John Kasich: The Underdog

Insulted and dismissed by the media and the majority of the Republican Party, current Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich stands no chance at winning the nomination. His delegate count of 144 pales in comparison to Trump’s 752 and Cruz’s 463.

Despite the lack of support, he continues to campaign, perhaps not in hopes of winning, but in hopes of blocking Trump. However, many republicans who support blocking him do not support Kasich, but Cruz, and believe the governor’s campaign is hurting chances of preventing Trump’s nomination. Though many Republicans agree Trump must be stopped, their opinions differ on what strategy needs to be used to do so – putting Kasich in the crossfire.

Strategy and theory aside, Kasich seems to be the embodiment of a traditional Republican candidate: an older white Christian male, with many of the same ideas that have been regurgitated by the GOP for decades. He supports defunding Planned Parenthood, cutting funding for education, sealing the border with Mexico, and increasing military funding by $100 billion – all ideas similar to what we’ve always heard from the Republican Party. Yet, despite his similarity to all other candidates on these particular issues, he has remarkably different views on civil rights, gun restrictions, and public entitlement programs. Most importantly, Kasich has made it clear that any reform should be a bipartisan effort. He often acknowledges that a single party can’t, and shouldn’t, fix every aspect of the U.S. government and that the parties must work together to achieve effective and lasting change.

As governor of Ohio, Kasich made many changes to the state’s policies regarding Medicaid, where he was able to cut costs and improve the system. He also provided state funding for rape crisis centers, helped the mentally ill by increasing the availability of healthcare and expanding housing options, made efforts to overcome the problems of drug addiction through education and helping rehabilitate inmates, and prioritized veterans as a workforce by creating an online career center. These policy changes in his home state would be reflected in his presidency were he to get elected, and it is clear these ideas would help the American people.

Part of Kasich’s “Economic Revival” plan would be to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to be more efficient, accessible, and tailored to the individuals who need it. Despite his aim to shrink the government, it is clear he hopes to improve upon important social programs. His plans start “from the bottom up,” helping those in need with social programs, and creating tax cuts for the lower and middle classes. While the strategy is debatable, accessibility of these programs and helping the lower and middle class are undoubtedly important in stimulating and growing the economy.

While he supports sealing the border with Mexico, Kasich has made it clear he believes deporting 11 million people, as other candidates suggest, is ridiculous. He has said that the focus of immigration reform should be to keep families together, and has acknowledged immigrants play an important role in the economy. At a time when the United States could face an influx of migrants and refugees, a candidate that shows humanity and empathy for those in need is crucial for decision-making, no matter what that decision may be.

When it comes to important social issues Kasich is far more warm-hearted than the majority of the GOP – when asked about gay marriage, he has said he can accept and support it, while also stating he can “love and respect” gay people; a sentiment frowned upon by Republicans and Christians alike. While he has previously supported laws to prevent gay couples from adopting, and to prevent same-sex marriage, the governor seems to have realized the importance of taking a more moderate stance on this issue in recent years. His change of opinion on the issue illustrates his awareness of the political climate, and that he is able to compromise in order to better serve the people of the United States.

The idea of a government built on bipartisan leadership and compromise sets Kasich apart from his fellow Republicans, as well as the Democratic candidates. Every candidate in the race has gotten to this point because they have been perceived as different; while they may be unique in many ways, their extreme division along party lines make them more cognate to their predecessors than the American people would like to admit. Kasich’s expressed impatience with bureaucracy and bipartisan posturing should resonate more with the people, but these ideas seem to fall on deaf ears.

Kasich’s progressive ideas about compromise, civil rights, gun restrictions, and public entitlement programs should make him more appealing to the youth, as well as to his own party, but he remains the underdog. Though he may seem to flip-flop on important issues, his moderate stances make it clear that he can be influenced by the wants of the people; Kasich will not be nominated, and he is by no means the ideal candidate, but his approach to the presidency should be acknowledged as a shift in how politicians of the future will choose to campaign, just as Sanders’ and Trump’s approaches are considered divergent. The truly critical issue when choosing a president is whether they will best represent their citizens, and it is imperative that the people remember this as we approach the elections.

About Emma Saxby

Emma is an egalitarian, activist, freelance writer, photographer, and artist residing in the United States. She studies nuclear engineering, plasma physics, international politics and culture. Emma spends a lot of time hiking, geeking out about Star Wars and keeping up with current events.

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