John Kasich is resilient.
In July, Kasich entered the Republican race as the 16th candidate of the party, creating the largest presidential race in the Republican party’s history.
However Kasich hasn’t experienced high poll numbers since launching his campaign. He also lacks the name recognition that candidates like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have. According to Real Clear Politics, Kasich didn’t even reach double digit poll numbers (11 percent) until Feb. 12, and dropped below 10 percent three times over the course of the next two weeks. But since Feb. 12, four candidates have dropped out, including Jeb Bush, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, respectively.
His numbers since Rubio’s dropout have yet to drop below 16 percent, and a majority of the time have stayed above 20 percent.
But why is this influx of support happening? Is there any reason outside of simply just outlasting the rest of the competition that John Kasich is being seen as a more viable option? Is there an actual support system behind him that isn’t solely driven from wanting to elect anybody but Cruz or Trump?
The answer is yes and no.
Of course looking at Kasich, he is a healthier option for not only moderate Republicans, but those who want to stay within the establishment as well. But it’s hard to argue that Kasich is being picked for his views when some polling shows upwards to 70 percent of people have unfavorable views towards Trump, and over half of people (according to the Huffington Post) have an unfavorable view towards Cruz.
Yet reducing his campaign to nothing but a last resort doesn’t quite do him justice. Kasich has been different from the get-go. While other politicians have made their platform off of why the world is broken, and how close we are to losing everything, Kasich has been different. He’s come with a more positive tone. He has asked for more common sense in the political process, electing to take routes that won’t cause so much political fighting. He has come with a message of hope and happiness.
Perhaps Kasich has come as a breath of fresh air in a political world of doom and gloom. But at this point it is fair to ask why he’s still running. He has shaken up the race on the Republican’s side, but the Ohio governor hasn’t made much more of an impact outside of that (at least not for him personally). He has won one state (his own), and is polling nearly 20 points behind Trump, and more than 10 points behind Cruz.
Many argued that it was imperative for him to win Ohio to keep Trump from gaining the majority of delegates needed to be given the nomination. He did that, and it is looking increasingly more and more likely that no candidate will gain the majority of delegates before the Republican convention in July.
But even without the needed delegate count (1,237 delegates are needed for the nomination), Trump has over 700 delegates. Cruz has over 500, while Kasich is sitting with 143. It may be nice to think that Kasich has a chance to win the nomination, but a delegate count swinging that rapidly and strongly at the convention would be nearly impossible, barring a miracle for Kasich’s team.
This also doesn’t account for the fact that if Kasich is given the nomination despite trailing for quite literally the entire race, Trump will most likely run as a third-party nominee and split the Republican vote, almost guaranteeing a Democrat victory in November.
So why exactly is Kasich still running? Saying it’s an honest effort is ideal, but that’s an expensive ideal that is probably not worth chasing at this point. Is he a last-ditch effort for the Republicans to keep from electing Trump? Maybe. But again, Trump will most likely run as a third-party candidate if not nominated.
In all likelihood, Kasich is still running for the sake of building his brand. He’s running so we know his name, so we know he is different. He is running so journalists and writers write pieces about him asking what he is doing. At this point it’s all but official that Kasich will not win the nomination. Kasich knows that, even though, for obvious reasons, he won’t say it.
It goes without saying that Kasich has changed the race, but it’s unfortunate that his views and his different outlook from the other candidates is being wasted as merely a buffer to keep out other candidates. This campaign has shown its resilience, but resilience can only carry you so far.
Any moves by Kasich at this point are moot. It is brand-building right now, planning for a future run perhaps. The case for him to stay in the race are few and far between, but if his campaign can find value in being the home for Anti-Trump and Cruz, then more power to him. Just don’t be surprised when it amounts to nothing.
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post