John Kasich bowed out of the GOP Presidential primary yesterday leaving Donald Trump as the last man standing. Whether one views the primary as theater or marital arts, the whittling of 17 candidates down to one was both grand theater and martial arts.
Trump used bully and narcissistic tactics devastatingly well to achieve the nomination, or at least standing at the edge of it. America likes winners, will Americans like Trump?
The GOP is reacting in strange ways. Some GOP members are rushing to find a seat on the Trump express, hoping it is not to late. Others are doubling down on their “Trump – no way”, but what options do they have.
In a few of the anti-Trump GOP members’ statements, one can get a sense of what the Republican problem is. They see Trump as someone who does not embrace the GOP platform ideologically. Trump is soft on social issues and has a more populous view on the economy, like erecting trade barriers and keeping entitlements. The GOP does not appear to understand that their platform which has traditionally included anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-Mexican planks just does not reflect where a majority of Americans are now, and where they are trending. Instead of embracing Trump and taking advantage of his bold steps (using it as cover so as not to offend evangelicals and fundamentalists), many GOP members appear paralyzed.
For much of the primary campaign, John Kasich appeared to be the adult in the room. Kasich on paper was probably the most experienced candidate to be President. His withdrawal yesterday made one wonder about that thought.
Kasich suspended his campaign almost whining that he still had faith god would guide him to the path that would give purpose to his life. What?
Doesn’t Kasich remember that the last Republican President asked god about whether American should invade and occupy Iraq, and after receiving an affirmative answer, led American into a disastrous bloody conflict which has destabilized the Middle East.
Speaking of god on the campaign trail is usually a self serving statement. In Kasich case, it was probably genuine but totally out of place. (Why would a supreme being choose to guide one candidate when doing so would disadvantage another?)
The GOP primary will be studied and provide the source for many a pundit’s book. The general election will be another book and until its over it can’t be written.