Sunday, February 7, 2016

John Kasich Threading the Needle Between Trump & Rubio

When I listened to Tim Scott's endorsement of Marco Rubio as the personification of the American dream it occurred to me how offensive this narrative sounds to those who live the reality of everyday struggle to survive in the United States.

Realize how counterproductive and damaging this narrative is for Marco Rubio if he wants to reach out to the traditional Republican base. It reminded me of a phrase in an excellent analysis of Donald Trump's appeal by Alastair Roberts:
"The American white working class—to which a disproportionate number of evangelicals belong—are well aware that they are hated and pathologized by upper middle class coastal liberals, who dominate key institutions in American life."
Through his extreme realism Donald Trump succeeds in channeling this anger and frustration, while Tim Scott only fuels it with the lie that every American can become a US Senator. History teaches us that a successfull Republican candidate for President will need to find a path that engages both today's realists and today's idealists.

With a little abstraction one can see how the approach proposed by Governor John Kasich could create this path to victory by threading the needle between these two extremes. On the one hand putting the hard work into engaging the voters, with compassion, dedication and fun. In stark contrast to Marco Rubio who visited New Hampshire only a few times until recently. And on the other hand boldly rejecting the harsh rhetoric on immigration reform, and health care reform.

After last night's debate, for which debate coach Todd Graham gave Kasich an A for his balanced performance, it looks increasingly likely that his strategy could pay off. A consistent debate performance from the start in Cleveland with a laser focused strategy built on the premise that Donald Trump would lose Iowa might hand him New Hampsire. Could the Ohio Governor be the one who will write, in the words of GOP founder Salmon P. Chase, 'Resurgam' on the tombstone of a disintegrating GOP? Several observers in New Hampshire are reporting the first signs that this is indeed the case:

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