Can John Kasich Get Traction in the Summer of Donald?Yes, but Walker is in double digits nationally and is well out in front in Iowa, which proves that there's been plenty of opportunity for non-Trump GOP wannabes to break through, at least if they're candidates Republicans like. Walker gives GOP voters a lot to like. In a different way, so does Trump. Kasich? Well, Chuck, as you (or your coauthors) write:
If the two-term governor of all-important Ohio -- with a 60% approval rating in his state -- announces a presidential bid and no one hears it, did it really happen? That's John Kasich's challenge as he makes his White House run official today at 11:00 am ET amid all of the Donald Trump headlines. Trump leads nationally in another poll! Trump is running second in Iowa! The Des Moines Register wants Trump out of the race! Trump is still feuding with John McCain! And oh, Donald Trump just killed a guy with a trident! Yes, we made that last one up (it's from "Anchorman"), but you get the point: It's the Summer of Donald, and it's become hard for the other GOP presidential hopefuls to break through. Remember that Scott Walker officially announced his presidential bid last week, and he barely broke through all the Trump news, at least nationally.
Our colleague Kasie Hunt has a good piece on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" profiling the Republican Ohio governor. "Ohio Gov. John Kasich can sound pretty different from the 15 other Republicans running for president. 'Just read Matthew 25. Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? If we¹re doing things like that, to me that IS conservatism.' He doesn't necessarily govern like them, either. He expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. And even voted for an assault-weapons ban."Can you say "Jon Huntsman"? Kasich also supports the hated Common Core. Yeah, Jeb does, too -- but Jeb has more money than God, and he's more or less locked up the votes of all Republicans who think they need to make a choice based on pragmatism rather than ideological zealotry. That's a minority of the GOP electorate, though it may be a large enough minority to get Jeb through the early primaries, at which point maybe the rest of the electorate will hold its collective nose and rally around Jeb. But there's no room for Kasich in all this. The GOP isn't a lovely garden where a hundred reasonable right-centrists can bloom. It's a cesspit of carcinogenic rage.
Mainstream political journalists can't stand the thought that GOP voters aren't in sync with them. Just as they never stop insisting that Chris Christie is poised for a comeback, they're certain Republicans would embrace Kasich if circumstances were more favorable (a smaller field, an earlier entry into the race, no Trump). That's nonsense. Kasich would be blown away even in a two- or three-candidate race. He's no GOP voter's idea of an ideal presidential candidate. He'll be lucky to outpoll George Pataki and Bobby Jindal.
UPDATE: I meant to include this:
Kasich is for the GOP voter who wants someone as anti-union as Walker but whose plans were scuttled by losing a voter referendum— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) July 21, 2015
See "Bye Bye, SB 5: Anti-Union Law Repealed in Ohio," from Mother Jones, for the background. Right-wing voters like fighters, but they don't like losers. They sure don't like losers who accept the loss and move on,