Following Ted Cruz’s distant third place finish in New York, John Kasich triumphantly tweeted yesterday:
Now that Cruz is now mathematically eliminated, the only diff between him and Kasich is Kasich can defeat Clinton.https://t.co/D7Nmg9dhod
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) April 20, 2016
In reality, there are quite a few mathematical differences between Cruz and Kasich. Cruz has around 400 more delegates, for example, and more than twice as many votes. Ted Cruz has won 10 contests; John Kasich has won one. Of the 36 or so primary and caucus votes to date, John Kasich has finished last in 15 of them, and worse than last three times. He received no votes in the Virgin Islands, was trounced by “Others” in Puerto Rico, and lost to the ghost of Marco Rubio in Arizona, a week after Rubio dropped out of the race. In fact, Kasich is still losing to Rubio a month later, trailing in both delegate count and number of votes. He might not even catch up by the end of April.
Nevertheless, Kasich is trying very hard to brand himself as the “electable” candidate without winning elections, but it’s difficult to buy that the electable candidate in this race is the one who, more often than not, did worse than Ben Carson. It’s even harder to accept the notion that Republicans should nominate somebody they don’t like because maybe the other side will like him more.
But if there were any region of the country in which Kasich should be able to prove his point, it’s the Northeast, the only region of the country outside D.C. and Ohio where he’s shown any strength. Yet he lost to Donald Trump by 35 points in New York, and polling has him behind Trump by more than 20 points in Delaware and Connecticut. Kasich is even losing to Cruz in Pennsylvania, the state in which the Ohio governor was born.
Kasich is not worried, of course. Why should he be? Except for the GOP nomination race, he’s doing great.
Danny Cannon works for the American Principles Project.