Hey guys, I’m going to get super political on you. I’d debated not writing this because maybe me coming out and wholeheartedly backing one candidate was a bit too much fluff and politics, but ultimately what I decided was this: I really stand by my opinion here, and this election is an important one. It’s vital I share my opinion–it’s vital everyone share their opinion. These discussions need to happen. As a country we’re looking at a lot of options for president and some of them are downright scary.
So, some political background on me: last election I voted for Barack Obama. I’m big on the Constitution. Some of my viewpoints are pretty conservative (2nd Amendment argument) and others are very liberal (gay marriage legality, abortion legality). I think that political parties are tearing our country apart and will ultimately be the cause of our great nation’s downfall. I like to think that my outlook on politics is actually fair and balanced, unlike the news channel that totes that tag line.
I want all of that established so that several arguments against my support of Kasich go out the window: 1) No, I am not voting for him because he’s a Republican. I could care less what party any of these candidates belong to. It’s a system that works against the interest of the American public. 2) No, I do not think Kasich is perfect. Some of his ideas do not align with my own. But you’re never going to get a perfect candidate. Never. 3) I’m not voting Republican because I’m a racist or a sexist or what have you. I voted Obama into office. I believe in free expression of love. Racism is awful. Let’s move on.
John Kasich is the current governor of Ohio. He’s in his second term. I’d like to firstly point out that in his home state, his approval rating consistently ranks above 60%. That’s incredibly high and practically unheard of for a second term governor. It should be noted that Ohio is the third most moderate state in the nation, with 39.5% of its population claiming to be moderates. To me, this says that a state full of fair and balanced ideological thinkers find that Gov. Kasich is doing a great job. I view that as an excellent sign and definite pro.
But while that number is impressive and indicative of good things, it alone is not enough of a reason to rally behind Gov. Kasich. You’ve gotta dig into his record as governor. Just why is this guy so liked by his constituents?
The biggest reason he’s so liked is that Gov. Kasich has been good for the economy. When Kasich took office, Ohio was projected to have a 7.7 billion dollar debt (a figure Kasich consistently rounds up to 8 billion during interviews and debates). Today, Ohio has a 2 billion dollar surplus. That is some turnaround. Ohio also experienced a massive growth of jobs: 350,000 news jobs have been created since Kasich took office (his campaign has since updated this number to 417,700 jobs). His administration has levied 4.8 billion dollars in tax cuts, a number his campaign claims is higher than any other governor. While The Washington Post’s fact checker reports that claim is difficult to confirm or deny because of its scope, they do cite evidence that the state’s income taxes razing ranks among the top five states.
When talking about the economy, Gov. Kasich has a golden track record. During his tenure as a politician, he’s balanced four federal budgets–that’s the kind of economic experience every other candidate is lacking. Here’s an image from The Wall Street Journal analyzing all the candidates and their potential influence on the economy:
As you can see, economists predict that Kasich would give our economy the most growth. How much stock you put into that is entirely up to you. I’m no economist; a guy like me relies on what studies and experts in the field tell me. This election, the economy is my number one concern, and based on his track record in Ohio, Gov. Kasich appears to be the best guy to handle it.
Interestingly, Gov. Kasich is one of the few Republicans who think climate change is not only real, but problematic. Like myself, however, he thinks it’s not the biggest problem facing our nation and that claims about its status are exaggerated.
John Kasich is of the Republican Party, a party whose views are typically anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. These are some hot button topics in politics today and in a culture where we often vote based on social issues this can be for damning for Republican candidates. But it’s important to note how Gov. Kasich himself actually stands.
While Kasich has spoken numerous times about being personally and religiously against gay marriage, he has consistently voiced his conviction to uphold the Supreme Court ruling and enact legislation against LGBT discrimination. Here’s a quote from a town hall where Kasich responded to an openly gay student who said he faced discrimination daily: “If I see discrimination in anything, like I said earlier, I’m willing to do what I can. Whether it’s executive order or legislation.”
When Megyn Kelly asked Gov. Kasich during one of the presidential debates what he would do if his son or daughter was gay, his response drew the largest applause of the evening:
Well, look, I’m an old-fashioned person here, and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I’ve also said the court has ruled … and I said we’ll accept it. And guess what, I just went to the wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or I can’t love them. So, if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them, and I would accept them, because you know what, that’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith. Issues like that are planted to divide us. … We need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect, and let them share in this great American dream that we have, Megyn, I’m going to love my daughters, I’m going to love them no matter what they do, because you know what? God gives me unconditional love, I’m going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.
I have a number of thoughts on that answer, but first I’ll defer to Slate’s very fair criticism of it: “Kasich’s answer was far from perfect—the phrasing ‘if one of my daughters happened to be that’ was unfortunate, and in noting that he would love his daughters ‘no matter what they do,’ he indicated that he thought being lesbian was something that requires forbearance. Nevertheless, his response was loving and humane, and it received the evening’s biggest round of applause.”
“Issues like that are planted to divide us,” Kasich remarked, and oh how true he is. Unlike Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, who have both made it clear they plan to enact legislation to reverse the same sex marraige ruling, Gov. Kasich is of the opinion that it doesn’t really matter in the end. His religious beliefs do not effect his ability to do his job–apparently, they’re helping him. Because his message about loving everyone, even if they have different opinions? That’s the real message of his religion. I won’t get preachy, but I’ll say this: Gov. Kasich’s religious convinction could be a big weakness, but instead is an incredible strength. He uses his beliefs not to discriminate and divide but to accept and unite. Isn’t that exactly what we need right a now?
Another example of this is in his effort to reform the prison system. In 2011, Gov. Kasich signed a bill that favored rehab over prison for non-violent crimes and shortened prison sentences. This kind of legislation was absent for 25 years before Kasich assumed office and signed it, saying “Nobody wanted to touch it. If you’re going to put your own future ahead of other people’s lives and their ability to reclaim their lives then you’re making a big mistake.” Importantly, Kasich made sure to note that the bill was a bipartisan effort, giving equal credit to Democrats and Republicans for drafting the bill.
Look at how Gov. Kasich composed himself at these debates. He is the only Republican candidate left standing who has not once resorted to name calling, citing it as being beneath the office of President. I agree. His address found at this link is the kind of attitude and leadership I want from my President. Politics aside, it is my personal opinion that Gov. Kasich is a good man. I think that’s so important.
I am not without my criticisms of Gov. Kasich, however. His strong anti-abortion stance is fine from a religious standpoint, less so from a legislative standpoint. While he’s made comments about not overturning the “law of the land” in regards to abortion, he has made it significantly harder to get one in Ohio. For many this might be a pro; I for one don’t really support these actions. He wants to continue the Common Core and cut education spending. That’s a big problem for me.
Ultimately, my criticisms of Gov. Kasich don’t bother me enough to outweigh the things I do like about him. And like I said earlier, no candidate is perfect.
Gov. John Kasich might not be your preferred choice for President; based on polls, he probably isn’t at this point. There’s even a good chance you had no clue who he was until you read this, because unfortunately he’s not getting the same press as Trump or Cruz or Rubio. Hopefully this post changed your mind, and if not, I hope you learned something and now have even more reason to vote against him. Because that’s the most important thing here: that you know what these candidates stand for. If you don’t like Kasich, that’s fine, but it’s important you know why you don’t like him. Informed voters are necessary. For more information on another candidate on the other side of the aisle, check out my friend Andrew Kahler’s blog about why he’s gonna vote for Bernie Sanders.
The Ohio/Florida primaries are tomorrow, which is why I felt the need to write this now. Maybe you’ll read this and go vote tomorrow differently ’cause of it. Maybe not. But please, I implore you: just vote.