Trump-Kasich could be a winner
Don’t hold it against Ohio Gov. John Kasich that so many in the national media pundit class have suggested he’d be a good running mate for Donald Trump. They’ve been wrong about so many things during the past year – dismissing Trump, for one – that it would be easy to ignore them on Kasich.
But for once, they’re right.
A Vice President Kasich would be good for the country, to the extent that he could help Trump get worthwhile things done, while convincing the Republican nominee some of his promises just aren’t realistic.
Think of it this way: Race car drivers often have enormous egos, because they know how to get around the track really fast. But many of them know little about what makes their cars perform. That’s why they need experienced, knowledgeable mechanics – and know it.
Trump needs a good crew chief.
Kasich has all the qualities a President Trump would need in a top aide, and that’s how the vice presidency should function.
But Kasich can help with something else Trump needs – beating Hillary Clinton in November.
No public opinion poll that I’m aware of has indicated Trump can beat Clinton, all other things being equal. But several of them have shown Kasich could defeat her.
Trump has indicated he’s going to ponder his choice of running mate for several weeks. He also has said he’s leaning toward a governor or member of Congress. With Kasich, who had a distinguished career in the House of Representatives before becoming governor, Trump gets both.
What about other onetime rivals for the GOP nomination? Let’s go down the line:
Ted Cruz – You have to be kidding. Too much bad blood between him and Trump. Plus, he adds nothing to the ticket. He’s disliked on Capitol Hill and he, too, ran as an outsider.
Marco Rubio – That might be tempting if he hadn’t lost his home state, Florida, to Trump. But he did.
Jeb Bush – Again, lots of bad blood. Plus, Bush is viewed as an establishment Republican, and Trump can’t have that.
Dr. Ben Carson – Also tempting, because Carson might be viewed as a key to minority voters. Forget that. They’ll vote Democratic. Plus, Carson’s positions on the issues aren’t backed up by detailed ideas like Kasich’s. And Carson has no experience in Washington.
Chris Christie – Geography still plays a role in picking running mates. He would give Trump no more votes than the New Yorker can expect from New Jersey anyway. And there’s that “Bridgegate” problem.
Carly Fiorina – Tempting as a way of helping with “the woman vote.” But she and Trump don’t like each other, and she picked the wrong ship – Cruz’s – on which to sail.
What about the also-rans – Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Jim Gilmore and George Pataki? If they’d done better against Trump, they might be more appealing running mates. But they didn’t.
Someone out of the blue – a governor or member of Congress who never was in the running this year – might be on Trump’s list. Two advantages there are that such a person might bring votes from a swing state and would not have been bloodied by the past year’s campaigning.
But Kasich is from Ohio – a critical state. And of all the people who tried to knock off Trump, he came out of the race with the fewest bruises. There’s no reason for voters – or Trump – not to like him.
Back to where we started: beating Hillary Clinton. The only thing she has going for her among the voting bloc that will make the difference – people who can’t stand her but are afraid of Trump – is her ability to paint the GOP nominee as a wild-eyed extremist.
No one ever said that about Kasich. Just placing him on the same stage with Trump would be worth millions of votes.
Finally, this: Kasich would add all sorts of balance to the GOP ticket. Can you imagine Clinton finding a running mate capable of doing that?
Mike Myer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.