There’s ONE rational grownup left in GOP contest: Kasich!

Yes! YES! You know it! (As Frank the Tank would say.):

This. Is. Awesome.

This is the best outcome we could have had.

Kasich comes out of Ohio as the one rational option left. No, he won’t go into the convention with enough delegates to win, not by a long shot. He’ll likely come in third.

But he’s got enough mo now to stay in the race all the way, maybe pick up another state here or there with Rubio out of it. And with both him and Cruz pulling from Trump, there’s a good chance Trump won’t have the magic 1,237 for that first ballot.

And then… we’re gonna see how we do things in a republic, baby!

I love it…

35 thoughts on “There’s ONE rational grownup left in GOP contest: Kasich!

  1. Doug Ross

    Math is not your strong suit, I assume.

    Kasich won his home state. And even there, more people voted for someone else than for him. He finished 3rd or 4th in every other state tonight, failing to crack 10% in two of them (including the MUST HAVE state for November: FL). Trump on the other hand CAN get to the magic number by winning NY, NJ, MI, CA, and a few smaller ones. Trump has ignored Kasich so far. Let’s see how he stands up to the same attacks that Bush and Rubio wilted under.

    Anyway, let’s say Kasich wins in a brokered convention. Where does he beat Hillary? You think Kasich, the “grownup”, is going to campaign against her WITHOUT going negative? It will be Mike Dukakis all over again.

  2. Doug Ross

    Here’s the numbers… remaining states sorted by delegates. Which states do Cruz or Kasich win? One of them would have to win at least CA and PA plus a few more to deny Trump. If Trump wins PA and NY, it’s over by April 26.

    State Date Delegates
    CA 7-Jun 172
    NY 19-Apr 95
    PA 26-Apr 71
    AZ 22-Mar 58
    IN 3-May 57
    NJ 7-Jun 51
    WA 24-May 44
    WI 5-Apr 42
    UT 22-Mar 40
    MD 26-Apr 38
    NE 10-May 36
    WV 10-May 34
    SD 7-Jun 29
    ND 1-Apr 28
    CT 26-Apr 28
    OR 17-May 28
    MT 7-Jun 27
    NM 7-Jun 24
    RI 26-Apr 19
    DE 26-Apr 16
    AS 22-Mar 9

  3. Doug Ross

    How does Kasich convince a brokered convention that he deserves the top spot when Cruz has beaten him in pretty much every state BUT Ohio? I think there is a higher probability of Romney somehow getting in the backdoor nomination than Kasich getting it.

      1. Doug Ross

        Cruz’s delegates, too? Cruz will likely have more than Kasich. What’s in it for them to switch to Kasich – who represents everything Cruz claims to be against?

        Now, maybe a strategy Kasich could use would be to throw Rubio a bone and offer him the VP slot. That’s interesting electorally. Florida and Ohio are two of the key states Republicans will need in order to win. Maybe there could be some wrangling around handing out cabinet slots pre-election to garner votes. Lindsey as Secretary of Defense, Jeb as Secretary of State… there might be some power in having many of those slots assigned AHEAD of November. That would be interesting politically to see how Hillary would respond. I’ve never understood why a candidate wouldn’t lay out his team before November. It puts the other side on the defensive.

        1. Doug Ross

          This has prompted another idea – what if Trump, the “Art of the Deal” guy, goes to the convention with the lead in delegates but not enough for the nomination. What if he announces before the convention that the first one of Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich who pledges his support, gets the VP slot? You think they would all say no? Are we SURE? For Rubio, it’s the stepping stone he needs for another White House run. For Kasich, it’s really his last chance. He’s not running in 2020 if he loses this time. Cruz probably wouldn’t but as VP, he wouldn’t have to deal with the rest of the Senators who hate him. Sets him up for 2024 if Trump somehow wins.

          I don’t put anything out of the realm of possibility when it comes to Trump.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Now you’re thinking like The Wall Street Journal:

          Mr. Rubio’s voters are likely to go to Mr. Kasich more than to the other two candidates, and many of the remaining states are in the Northeast and Midwest where the Governor’s brand of reform conservatism should play well. Mr. Kasich can also make the case, validated in every poll, that he has by far the best chance to beat Mrs. Clinton in November. On that score, Messrs. Kasich and Rubio should consider joining up to campaign as a potential GOP ticket. The two share the same political temperament and they would also send a message of GOP unity that neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Cruz can offer.

          And I agree. I like a Kasich/Rubio ticket.

          1. Howard

            Why would you put your support behind anything Rubio has done… all he’s ever done is try to advance himself up the political ladder. Why do you think he got spanked in his home state?

  4. Phillip

    I agree with Doug that it’s still more likely than not at this point that Trump wins outright on first ballot. However, let’s assume for the sake of argument that your preferred scenario plays out, Trump falls just short on first ballot and various deals are made to create a delegate majority for another candidate. Given the anger (sometimes taking a rather ugly form) that is fueling Trump’s candidacy, what can we expect on the convention floor if that happens, both from Trump delegates and from protestors inside and outside the convention itself? It’s not going to be pretty.

    Some friends on here have heard this story before, but perhaps over a beer sometime, I’ll tell you the story of the time I hung out with Donald Trump for about an hour 26 years ago and (along with a couple of other people) got a guided tour of the yacht that he had just bought from Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi arms dealer.

  5. bud

    How many of the big states are winner take all? Those are the ones Trump needs to lose in order to be denied. I’d say anything is possible right now. I’m pulling for Trump. He’d be easier to beat in November.

    1. Norm Ivey

      It looks like Washington is the biggest state that’s left that awards delegates proportionally. Most are winner-take-all. Trump is the presumptive nominee. Best that we can hope for now is that he manages to unify the Dems and Repubs as a force against him.

    2. Karen Pearson

      I hope he’ll be the one easier to beat in Nov. but this is such a crazy year I just don’t know. The mantra I keep hearing his followers repeat is “He’s not one of the establishment.” I just hope that some people are sane enough to vote for an “establishment” candidate over an authoritarian narcissist.

  6. Harry Harris

    I think there has been only one rational adult left since Bush dropped out. Being a rational adult doesn’t mean you’re a good choice for President, but it certainly magnifies the phrase “lesser of evils.”

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    Doug, who lives to rain on parades, calls my math skills into question.

    I won’t refer to my math SAT score. I’ll simply observe that my grasp of maths, as the Brits would say, extends far beyond Doug’s preferred zone of ones and zeroes.

    Doug sees things as on or off, black or white, win or lose. He simply refuses to grasp the concept of “lesser of two weevils.” If only I could have back the hours I’ve spent arguing with him about the necessity of sometimes endorsing candidates who are far short of perfect. He doesn’t care that ONE of them is going to win, or that “bad” is preferable to “worst.”

    In this situation, had Trump won both Florida and Ohio, it would pretty much be over. His path to 1,237 — a number, you will note — would have been easy. Now, it’s quite a bit harder. (Not impossible, but harder.) And the fact is that the upcoming states are ones where a guy like Kasich is probably more likely to pull voters away from Trump than Cruz is.

    Again, it’s not about who has the most delegates going into the convention, or who’s second or third. It’s about one thing or the other, and THAT should appeal to Doug: It’s about whether one guy, Trump, has 1,237. It’s on or off, a one or a zero.

    Since Doug likes math, here’s some. In a piece written before the results were in, “Let’s be honest: Ohio is the only state you really need to pay attention to tonight,” Chris Cillizza of The Fix wrote:

    Let’s start on the numbers side. Both Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates) are winner-take-all states, meaning that whoever wins the state gets all of those delegates. Trump is near-certain to win Florida. That’s 99 more delegates. He’s also ahead in polling in North Carolina, Missouri and Illinois — all of which dole out delegates proportionally. (More on that below.) That makes Ohio absolutely critical for everyone not named Trump who is hoping to keep him under the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the Republican nomination….

    And now for a little bit more math. If Trump wins Florida and Ohio, he would need to win only 52 percent of the remaining delegates to be the nominee, according to calculations made by NBC News. That’s a higher rate than he’s won them to date but the geography of the remaining calendar — lots of coastal states — clearly favors Trump over, say, Cruz. If, on the other hand, Trump wins Florida but loses Ohio, he needs to win roughly 60 percent of the remaining delegates. That’s still doable but a significantly higher lift….

    Everybody following that? The second paragraph in particular?

    Ohio WAS the only state that mattered last night, and we had the best outcome possible: Kasich not only won, but won decisively, the state that a Republican MUST win to get to the White House.

    1. Howard

      I fail to understand how Ohio is so important… what’s there besides farmland, Cincinnati and Cleveland? Yet its one of the handful of state political races center around.

      1. Doug Ross

        It’s one of the 6-10 swing states that determine who the next President will be. Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Virginia are probably the top 5.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      I may not have stated this completely right: “And the fact is that the upcoming states are ones where a guy like Kasich is probably more likely to pull voters away from Trump than Cruz is.”

      Actually, I doubt many of the votes Kasich would pull would come from Trump. What Kasich does is give people who wouldn’t otherwise see a reason to come out — people who might have liked Rubio, Bush, Graham, Pataki and maybe Christie. Why would those people come out and vote at all if it’s between Trump and Cruz? I mean, is one of them truly less bad than the other?

  8. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m far from alone in my enthusiasm about what happened last night. Check out the lede WSJ editorial from this morning, headlined, “Kasich Into the Breach.”

    Among other things, it explains why it is important that someone other than Cruz, someone credible, remain in the fight against Trump — because Cruz probably can’t stop him from reaching 1,237 alone:

    Mr. Cruz will also have a voice in deciding the nominee, and he was a close second in North Carolina and neck-and-neck with Mr. Trump in Missouri as we went to press. The Texan continues to do well among very conservative voters, and he should be able to hold his own in caucuses and some Western states.

    But he was running third last night in Cook County around Chicago, and he trailed badly in Florida and Ohio. He won’t be able to do well in New Jersey or Connecticut or New York if he can’t win in cities and suburbs. One reason for Mr. Kasich to stay in the race is that Mr. Cruz has been telling non-conservatives he doesn’t want their vote for so long that many Republicans take him at his word. Mr. Kasich will pose a stronger challenge to Mr. Trump among moderates and pragmatic conservatives.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Note in reading that that voters are not just numbers. Different voters have different characteristics. And ones likely to vote in the Northeast are different in some ways from those in, for instance, Texas…

      Remember that even when he was at the back of the huge pack, it was Kasich who came in second in New Hampshire, not Cruz. That makes it important that he now has what he needs to continue, perhaps all the way to the convention.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      I like the Journal’s headline. Into the breach, indeed:

      Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…

      As for Westmoreland’s — that is, Doug’s — concern about numbers:

      No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
      God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
      As one man more, methinks, would share from me
      For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

  9. Doug Ross

    I gave you the data for the upcoming states. Trump needs 576 delegates to lock it up. Kasich needs 264 just to move ahead of Cruz and STILL be way behind Trump. Tell me where Kasich wins. Do you think Cruz is going to let Kasich pass him without turning HIS negative campaign machine against Kasich?
    Trump and Cruz will have Kasich squirming very shortly… on immigration, Obamacare, on being a career politician…

    As for math skills, there is a difference between answering questions on the SAT and doing analysis of data. This is about probabilities. You can’t just wish that something is true and change the probability. Kasich won his home state – and 60% of his own people didn’t think he was the right choice. So it’s no big deal. He hasn’t got the money to run a nationwide campaign against Trump and Cruz. He hasn’t been relevant in the first two months to even warrant more inspection of his past and his policies. He’s a poor man’s Mike Dukakis. The Ohio win will end up being a blip on an otherwise lackluster campaign.

    And let’s say Kasich makes some kind of move. Do you think Democrats are going to give him an easy path to the nomination if he looks like he’d be a tougher opponent for Hillary? Wait til THEY start hammering him on abortion.

    Kasich is the flavor of the week. He will melt in the spotlight.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Doug, sorry about that — your comment got held for a few minutes for moderation. I think it was because you had “Mike” in it.


      “Kasich is the flavor of the week?” No, no, no! He’s the last actual mainstream Republican left standing! As long as Rubio was there, the mainstreamers invested their hopes in him. Now, they can finally SEE him — the spotlight is his friend!

      Abortion? Really? This is the Republican nomination. He’s the one guy still running who’s actually DONE something about abortion.

      And there’s no question, none at all, that he’s the strongest against Hillary in the fall. Look at the math

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Now Ben Carson — HE was the flavor of the week. Remember when it was all about him and Trump for while? THERE’S a guy who withered under the spotlight.

        By contrast, Kasich is the long-distance runner. How many candidates did we start with — 17? 18?

        He’s the survivor. And his chances of continuing to the convention are now considerably stronger than they were yesterday.

      2. Bart

        Looking at the math/polls and Kasich winning against Clinton, it amazes me that the polls show one thing but the voting shows another. My question would be, where are the ones who are polled when it is time to vote for a candidate? If the all of the polls listed are accurate and RCP is not a right or left wing site, then Kasich should have a significant number of wins by now.

        Logically I have to agree with Doug about Kasich’s chances at this point but stranger things have happened. Remember 2008 when Clinton was virtually assured of the nomination but once Obama became a serious candidate, she was out. Can’t say Kasich has the same appeal but once the voters who are blinded by Trump’s total BS open their eyes and allow a random thought to wander in, maybe they will wake up and support Kasich. One can only hope.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “If the all of the polls listed are accurate and RCP is not a right or left wing site, then Kasich should have a significant number of wins by now.”

          Not really. The matchups include ALL voters. The GOP primaries and caucuses do not.

          Kasich beats Hillary because he does well among independents, I assume. I’d need to see the breakdown…

  10. Bart

    Apparently Mr. Trump is predicting “riots” if he is not the nominee. Of course he won’t be the one leading the riots but you can bet he will be prodding and poking the faithful into picking up the torches and pitchforks and taking it to the streets if he doesn’t win the nomination.

    At this point, let Trump be the Republican nominee and watch the long, slow, funeral procession of the Republican party to the graveyard of irrelevancy. As an independent, because of some social and fiscal positions of the Republican party, it has been my tendency to vote for more Republicans than Democrats but that is fallen by the wayside after this campaign season to nominate a candidate.

    Graham was right when he called some so-called Republicans “bat$#!t crazy” because they are. How can any thinking or reasonable person actually believe Trump is qualified in any way to be POTUS? Phillip spent an hour with Trump years ago and I spent lots of time with a developer who constantly went head to head with Trump many years ago and this is not the person capable of running a country. He can easily run it into the ground but he is not a leader, he is an opportunist at the highest level and it is always about him and very seldom about anyone else.

    The truth is an inconvenience he has to deal but he dismisses it with a hand gesture and keeps on lying. And all too many are willing to accept this “slight character flaw” because he is not a Washington insider or a member of the establishment. Look again believers, he is more of an insider than some who have been in Washington for 20 years or longer.

    I cannot say much that is favorable about Hillary either so when it comes time to vote, Kasich will get my write-in vote. Unfortunately, we are reaping what has been sown for the last 20 – 30 years in politics, a damn sorry harvest from the field of candidates. Using biblical terms, the weeds have choked out the good crops and now we are starving for good leaders.

    1. Juan Caruso

      The Republichan Party has so often been an appeaser to the Democratich Part’y’s fanciful schemes to grow bigGER government that many independent voters like myself long ago abandoned the transparent fallacy of a contentious, 2-party paradigm.

      Trump naturally attracts much of the Republichan fallout, and as the sheer magnitude of Trump’s Florida victory indicates, there has also been significant fallout (Clinton’s poorer turnouts) among the Dems.

      The Dem priority is for a bigger, socialist government run by regulatory lawyers (recently 116 Lois Lerners bureaucrats /1,000 pages of CFR). The Republican agenda is corporate governance. Both share the same major obstacle: the U.S. Constitution. Both see their advantage in making the Constitution less relevant by end runs empowering a New World Order, which G.H.W. Bush told all was an “opportunity” for us.

      For obvious reasons, which involve the highest form of “MORAL TURPITUDE”, the two disparate visions of the New World Order, have not been shared with the general public by either party. Many who believe they are not low-information voters have apparently been stuck in the fallacious paradigm of a 2-party system looking out for the U.S.A.

      Should such yet-blinded voters ever reap what they unwittingly sow, I hope they are preparing their children to fight their own wars rather than expect heirs of those who served their country to do it for them.

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