Thursday, July 21, 2016

How Trump Is Working Hard To Lose Ohio In November


Tuesday's "Make America Work Again" was a follow-up to the Trump Convention's unhinged "Make America Safe Again" Monday theme. But there was basically nothing about work, jobs or anything related to either. In fact, Amanda Carpenter tweeted that "Unless the plan is to make all Republicans prison guards to lock up Democrats, I didn't see a jobs plan tonight." That kind of Trumpist incompetence was just one of the reasons John Kasich, who is boycotting the convention he worked so hard to bring to his state, gives when explaining why he can't support Trump. It's gotten so out of hand that Republicans-- who have never won a presidential election without carrying Ohio-- are fretting that the pig-headed Trump will so grievously offend Ohioans that he'll guarantee a Hillary win there... and nationally.

Byron York, writing yesterday for the right wing blog, Washington Examiner, contends that "the Trump-Kasich spat is more than a sideshow. It's at the very heart of the presidential campaign." Because Republicans who lose Ohio, lose the White House. "This fall," wrote York, "and especially in October, the GOP presidential candidate will need a huge assist from the Republican power structure in Ohio. He simply has to have it. And at the moment it looks very much like that won't happen."

Monday Trump called into his pals at Fox and whined incoherently about Kasich not supporting him: "I beat him very, very soundly. And you have to understand, this was a contentious, some people say the most contentious primary they have ever seen in either party. If I were him and gotten beaten that badly I probably wouldn't show up either. He has a problem that he signed the pledge. And from a standpoint of honor I think he should show up."
Whoever is really to blame, what makes Trump's handling of the Kasich problem so ill-advised is the fact that Kasich is truly popular here in Ohio. You know those moderate women suburban voters Republicans always wish they had more of? Kasich has them.

Yet at the same time, there are hints here at the convention that Kasich's supporters, many of whom voted for him in the March 15 Ohio primary, aren't happy with Kasich's decision to boycott the convention. Before the convention started, I received a note from a source who talked of unhappiness in the Ohio delegation ranks.

"They don't take Kasich's opposition to Trump as principle, but rather petulance," the source wrote. "One older man told me that whenever it's his guy who loses-- a Tea Party candidate or a more conservative primary challenger-- he's always been told that after the primary you have to fall in line behind the nominee, even if you disagree with him. Now, the same people who said that are telling him that they can't vote for Trump out of principle."

...Kasich is famous for having a difficult personality. But as far as Trump is concerned, Kasich is the governor of a swing state Trump cannot afford to lose. Kasich controls political resources in that critical swing state. So it really doesn't matter that many see Kasich as a sore loser after the GOP primaries. Winners have to manage losers wisely. Or, at a minimum, not attack them publicly.

...Insiders in both parties believe Trump has a chance to win Ohio. "He's going to kill it" in some key blue-collar areas of the state, the strategist told me. Some of Trump's weaknesses, like his low standing among Hispanic voters, won't be a big factor in Ohio. And dislike of Hillary Clinton is strong; the millions of dollars in ads she has aired in Ohio haven't made a huge difference, at least so far. It's probably fair to say that few would be surprised if Trump does better than Romney, who lost Ohio by three points in 2012.

But Trump has to do better than just out-perform Romney. He has to win Ohio, or lose the presidency. Which makes Trump's feud with Ohio's Republican governor more than just a quarrel left over from some tough primaries. It is a dispute that could determine the outcome of the entire national race.
Don't get the idea, though, that Kasich stands alone on this. Ohio's state House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger made that perfectly clear yesterday: "I am so proud of our Governor, John Kasich" for not backing Trump and this morning the Ohio convention delegation gave Kasich a spontaneous and heart-felt standing ovation when he entered room today at delegation breakfast. Nor should you get the idea that Trump is unaware just how important Ohio is in the service of his self-glorification. According to Robert Draper's explosive piece in the New York Times yesterday, Trump sent Donald, Jr. to Kasich's camp to offer him the running mate slot-- along with unprecedented power. Did Kasich have any interest, the Trumps wanted to know in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“Making America great again” was the casual reply.
Trump then ordered the Ohio delegation, to be seated behind Pennsylvania at the convention, a slap in the face to the hosts, who are always given from row seats-- and an example of Trump's deranged idea of collective punishment and petty revenge. And self-destruction. Read these old Trump tweets about Kasich when you think about Trump offering to make him the most powerful vice president in history-- and when you think about Kasich telling Trump to go shove him offer up his ass:

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