Primary Cheat Sheet: John Kasich

click to enlarge John Kasich
John Kasich

John Kasich (Republican)

Fun Fact:

Donald Trump is not the only person in the race with a background in TV. Ohio Gov. John Kasich used to host Fox News show Heartland with John Kasich. It was a similar format to The O’Reilly Factor, a show Kasich often served as a substitute host. Heartland with Kasich aired from 2001-2007.  

What’s up with the campaign?

Kasich has failed to secure any states or a lead in the polls. The Ohio governor treated his second-place finish in New Hampshire as a moral victory. He also placed second in Massachusetts and Vermont.

Trump has successfully pulled Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio into the mud with him — all three slinging insults at each other.

“A guy with the worst spray tan in America is attacking me for putting on makeup. Donald Trump likes to sue people — he should sue whoever did that to his face,” Sen. Rubio said at a Georgia rally.

In the first 10 minutes of the eleventh Republican debate, Trump defended the size of his genitalia, saying, “there’s no problem.” The real estate tycoon went on to refer to Sen. Rubio as “Little Marco” for most of the debate.

Kasich has successfully kept his head above water, making it to all the primetime debates. With the GOP Civil War erupting and the Trump train being virtually unstoppable, Kasich appears to be playing the long game, biding his time for the New England states and Ohio.

His best-case scenario is to emerge from the rubble, after months hiding in the corner, at a brokered GOP convention after Cruz and Rubio are bloodied up from their year-long war against Trump.

Voters might like: 

      Never wrestle with a pig, because you get dirty and the pig likes it. That has been Kasich’s strategy from day one. He has stayed away from personal attacks and has not directly engaged any candidate. Kasich has secured his position as “the adult” on the stage.

      In February, Kasich signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill doesn’t explicitly mention Planned Parenthood, instead redirects $1.3 million of government money away from organizations that performs or promotes elective abortions and into other health organizations. This affects Ohio’s 28 Planned Parenthood locations — three clinics provide abortions.

      Kasich has governed a swing state, meaning he can talk to both sides of the aisle. He expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, expanding health coverage for 275,000 Ohioans.

...but watch out for

      Gov. Kasich might suffer from name recognition as the primaries move forward. Without a clear victory and by not engaging in the GOP slugfest, Kasich risks not getting his message out. Google analytics support this concern, saying Kasich is the least searched presidential candidate.

      Kasich’s acceptance of a Medicaid expansion is a double-edge sword. His support of subsidized health care and support of immigration reform could make him look like a liberal to rightwing voters.

      By staying in the race so long with little hope of actually capturing the nomination, Kasich has gotten on the bad side of some of the Republican establishment due to hogging some delegates over more likely winners like Ted Cruz.

Biggest policy proposal:

Kasich’s tax plan would cut the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 28 percent. The tax cuts aren’t as deep as GOP front runner Donald Trump, nor are they a flat tax like Sen. Ted Cruz’s — and they still maintain a level of progressive tax. The Kasich tax plan calls for reducing the tax brackets from seven to three — but does not specify tax rates for the lower two.

War:

At a stop in Michigan in August, Kasich made it clear he is not supportive of nation building. “I don't think it ought to be a priority of the United States to get everybody on the globe to operate exactly the way we do. I mean there are people that we look at and they may do things that we don't like, but we have similar goals. We don't need to spend our resources trying to get them to become like us,” Kasich said.

However, in a February interview with CNN, Kasich said boots on the ground will be required to defeat the Islamic State.

"Mark my words ... at some point it will require boots on the ground from the world to be able to deal with this problem," Kasich told CNN’s Gloria Borger.

Kasich has never been clear on whether or not he intends to deploy conventional troops to combat ISIS in his presidency — nor has he specified which country boots on the ground would be required in.


The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries.
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