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My view: Utah Republicans could dramatically alter the presidential race

Republican’s this year have felt like there are no good options. However as they get to know Kasich better they will learn he actually is a very good option and Utah has the rare chance to do something about it.
Republican’s this year have felt like there are no good options. However as they get to know Kasich better they will learn he actually is a very good option and Utah has the rare chance to do something about it.
Associated Press, composite photo

Due to the way the Republican primary race has played out, Utah Republicans have a rare opportunity to significantly alter the race for the Republican presidential nominee if John Kasich wins the Utah Republican Caucuses.

But Kasich can’t possibly get enough delegates to win the nomination by the convention…

No. He can’t. But he is the best remaining candidate that could emerge from what seems likely to be a contested convention. If Trump sails into the contested convention just a few delegates shy of the required number, with Cruz and Kasich far behind, it would be difficult to deny Trump the nomination without causing millions of voters to feel disenfranchised.

However, consider another scenario, in which Kasich goes on a winning streak and enters the convention having won a majority of the last 19 states. He could then make the arguments that he has the momentum and that his message was drowned out by Trump’s control of the media and too many early candidates but now that people have finally heard his message they are flocking to it. In fact he could argue that if the early states could have a do-over, he would win those as well.

And what is Kasich’s message?

He is the governor of a state that is split almost 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats and he has done an excellent job with the economy and other serious issues facing Ohio. He has advanced Republican principles in a strong and effective way while being open minded and working across the aisle with Democrats instead of belligerently opposing them.

Also, in presidential elections, all that really matters is the Electoral College. To be elected president, any Republican will need to will all of the States won by Romney and McCain plus five or six more. Kasich has a real chance at winning back Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Virginia and Pennsylvania — all states with similar demographics to Ohio.

But what about Cruz?

Cruz has no chance to win a general election. Look at the electoral map from 2012 and name one state he has a chance to win back from the Democrats — there isn’t one. This election cycle voters are expressing their anger with government more than ever before. Voters want to end the gridlock and have the government actually get something done. Cruz is the poster boy of gridlock. He led the charge to shut down the government over Obamacare. If by some miracle he were elected in a general election (his only chance being Clinton being indicted a few weeks before the election) he would be uncompromising in any of his positions — guaranteeing another 4 years of gridlock.

And why not Trump?

Pages have already been written about the flaws of Trump and I will not illustrate them here. I am as angry as the next voter about the gridlock of our government, but electing an unprincipled, amoral person who will not respect the Constitution is a horrible outlet for voter anger.

So what is Utah’s role?

In a word — momentum. If Kasich can win Utah and possibly Arizona on March 22nd, following up on his win in Ohio, it would surprise the nation and could generate a huge burst of momentum for him going forward.

Republican’s this year have felt like there are no good options. However as they get to know Kasich better they will learn he actually is a very good option and Utah has the rare chance to do something about it.

Jeffrey Johnson lives and works in Utah and loves our state.