WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2016 — While national attention is focused on the GOP presidential combatants, another unseen campaign is brewing just beneath the radar. Candidates are vying not just for the top spot, but also for the second spot on the presidential ticket.
The vice presidential nominee won’t be chosen by the voters, but by the candidate. But the nomination battleground is also a testing ground for potential VPs. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is polling at 10.3 percent, according to Real Clear Politics, has the credentials to insure a successful November win. The facts bear this conclusion out.
As a member of the House Budget Committee, Kasich was a key player in passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. That act helped push the federal budget into surplus for the first time since 1969, surpluses greater than all other surpluses since 1940 combined. That helped create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
He was also instrumental in passing welfare reform.
Kasich is immensely popular in his home state of Ohio, even in the much needed urban, high-voter-turnout areas. That matters. Ohio has 20 electoral votes, and without them, President George W. Bush would not have been elected, nor would he have seen a second term.
None of the presidential candidates would publicly suggest that they are campaigning for the second spot on the ticket; many would deny they even want it. But as their hopes of winning the top spot fade, the possibility of the VP spot becomes very real. The electoral numbers do not lie, and there is no clear pathway for Kasich to win the GOP nomination. His second place win in the New Hampshire primary, ahead of Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, was a boost, but his prospects will dim in South Carolina, the Nevada caucuses, and in the March 1 Super Tuesday primaries.
So what is the game plan for a governor like Kasich, who in 2014 had a more solid election win than any other governor in America? He totally thrashed his Democrat opponent Ed FitzGerald; he led in the polls on election night 62 percent to 34. Not to beat that horse again, but the electoral numbers matter, and the state of Ohio is an absolute must-win state if the GOP is to wrest the White House from the Democrats in 2016.
The governor has detractors in Ohio. There are many who met his decision to accept expanded Medicaid funds to cover the poor left uncovered by Obamacare with vitriol. Yet ask them which alternatives they would have recommended Kasich take to assist the poor, and their silence is deafening.
Kasich has followed a different type of conservative course that has actually created a new foundation for protecting the least of those, as Christian faith teaches, while eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars in government waste. His staunch protection of the unborn should be applauded and recognized by Christian voters in South Carolina, Nevada and Michigan, where he spoke recently.
The Ohio governor’s pro-life policies have worked to reduce abortion in the Buckeye state to historic lows. Again, numbers matter and for pro-life advocates, speeches on the campaign trail are one thing, but Kasich walked the walk and signed into law 12 Ohio right-to-life initiatives that resulted in abortions plummeting in 2012 to 25,473 abortions from over 45,000 abortions performed in the 1980s, according to Life News.
There has been a 30 percent drop in abortions after 19 weeks and a complete ban of late-term abortions. Kasich topped it off with the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Should Kasich continue to campaign for the presidency even though there is no clear pathway to it for him to win? Absolutely!
Many GOP voters around the nation are still getting their first look at the Ohio governor who took nearly every county in Ohio in his 2014 reelection. The nation will continue to see and hear from the son of a mailman who served first in the state senate and then won nine terms in Congress.
In the game of presidential sweepstakes, Kasich may not be on the Republican voter’s list as their number one selection. But whomever the GOP picks as its nominee at its Cleveland national convention, the winning ticket in November should include Kasich in the No. 2 spot—if it wants to win the presidency.