John Kasich tackles the case of the vanishing moderates

Noah Genovesi

In 2017, the new President will have to keep the nation secure and enrich the economy ­— both of which John Kasich is more than qualified to do. Unfortunately due to the state of the American political system, a much more radical and less qualified candidate will likely win the nomination. With less moderates in our government, elected officials will miss out on many opportunities to truly better our country.

As governor of Ohio, John Kasich has proven that he is an establishment Republican who can get stuff done. The Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States ranked Ohio 11th in economic performance in the country.  Under Kasich’s guidance, the state unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent. Governor Kasich also previously served on the House Armed Services Committee for 18 years, where he developed a reputation as a national security hawk who also zealously challenged wasteful defense spending. Previously, Kasich’s track record would make him a viable candidate to win the Republican nomination.

History professor H.W. Brands suggests that a candidate like Kasich can win the 2016 Republican nomination.

“[Kasich is] the kind of person who can win a general election,” Brands said.  “[But he is also] the kind of guy that the party establishment would love to see as their candidate.”

However, the people voting in the primaries have control over nominating, not the Republican party establishment. Moreover, the voters who show up to the primaries are not only the loudest but the most extreme.

“Moderates labor under a disadvantage during the primary season, because both parties pull in the direction of their more extreme wings,” Brands said.

This helps clarify why extreme candidates such as Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders have been successful in early states.

Government lecturer Michael Mosser argues that modern American politics are defined by ideology-based campaigns, where candidates preach their upbringing, faith and characteristics more than their policy.

“If you’re running an ideology-based campaign, compromise equals defeat,” Mosser said.

When voters elect those who, in Mosser’s terms, “go to Washington to blow it up and start over” instead of those who can compromise, they only deepen the gridlock.

Regardless, oddsmakers peg Kasich at less than a 2 percent chance to win this year’s nomination. Of the Republican frontrunners, Senator Marco Rubio presents the best chance for Kasich to gain the vice presidency or a top or second tier cabinet position, as he is most ideologically similar to Kasich. The fact that candidates like Kasich cannot win nominations speaks volumes to how much the American political system has excluded qualified, established semi-moderates.

When we lose centrist politicians, we lose the ability to compromise. As citizens, we have to decide whether our anger and fear should drive our voting, or whether we will place a higher value on individuals who can improve our country, even if only little by little. Either way, John Kasich is essentially out of the presidential race for 2016 — all he can do now is pray that Rubio wins the presidency.

Genovesi is an international relations and global studies sophomore.