GOP Candidate Profiles: John Kasich

I know I said I would have this up several days ago but nevertheless, here it is. The latest and (hopefully) last Republican candidate to announce that he’s running for president is Ohio governor John Kasich. While this is almost certainly a move to get him more national exposure and in line for a VP pick, it will be interesting to see how he defends his horrible record as governor. Granted, facts don’t really matter or else Scott Walker would have already been laughed off stage when he announced he had turned Wisconsin’s economy around. But let’s take a look at the latest presidential candidate, Mr. Kasich.

Strengths
There is not a more important state in presidential elections than Ohio. Since 1896 only two times has a candidate won the presidency without winning Ohio. The last president to win without winning the buckeye state was John F. Kennedy in 1960. The other time was 1944 when Ohio picked John Dewey over FDR. With that in mind, why would Republicans NOT want the governor of that state, who is pretty popular there, on the ticket? He has overseen a surge in Ohio’s economy (thanks in absolutely no part to his policies) and will happily take credit for it. Kasich has also cut taxes and regulations during his time as governor, which led to four straight years of a balanced budget AND budget surplus last year in the state. Republicans should be salivating at the thought of that.

Weaknesses
The guy is a jerk. No really, he’s a stone cold jerk. If grumpy cat were a candidate, it would be John Kasich. He HAS to shake this image somehow if he wants to have any shot. Americans prefer to like the person they are voting for and Kasich just isn’t very likeable as a person. He also really doesn’t have a good track record when you really look at his record as governor, despite the good numbers on the surface. The biggest boom to Ohio’s economy over the past few years came from the auto bailout package that President Obama passed, and Kasich opposed but is taking credit for it. He has gutted local government spending and forced local school districts to raise taxes to help pay for schools, fire departments, and police departments…all while taking savings and putting it in a rainy day fund.

Things that will hurt him in the Republican primary is his expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. He also adamantly supports the Common Core standards for education. The only other Republican candidate who supports the new standards is Jeb Bush, also from a vital swing state, Florida. Personally, I feel like these are issues that would win him support from moderate and independent voters if he could manage to get through the Republican primaries, but I can’t see that happening.

Potential Vice Presidential Pick
Despite him being an absolute no brainer choice to be the V.P. himself, if he were to win the nomination, he would almost certainly go with a more moderate Senator. He’s just not the type that is going to cater to the crazies on the far right. I could see him going with someone like Susan Collins from Maine. She is a moderate known for working across the aisle. Kasich/Collins would certainly put up a definite sign that Republicans are trying to move past the partisan divide that has gripped this country over the past few years. It would be a tough matchup for Democrats. Unfortunately for him, he will never survive the primaries, as he is currently polling in the bottom 3 in most major polls.

Chances of Winning
Chances of winning the GOP nomination: D
Chances of winning the general election: C+ (if he managed to win the primary)

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