Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich of Ohio said in an interview with The Washington Post's editorial board the GOP "doesn't like ideas" and suggested that other candidates exaggerate to exploit voters' fears.
“Frankly, my Republican Party doesn’t like ideas,” Kasich said. “They want to be negative against things.”
Kasich said there are a few exceptions in the GOP, but “most of ’em -- the party is kind of a knee-jerk against.”
While Kasich isn't alleging the Republican Party has become too conservative, he does contend the party has become unreasonable, according to The Washington Post.
“I think we’ve over-dramatized our situation,” he said, referring to the campaign narratives of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who have made immigrants and Muslims a target for GOP voters' frustration and anger. “We’ve had worse times in this country, far worse times in this country. We’ll be fine.”
Kasich said that it's important for the Republican Party to nominate a candidate who doesn't pander to fear and suspicion, or else there will be political consequences.
“I think we’ll probably get wiped out, probably lose the United States Senate, the courthouse, the statehouse,” Kasich said of the GOP's future.
“After that, there will be this soul-searching,” Kasich predicted.
Even Kasich's home state of Ohio could be lost to a Democrat if the Republicans campaign on negativity, he said.
Kasich has had a difficult time in the Republican primary. He has lost in every state he ran in except for Ohio, where he serves as governor. But poor name recognition outside of Ohio and a more moderate stance has left him in the shadows of Republican front-runner Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
But Kasich polls much better against Democrats than Trump or Cruz.
Kasich beats Clinton in a general election matchup by an average of 7.8 percent, according to polling averages from Real Clear Politics. Both Trump and Cruz trail Clinton in the same polls: Trump by 9.3 percent and Cruz by 2.3 percent.
Kasich does less well against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, losing to the Democratic challenger by 4 points. But that's much better than Trump and Cruz, who lose to Sanders by 15.2 points and 11.2 points, respectively.
Despite poor primary performances, Kasich plans to remain in the race and try his chances at a brokered convention.
“I'm the little engine that can,” he said.