sex marriage. He is strongly influenced by his religion and often talks about God and his personal beliefs while on the campaign trail. But unlike all the other conservatives in the race, he seems to be the only one who is capable of bargaining and getting things done. As the New York Times wrote in February, “as a veteran of partisan fights and bipartisan deals during nearly two decades in the House, he has been capable of compromise and believes in the ability of government to improve lives. He favors a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, and he speaks of government’s duty to protect the poor, the mentally ill and others “in the shadows.” While Republicans in Congress tried more than 60 times to kill Obamacare, Mr. Kasich did an end-run around Ohio’s Republican Legislature to secure a $13 billion Medicaid expansion to cover more people in his state.” Kasich has, in fact, an impressive track record: he won nine terms as a congressman and one as Ohio governor. When he took over in 2011, the state was $8 billion in the red with an economy in the doldrums. Today it has a surplus of $2 billion, and its workforce has increased by 350,000. He has even managed to dole out $5 billion in tax cuts. The Time Magazine also endorses Kasich, writing that “Trump’s speeches are all about him: his polls, his edifices, his steaks. Kasich’s speeches are about the audience. He encourages people to tell their “stories.” Often, these have little or nothing to do with politics… Kasich is the least hortatory candidate in the race. You listen to Hillary Clinton making grand pronouncements–“And isn’t it about time that we had equal pay for women?”–and you cringe: Yeah, of course, it is … but why are you yelling at me?

Kasich numbers are now surging as people start rewarding a positive campaign. However, after losses in Super Tuesday, the hope for a Kasich nomination relies entirely on his ability to take Ohio on March 15—a winner-take-all state.

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If he succeeds in taking Ohio, Darrel Rowland writes, maybe “somehow, some way, this John Kasich guy just might have a chance.” The Buckeye State is key in any presidential election: no president since John Kennedy has won without carrying it. But even if Mr. Kasich wins Ohio and its 66 delegates, along with some of the others at stake on the same day in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, his chances of gaining a majority of 1,237 remains close to a mathematical impossibility.