Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich. Photo from by Freep.com
By Janelle Clausen
John Kasich is the Republican the party needs, but not the one it will pick.
Kasich has experience across the public and private sector. He is currently serving his second term as governor of Ohio, a swing state that every Republican has won to become president. Prior to that, he served nine terms in the House of Representatives, during which he helped pass welfare reform and balance the budget in 1997. He also worked at Lehman Brothers, worked with Fox News and served on the boards of many companies.
This is a resume very few people can rival.
For all 18 of his years in the House of Representatives, he was part of the House Armed Services Committee. He also chaired the House Budget Committee for six years. While Congress seems more divided than ever, he is very familiar with the legislative process. This experience also signals familiarity with military and budget affairs (two key things a president should know).
Now add in his time in the executive branch as governor of Ohio. While the governor isn’t necessarily directly responsible for the economy, the state stood leagues above many others. Employment increase outpaced all other governors in the GOP race, personal income grew 15.5 percent and the state cut major deficits.
This may be cherry-picking facts, but Kasich has an incredibly strong record he can tout to voters. People like a strong economy. That’s a fact.
His record on abortion rights, though, is abysmal (depending on how you feel about abortion). It’s difficult to get an abortion after 20 weeks, ultrasounds are mandatory and abortion clinics must partner with local hospitals in Ohio. Also, many talk about how the average Ohioan was put to the side in favor of business interests.
What matters, however, is that he’s considered a relatively moderate Republican. He believes climate change exists, he accepts the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, expanded Medicaid and doesn’t yell about needing to build a wall on our southern border or ban all Muslims from entering the country. As the New York Times puts it, “Liberals like him.”
In order to win an election, one needs to steal the moderates. John Kasich, the moderate, could assemble such a broad coalition if the Republican Party miraculously picks him as the presidential nominee. People don’t like Hillary Clinton, most people are scared by the word “socialist” and the vast majority of people are not super conservative like Ted Cruz.
But primary elections often reward the bold and ideological. Assembling all conservatives does not amount to a winning coalition in a normal case, but here it can. Case in point: the angry Donald Trump and ideological Ted Cruz.
This year has been a strange season for politics too, with an almost overwhelming anti-establishment tone. Experience has taken a back seat. This is why Kasich handily lost Iowa and New Hampshire too, despite the state’s more moderate record. He isn’t representative of the party’s loudest voices.