From Forgotten at the Debate, to Second in the Primary

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John Kasich is a name that we often forget when talking about the 2016 election. In fact, in the last GOP debate, the moderator officially welcomed all of the candidates before he was present on stage. It wasn’t until Ben Carson noted that Kasich’s name hadn’t been called, before the moderators noticed. In spite of this, Kasich placed second in the New Hampshire primary. How did a candidate that was forgotten at a debate on Saturday, come in second at a primary on Tuesday?

When we arrived in New Hampshire, I was not familiar with John Kasich at all. Compared to the animated, complex personalities running for the GOP nomination, Kasich is easily forgotten—more so than Ben Carson. After finding out that I would be working with Kasich, I was ecstatic that I would be able to attend his town hall. Since he fails to shine in national debates, I figured a smaller setting would suit him better. More importantly, it would give me a chance to hear from him personally about his stance on certain issues.

To my surprise, I learned that Kasich is pretty moderate regarding social issues. When prompted with a question about a hypothetical war on Christians, Kasich asserted that he doesn’t stand for any form of discrimination including on the basis of religion. More importantly, unlike other candidates, Kasich presented attendees with a plan for his first 100 days of presidency. Though I am aware that he will not be able to pass nearly half of his proposed ideas, I appreciated that he had a plan to bring his vision into fruition.

Aside from being able to really learn about Kasich’s policies and stances, I came to a bigger realization.

There is an actual qualified person running for the GOP nomination.

He has experience. He has implemented his policies in the state of Ohio. He has balanced the budget and even generated a surplus. He has not been involved in any scandals. He has not used offensive language when talking about citizens or our sitting president. He is an adult.

Nonetheless, before the New Hampshire primary, I believed that Kasich was on his way to shutting down his campaign. But NOT SO FAST.

What happened?

I believe that there are several reasons for Kasich’s second place finish. Most political junkies believed that Rubio was on his way to winning the American presidency after his third place win in Iowa. Despite Cruz and Trump finishing in first and second place respectively in Iowa, Rubio, seemed to be the most serious candidate. However, in the coming days, we would begin to see Rubio’s youthfulness and inexperience as a weakness instead of a strength.

On the other hand, Kasich’s campaign has been strategic, and that is finally paying off. In comparison to others, Kasich’s campaign is a merely positive one. He does not need to slander or as I say “come for anyone” because his experience and record speaks for itself. In addition, I believe that Kasich’s decision to host a myriad of town halls instead of rallies has worked in his favor. Voters being able to have a personal connection with candidates and ask questions is very efficient for gaining support. That is something that he is able to offer as opposed to other established and mainstream candidates.

Kasich could be a very qualified candidate for the GOP nomination. Mainly because as some suggest, he is the Anti-Trump, including in the area of experience. At his primary night party Kasich stated, “Maybe we’re turning the page on a dark part of American politics, because tonight, the light overcame the dark.”

Kasich and Trump hold very opposing characteristics. Will Republican voters choose the light or the darkness?

Camry Wilborn

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