John Kasich Shouldn't Drop Out Of The Race

| by Nik Bonopartis
Republican Gov. John Kasich of OhioRepublican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio

While Donald Trump reassures Americans that his penis is big enough for him to be president of the United States, and Republican presidential candidateTed Cruz of Texas tells his donors that repealing gay marriage laws will be one of his top priorities as president, there's a third Republican candidate who's defying the odds by not being a complete and utter lunatic.

Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio is the only one of the three remaining Republican candidates who hasn't turned his campaign into a sideshow. He's the only GOP candidate with the temperament befitting a president, and the only one capable of formulating coherent responses to the issues that matter most.

For proof of that, consider how each of the remaining Republican candidates responded to the Brussels terrorist attack on March 22.

Trump, who'd spent most of the previous week retweeting memes about Cruz's wife, reiterated his call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the U.S.  Cruz offered the brilliant plan of patrolling Muslim neighborhoods to prevent American Muslims from becoming radicalized, as if squad cars sprinkle magic fairy dust in the air that immunizes disaffected people from fundamentalism.

Kasich advocated a common-sense, intelligence-heavy approach to combating domestic terrorism. It's the kind of approach that has worked well in New York, which has a police department that doubles as a world class intelligence agency.

"In order for us to have great human intelligence, and I want the public to hear this, we are going to have to have intimate communications and coordination with our friends in the Muslim community," Kasich told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press." "There is no question about it. In order to find out about the radicalized friends and neighbors, or people that you may not even know at all...this has to be a coordinated effort worldwide."

Kasich followed that up by pointing out that NATO, such as it is, is not equipped to foster international cooperation on terrorism investigations. For NATO to remain relevant -- and useful -- to its 28 member states, the terms of the agreement must be ratified and protocols developed for sharing information between intelligence agencies.

The fight against terrorism is a different kind of war, with different tools and strategies, and Kasich seems to be the only candidate who realizes that eyes and ears on the ground are just as important -- if not more important -- than the ability to lob missiles or authorize sorties of bombers.

That sort of thinking makes too much sense for Ted Cruz, who wants the Ohio governor to drop out of the race. Cruz, who desperately wants to be president, has convinced himself that Kasich's supporters would be his supporters, if only Kasich would learn his place and make way for Cruz.

"You can't lose every state and expect to be the nominee," Cruz told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "Right now, Kasich's role is really being a spoiler. Kasich benefits Donald Trump."

Kasich responded by stating the obvious, which is that he's the most electable of the three, the only remaining GOP candidate who can appeal to independents in the general election. Cruz has positioned himself, as the saying goes, to the right of Genghis Khan. Meanwhile Trump, whose idea of civil discourse is calling his political enemies pigs and losers, has higher unfavorable ratings than Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

"You know, if you really want, let them consolidate behind me," Kasich said on NBC, "because frankly I’m the one that can win in the fall and I’m the one that can get the crossover votes.”

Unlike Cruz, Kasich has real data to back up that claim, with aggregated polls on Real Clear Politics showing the Ohio governor consistently edging out Clinton in a hypothetical general election match-up. The most recent of those polls shows Kasich with an 11-point lead over the Democratic front-runner.

No matter what Cruz says, Kasich should stick around. At worst, he'll head into the July Republican convention in Cleveland as a long shot or a non-factor. At best, he's the most palatable option if Republicans ever come to their senses.

Sources: Meet the Press via Huffington Post, CNN, Real Clear Politics / Photo credit: User Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Is John Kasch the GOP's best choce for winnng the general election?
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