Most Republicans do not want their party’s internal disagreements to be fodder for the evening news each and every weeknight. Over the course of the past three weeks, it seems that businessman and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump and his main rival on the campaign trail, Texas Senator Ted Cruz have just been unable to keep themselves from swimming in the mud with one another. Overhearing the water cooler talk this past week, it was universally agreed to that both candidates are not helping their cause.
Placed strategically aside and free from the mud is Ohio Governor John Kasich, a favored son of the old fashioned Grand Old Party (GOP). As the presidential campaign returns to the Midwest in Wisconsin, both Trump and Cruz have been in a statistical dead heat, with multiple organizations polling both candidates within the margin of error for each poll. The race has suddenly become very personal, very brash, and in recent days, extremely embarrassing for both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump. Yet, for all the bluster between these two candidates, for all the mudslinging and name calling, standing above the fray is Kasich; just biding his time.
Trump leads Kasich in Pennsylvania by 3 points, 33% to 30%, with Ted Cruz a distant third at 20% support in the most recent polling data available. Kasich is playing the spoiler now in the hopes that he will siphon off enough votes from both Cruz and Trump to force a contested convention this summer in Cleveland, Ohio. In important upcoming states like Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, Kasich’s appeal is broad enough that he could do far more than just be competitive. While it would be difficult to make a prediction this far away from those primaries, it is not unfair to say that of the three remaining Republican candidates remaining, Kasich has run a clean and sleaze free campaign, not indulging in name calling or insults towards his opponents. Generally, one could say that Kasich would not only be fit to be commander in chief, he just might have the best capacity to evolve the GOP into a party that is more diverse and more inclusive.
Kasich’s presence in the race is presenting problems over at the DNC, without question. Recent polling data in a few states lately shows in a general election matchup, that Kasich would defeat both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, keeping the Democrats unsettled and subconsciously worried. The reality for this campaign is that on the Republican side, there is a candidate who would alleviate the concerns of the major patrons of the GOP, bringing in more campaign contributions towards important Political Action Committees (PAC), and the all important Super PACs. John Kasich has a successful history in politics, and is a proven winner both before and after every election he has run for office. His understanding and appreciation for the decorum of the Congress is just what the institution needs in order to begin following a new path to the future.
Most establishment Republicans do not like Cruz or Trump, and honestly do want an alternative to those two. This is where Kasich can help the Republican party to heal. Kasich is going to continue to receive votes, and if he can manage to build up some momentum coming out of Pennsylvania, there is still a chance that no candidate will reach the minimum 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination outright, according to party rules. Should the race tighten up between Trump and Cruz, as we see in Wisconsin right now, Kasich does have a chance to get a contested convention. However, when New York voters go to the polls on April 19, 2016, in Donald Trump’s home state, there is a strong possibility that he could earn all 95 delegates. If Trump did manage to win over 50% of the votes cast, he would win all of New York’s delegates, bringing him ever closer to the nomination.
Kasich is the best match to Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, while Trump matches up well with Clinton, but not Sanders, and Cruz would be a tough opponent for Clinton. Matching up against Sanders, were the election held today, Sanders would beat either Cruz or Trump, based upon the latest polling models.
For a contested convention to occur, there would have to be a lot of losing going on over at the Trump Express; and that simply has not been the case this entire primary election season. Trump has won and done so decisively in multiple states this campaign. Trump has not lost many contests to Cruz, and there are no indicators to say that Trump is about to start losing more contests, anywhere. Quite the opposite, polling data shows that Trump owns the middle class, blue collar worker coast to coast; the largest voting segment in the U.S.A. For Trump to lose that base would require that he go against any of his major platform ideas; and once again, there is no data to suggest that will change any time soon.
With Wisconsin’s vote just one week away, on April 5, 2016, we can all expect to see all three Republican candidates fanning out across Wisconsin, from the Dells to downtown Milwaukee, and to the upper northern reaches of the state. The winner in Wisconsin is going to be determined by who can win the middle class, blue collar vote. Now we can tell that spring has finally arrived; the candidates are buzzing around like the bees on flowers. Don’t expect them to slow down anytime soon.
If Cruz cannot get 1,237 delegates, he will not win a ballot at the convention. If Trump cannot get 1,237 delegates, he won’t win a ballot either. At that point Kasich is the choice for the establishment. Republicans will either get an outsider or Kasich. Now that is the real choice that Republicans will need to make and make soon, in order to unify their party. Kasich can do that, and he can take the White House too.