Current Ohio Governor (as well as former Ohio Congressman) John Kasich made the announcement that he’s running for president yesterday. There are several reasons why John Kasich is a long shot (according to the latest polls he’s sitting at 1 percent). Kasich is not well known nationally, not very popular in his own state and has very limited funds to support his campaign.
But the biggest reason why he won’t get the nomination is the following: GOP primary voters hate politicians who are capable of compromise and working with Democrats. Now to be sure, Kasich is certainly conservative on many issues. As Governor of Ohio, Kasich has implemented Right-to-Work laws to decrease the power of unions (voters later voted on a referendum to repeal those laws), implemented stricter abortion regulations (a 20 week ban) and is a staunch opponent of gun control (yes, as a Congressman he did vote for the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, but has since pivoted to the right on this issue). However, as The Editors at Bloomberg View note, he has also expanded Medicaid in his state (as part of the ACA), closed corporate tax loopholes, and (like Jeb Bush) supports the Common Core education standards. Kasich has also flirted with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, although at the moment it appears as if he will take Jeb Bush’s position and advocate for a path to legalization (where undocumented immigrants can legally live and work in the U.S., but not obtain citizenship).
Kasich also has a problem when it comes to selling himself. As David Catanese of U.S. News noted yesterday, his “I’m running for president” announcement yesterday was widely panned. Catanese stated that Kasich “…muffed his first impression, delivering a disjointed and meandering speech mostly off the cuff that dwelled too much on the past and lacked an overarching vision for the future.” Michael Brendan Dougherty at The Week takes it even further, calling Kasich “…a jerk, in other words. An insufferably pious one.” Personality issues aside, Kasich is going to have a ton of trouble getting the attention of the U.S. media, which is already currently fixated on a different obnoxious blowhard.
As for his record as Governor of Ohio, it’s mixed but leans favorably towards Kasich. Ohio’s current unemployment rate is currently 5.2 percent, which is a bit below the national average (5.5%). While Ohio’s economic growth has not been spectacular as Kasich assumed office in 2011, it has not been terrible either. However, Henry J. Gomez of Cleveland.com has some criticisms of Kasich’s tenure as Governor:
“But national journalists have yet to pick apart Kasich’s record as thoroughly as they have other governors’ and former governors’. That will happen, if not immediately, then when Kasich shows signs of being the top-four contender that he and his advisers believe he is.
For example, JobsOhio, Kasich’s privatized economic development agency, has provoked questions about ethics and transparency. Recent controversies over charter schools aren’t helpful, either. And Kasich insiders dread each time a new reporter stumbles upon the story of him calling a police officer an idiot.”
So in the end, Kasich has a very tough road ahead of him. I will say though, of all the second-tier candidates, his candidacy has the most potential for a dramatic upswing. It’s up to Kasich to see if he can make that happen (lack of funds and temperament aside).