mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“In Search Of A David To Take On Goliath”: Will The Republican Establishment Rally To John Kasich?

As expected, Donald Trump cruised to a crushing victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. (Who would have believed last June when Trump entered the race that we’d be yawning at his winning New Hampshire?) Trump blew away his competitors, securing well above 30 percent of the vote – more than double that of the first runner-up.

And that’s where the real story of New Hampshire lies: Ohio Gov. John Kasich came from the bottom of the pack to secure a second-place finish. Will he be the savior to deliver us from Trump?

“Enormous pressure is on the establishment wing to consolidate around one candidate soon,” Republican strategist Ron Bonjean says, “or else it will hand the Republication nomination over to Trump.” Indeed, the Republican primary has made a fickle fashion show thus far. The establishment and donor classes have tried on different candidates, sizing up their chances of taking down Trump before casting them aside for the next contender.

Even before Trump took over the race, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was supposed to be the party’s heir-apparent. Leading in the earliest polls (pre-Trump, of course), he had the name and the cash to make the establishment drool. But Trump’s entrance into the race flat-lined Bush’s already lackluster campaign, and Jeb’s been floundering ever since to regain steam, with little success. Consider that his campaign is touting his fourth-place finish in New Hampshire as a sign of great momentum. Please clap.

Then there was Ben Carson, an outsider like The Donald but more humble than braggart. Carson shot to favor in August and soared so close to Trump in the polls that the nervous front-runner publicly compared him to a child molester and mocked his self-described violent past. Amid more questions about his biography and bizarre religious and historical beliefs, Carson’s near-catatonic excuses proved ineffective and his support plummeted by mid-November.

Enter Sen. Ted Cruz, who almost immediately rose to second place. A month out from the Iowa caucus, he secured endorsements from influential conservatives in the state like Rep. Steve King. Yet almost as quickly as Cruz settled in behind Trump, the Republican establishment wanted him out. It turns out that nearly everyone who has come into contact with the senator from Texas dislikes him. With a passion.

Faced with the option of a President Trump or a President Cruz, the GOP looked ready to unfurl a “Make America Great Again” banner over the White House. Yet rather than capitalizing on this momentum, Trump busied himself picking a fight with the GOP’s official mouthpiece, Fox News, skipping the last debate before the caucus. Meanwhile, Cruz zeroed in on Iowa’s evangelical vote and came out of the Feb. 1 caucus with a surprise win.

Now desperate, the establishment looked to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for salvation. Rubio took the bronze in Iowa but treated it like a runaway victory, and that was good enough for the Washington establishment. He shot up in national polls and climbed to second place behind Trump in New Hampshire last week. He looked to be just the bright, energetic contender the party had been waiting on to unite its factions and take down Trump – until he famously malfunctioned at last week’s GOP debate, earning nicknames like “Rubot” and “Marcobot.” Rubio finished fifth in New Hampshire.

Which brings us to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “What’s clear is that Christie’s suicide attack against Rubio had an impact on voters who turned to Kasich and Bush as an alternative,” says Bonjean. Long overlooked by the Republican establishment, the governor is suddenly number two.

Kasich bet the farm on New Hampshire. Barely two months ago, he was polling sixth among GOP candidates in the Granite State. He put in more appearances there than any other Republican and built up a muscular ground operation, and it paid off.

Whether or not Kasich’s win is also a win for the establishment is up to the party itself. The revolving door of favored alternatives to Trump is spinning faster and faster, nurturing the chaos that has handicapped Republican opposition to Trump from the start. But if it stops with Kasich, there could be bright days ahead.

Kasich is everything Trump is not. He’s experienced – serving nine terms in Congress before becoming governor; bipartisan – the twice-elected chief executive of critical swing state Ohio; thoughtful ­– he’s consistently touted realistic and detailed policy platforms, and even The New York Times endorsed him as “the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race.” He’d be a formidable opponent to Democrats in the general election.

If Republicans can rally around Kasich, Trump’s a goner. It’s a big if – Kasich didn’t finish far enough ahead of Bush (who finished fourth) or Rubio to decisively clear the field. Without a concerted effort to consolidate voters around one candidate, the madness seems ripe to continue in South Carolina. My guess is that Trump will continue his winning streak in the Palmetto state next week – though pundits predict Cruz might carry the day with the evangelical vote, my read is that anti-immigrant sentiment runs so deep in the South, where voters are still miffed that Barack Obama has been president for eight years, that Trump will prevail. But still, the division would remain. But if Republicans rally around Kasich, where can Trump go from South Carolina? Not very far, if two-thirds of the GOP sided with Kasich and the rational wing of the party.

All we’ve heard from the Republican establishment this cycle is weeping and the gnashing of teeth over Trump’s lead. And now they have a man in hand who could topple the tyrant – let’s see if they truly want to.

 

By: Emily Arrowood, Assistant Editor for Opinion, U.S. News & World Report, February 10, 2016

February 11, 2016 - Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, John Kasich | , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. And, for us independents, he actually agrees with the rest of the world about climate change being a problem. By itself that makes him more qualified than any other GOP candidate, since the others would prefer to play Ostrich-head-in-the-sand or are paid to do so.

    Like

    Comment by Keith | February 11, 2016 | Reply

  2. John Kasich http://wp.me/p1H7Ki-5B6

    Like

    Comment by walthe310 | February 11, 2016 | Reply


Share your comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: