The 2016 election has been plagued by negativity and personal attacks. Candidates have insulted each others’ wives and compared each other’s hand sizes. Debates (especially on the GOP side) have focused on personality attacks rather than substantive policy debate.
Only one candidate has risen above these ad hominem attacks consistently throughout the entire race: Gov. John Kasich. For this reason, Kasich should be at the heart of the movement against front-runner Donald Trump, not Sen. Ted Cruz.
Kasich’s message has always focused on unity and positivity. Front-runner Donald Trump says “I’m very much a unifier.” Then, he turns around and says offensive and bigoted ideas towards Muslims and Mexicans.
Still, Cruz may exacerbate hyper partisanship the most. He is so widely loathed in his own workplace, the Senate, that Sen. Lindsay Graham has joked “if you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”
In a country crippled by a divided government and partisan politics in recent years, do we really want to elect someone who is not only disliked by the other party, but by his own party as well?
So, when Republican establishment figures began endorsing Ted Cruz, the insincerity was clear, and perhaps most so with Graham – even Graham has now endorsed Cruz, despite saying earlier in the cycle that picking between Trump and Cruz is like “being shot or poisoned.”
What’s even more shocking about the sudden shift towards embracing Cruz is that he was not the only option Republicans had. Kasich has a strong record of conservative leadership in both Congress and Ohio, a good story to run off and widespread support in a key swing state (Ohio). He has the lowest unfavorability ranking among any candidate still running, and is the only candidate to defeat Hillary Clinton in almost every poll.
It’s time we end the reality show and begin the serious campaign for the Presidency. Kasich has laid out the “Two Paths” of the election: his, a path of positivity and unity, and Cruz and Trump’s, negativity that will drive America “into a ditch.” This is not empty rhetoric — Kasich has refused to insult and engage in the attacks throughout the entire cycle. He has repeatedly said that he refuses to take the “low road” to the Presidency, and hasn’t interjected in the personal attacks during debates.
So, let’s embrace positivity and unity. Let’s defeat negativity. For the ⅓ of Republicans in Wisconsin and all around the country that would never vote for Trump or Cruz, don’t seek out a third-party candidate, look at the candidate already on the ballot with a proven record of accomplishment and leadership.
As the New York Times editorial board said in endorsing Kasich, “though a distinct underdog, [he] is the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race.”