|Screen showing the 35% Democrat-Independent crossover vote|
Perhaps the biggest late night revelation about Ohio’s Republican and Democratic primary elections yesterday, Tuesday, March 15th, was the unprecedented number of Democratic and Independent voters who crossed over to cast their ballots in the Ohio Republican primary. Exit interviews by MSNBC reporters revealed that a large number of these crossover voters wanted to stop Ohio Republicans from making Donald Trump their nominee in the upcoming presidential election. The way they accomplished this was by casting their ballots for John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio. There was nothing illegal about this crossover voting. Ohio laws permit it. All’s fair in love, war, and Ohio presidential primaries. But the results of it were that the Democrats and Independents had effectively prevented Republicans from nominating Trump as their candidate in next November’s presidential election. They were using Kasich as their stalking horse against the heavily favored Trump. Would Kasich have won Ohio’s primary without the support of the crossover voters who made up 35% of the voters in that primary? Since Kasich beat Trump by 11%, it appears Trump probably would have won the Ohio primary if it were not for the crossover Democratic and Independent voters.
There is not likely to be much protest at this subversion of the democratic process because Trump has been increasingly depicted by the Republican elite and most of the media as a rabble rousing fascist bully, if not the incarnation of evil itself. So those crossover voters could be considered as heroes for having prevented Trump from taking a prohibitive delegate lead in the primary voting. That is certainly the way Kasich characterized himself in his victory speech last night, as a homespun hero who saved the Republican Party and perhaps the nation from disaster. A closer analysis of the crossover vote may prove that it did not make a decisive difference in the Republican primary. Or Trump may end up as the Republican nominee in spite of Kasich’s victory in the primary. But Kasich’s win makes Trump’s nomination that much more unlikely, especially in view of the tremendous support Kasich is likely to get, and is already getting, from the Republican elite and the media.
Is Kasich the answer to the anti-Trumpists' prayers? I personally find Kasich frequently wallowing in his self-righteous, humble, mailman son’s origins insufferable and his claims for the Ohio miracle vastly over-hyped. Fracking may have more to do with Ohio’s relative prosperity than whatever gods may be backing Kasich. In the New York Times (5 March 2016) my favorite pundit, the Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman, wrote a column with the caustic, alliterative title “The Kasich Con.” And in Solon (10 Feb. 2016) Amanda Marcotte wrote, “Kasich is being held out as the ‘compassionate’ alternative to Trump, but in most ways, he’s nearly as bad.” It seems hard to believe that anybody could be as bad as Trump is depicted, but I suppose the con artist Kasich is bad enough. And isn’t con artists what nine out of ten politicians are?