John Kasich demonstrates why he won't win against Hillary

An interview on Today this morning should put to rest the notion that Gov. John Kasich would beat Sec. Hillary Clinton in the general election. Here’s a link to it. I would have embedded it but had trouble with the file.

It’s not so much what he says but how he says it.

Scratch that. It is as much what he says as how he says it.

He seems to have one slogan in his campaign: I’m the one who can beat Hillary because…polls. But, as I’ve suggested before, the polls are unreliable. Add voter unfamiliarity with Kasich to that lack of poll certainty, and his conviction he beats Hillary fades into the background as quickly as he did during presidential primary debates this season. He seemed like a feckless understudy on the debate stage, occasionally weighing in, usually to rehash his resume as a former congressman who balanced the budget back when the other Clinton was president. He has fewer delegates as of this writing than Sen. Marco Rubio, who exited the race last month. And his speaking style ranges from meandering mush to occasional bursts of egotistical posturing.

If skeptics of the polls he cites are to believe him when he says he’s the only one who can defeat Hillary Clinton, then he should be giving stellar interviews that impress viewers with his articulateness, his eloquence, his ability to make a persuasive argument.

Instead, as his Today show interview illustrates, we see a man who stumbles badly as he attempts to do the political dodge and weave. When the interviewers try to pin him down on whether he wants Indiana voters to vote for Sen. Ted Cruz, as part of a deal he and Cruz worked out to try to stop any more big Trump primary victories, Kasich acts as if it’s the media who are the morons, unable to understand…something.

“You guys are too hung up on process,” he told TODAY, saying it was the media who were “the ones confused and upset,” not voters.

Let me translate that for you: He wants Indiana voters to vote for him, not Cruz, deal be damned.

Okay, I understand that. So do the viewers who were watching his artless performance.

Kasich might think he’s scoring points for going after the media, but sometimes journalists ask questions that ordinary people are also asking in their own minds. Kasich insults those people by suggesting that they, too, might be “too hung up on process” to understand that when he and Sen. Cruz struck a deal on campaigning it didn’t really mean much to Kasich except maybe not to spend money he doesn’t have anyway.

The more I see of Kasich, the more convinced I become he would lose to Hillary in the general election. And I suspect that the more voters see of Kasich, they’ll think the same thing, and polls will eventually catch up with this reality.


Libby Sternberg is a novelist.