Will Republican Voters Grow Up And Take Another Look At Kasich?
John Kasich is really the only Republican presidential hopeful who has taken on Trumpf. There isn't much he can do against the billionaire bully but at least he's been making an effort. The ad above is his latest attempt to point out how jaw-droppingly unfit Trumpf is for the presidency. There's another one at the bottom of the post. And, of course, this was the famous one that brought out something the media is afraid to mention, namely that Herr Trumpf is a fascist.
All Kasich's eggs-- and all his advertising-- are in the New Hampshire basket. He's spent around $9 million there and plans to spend another $1.4 million before primary day. The brand new poll from ARG has Kasich dramatically up among likely GOP primary voters:
• Herr Trumpf- 21%The rest are basically tangled up in the poll's margin of error. And among Republicans only-- not the fringe unaffiliated kooks Trumpf has dragged into the process with his fascist pandering-- many of whom may not actually vote-- it's much tighter:
• Rubio- 15%
• Kasich- 13%
• Christie- 12%
• Cruz- 10%
• Poor Jeb- 7%
• Rubio- 16%And when it came to the question about who the respondent would never vote for Herr Trumpf led the field with 57%, followed by poor Jeb sith 47%, Rand Paul with 40% and Huckabee with 36%. Fine, fine, but would a third place finish in New Hampshire do much for Kasich? Not likely. But my interest in him today goes beyond his good polling news and the pin-pricks he's inflicting on Herr.
• Kasich- 15%
• Herr Trumpf- 15%
• Christie- 14%
• Cruz- 10%
• Poor Jeb- 10%
Yesterday the Columbus Dispatch reported on how he wants to change the way Ohio's congressional districts are drawn. Gerrymandering in Ohio is beyond belief, one of the most corrupted systems in the country, on a par with all the anti-democracy Confederate states (and Pennsylvania) and it's important to remember that Kasich has been a key player in partisan gerrymandering in his state. Ohio has 16 congressional seats of which 12 are held by Republicans. Is Ohio a 75% GOP state? Of course not. In 2012 Obama beat Romney 2,827,621 (50.7%) to 2,661,407 (47.7%) and Democrat Sherrod Brown was reelected senator against Republican Josh Mandel 2,762,690 (50.7%) to 2,435,712 (44.7%). This statewide outcome would predict a probably even split of the 16 seat-- 8 for the Democrats and 8 for the Republicans or, possibly 9 for the Democrats and 7 for the Republicans-- but certainly not 12 for the Republicans and just 4 for the Democrats. Because all 4 Democratic districts are packed with Democrats, all the Democrats won with huge margins, around 70%. The Republican win margins were all in the 50s with just two exceptions in the 60s.
The report in the Dispatch indicates that Kasich wants to change the way the districts are drawn but that he's being blocked my his party. "I support redistricting reform dramatically," said Kasich, who finds himself in agreement with Ohio's Republican Secretary of state, Jon Husted. "This will be something I’m going to do whether I’m elected president or whether I’m here. We carve these safe districts, and then when you’re in a safe district you have to watch your extremes, and you keep moving to the extremes."
Opponents of the current map-drawing process hoped that following the overwhelming 43-point passage in November of Issue 1, which seeks to bring a more transparent and bipartisan process to drawing legislative districts, that GOP legislative leaders would act to do the same for congressional redistricting.
So far, that hasn’t happened. Leaders including House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, have said they’d rather take a wait-and-see approach, leaving the current congressional system in place for 2021, the next time districts will be drawn to conform with new census counts.
That means the congressional mapping process likely could not be changed until 2031.
Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester, chairman of the Senate Government Oversight Committee and a member of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, is among those who think lawmakers should wait until the new legislative process is complete.
“As soon as we get through the first run of that, we’ll have a lot more information to look at whether we should apply that to our congressional districts,” he said.
“To do anything before that would be silly because you’ve approved a system you haven’t even tried yet. Let’s run it through one time and see how it works.”
Kasich appears to be in no mood to wait.
“We need to eliminate gerrymandering. We’ve got to figure out a way to do it,” he said. “We’ve got to have more competitive districts. That, to me, is what’s good for the state of Ohio and good for the country.”
Unlike legislative redistricting, which required a constitutional change through a ballot issue, reforming the congressional process would require only a change in law.
Husted agrees with Kasich’s sentiment, saying of the current map: “If you’re talking about maximizing partisan success, it’s brilliant. If you’re talking about good government, it’s not.”
But he also knows that political realities are standing in the way.
“I don’t believe the legislature is going to pass something that the congressional delegation doesn’t support,” Husted said.
When lawmakers were discussing redistricting last year, former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester made it clear he did not want congressional changes to be part of it. So only a legislative redistricting proposal was passed and put on the ballot.
Boehner is gone, but that doesn’t mean Ohio’s other congressional members are eager to change a system that draws them safe seats through a process that many of them can influence via money and political pressure.
In addition, some state lawmakers fancy themselves as future federal lawmakers. Also, Republican congressional candidates gave nearly $600,000 to GOP legislative committees in 2010 and 2011 as the new map was being drawn.
“In most of these people’s districts, their congressional member is very influential with opinion leaders in that community, and they tend to want to work with that congressional member rather than be at odds,” Husted said.
Husted disagrees that officials should wait to see how the new legislative process works before moving to change congressional mapping. “The two don’t have anything to do with one another.”
Congressional support may come, Husted said, if they are faced with a ballot issue to create a new process that is less appealing than what is currently being offered-- essentially the same as the legislative plan, with a seven-member panel that tries to draw lines with bipartisan agreement. It may come down to whether they back something they can live with, or risk facing a process they like much less, he said.
Past citizen-led redistricting efforts have been defeated, but Husted said, “I believe there is a declining will among donors and political leaders to continue those kinds of fights.”
Even if lawmakers don’t want to give up their authority to draw the lines, they could require a three-fifths majority to pass a map and not allow fracturing of counties, Husted said.
“The solutions are many,” he said. “The political will is the missing ingredient.”