Political Editors / March 17, 2016

Why Is Kasich Still Running?

The Ohio governor might be angling for the VP slot.

While Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz attacked each other and Donald Trump rose on a wave of populism, Ohio Gov. John Kasich slipped up to third place in the Republican presidential primary. When he first announced his campaign in July 2015, we expected it would be short-lived. “He’s a long shot, and deservedly so,” we wrote. That “long shot” estimation is as true now as it was then, even if his campaign wasn’t actually short-lived.

Kasich survived despite tepid standing in the polls and obscurity on the debate stage. He stretched his resources by only focusing on key states, like New Hampshire and Ohio, where his moderate stances could gain traction. Now he’s the last candidate in the race with legislative and executive experience — governor of the swing state of Ohio, and former congressman who headed the House Budget Committee and reformed federal spending in the ‘90s. And he’s the establishment’s last holdout. He calls himself the “prince of light and hope” and yet comes off as abrasive and unscripted as Trump. He recently told an 11-year-old boy who asked him about the Islamic State to imagine a woman he loved being beaten “to a living pulp.”

Kasich’s experience is tempered by his social policies. He muscled an ObamaCare expansion in his state based on a misunderstanding of Christian charity, and he proposed turning Voice of America into a propaganda tool to promote Judeo-Christian values. These stances — possibly driven by his Anglican faith — make the candidate a big-government advocate, and not a true champion of limited government.

Kasich’s only path to the nomination is through a contested convention. But his more likely play is to become Trump’s running mate — a way for the establishment to absorb Trump and save the GOP. Either way, Kasich plays a role.

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