After polls close next Tuesday night, it probably won’t take more than a New York minute for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to learn the Big Apples bites back and hard, even on sons of mailmen whose golly-gee-look-at-me, happy-warrior shtick comes up bupkis with hard-boiled New Yorkers.
Whether it was complaining he had to eat pizza in New York City with a fork because it was served too hot, or whether he was trying to schmooze Hasidic Jews sporting long black beards, Ohio’s term-limited, aging Anglican goyim governor knew he wasn’t in Westerville anymore.
If polling ahead of New York state’s upcoming primary are half accurate, New York businessman, billionaire and folk hero, Donald Trump, will take both John Kasich and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in short order to the cleaners, Big Apple style. If Trump wins big, as polls forecast he will, he’ll pick up all or most of the 95 convention delegates up for grabs.
On the Republican ledger in New York state, Trump leads with 54 percent compared to Mr. Kasich in a distant second place at 25 percent. In another spoll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll of New York, Donald Trump was clobbering Kasich by 33 points. Among likely Republican primary voters with a candidate preference, 37 percent choose Gov. Kasich as their second pick. Ted Cruz comes in second with 30 percent while Trump lands in third place with just 14 percent. At the same time, seven in ten Trump supporters say they won’t vote for anyone else.
Trump, Cruz and Kasich are the troika of GOP candidates still running for president who each spoke at a Republican gala where dress was black-tie and gowns. Gov. Kasich, who’s polling a distant second to Trump with Sen. Cruz close behind in third place, spent his time talking about jobs and health care. Job data released yesterday shows Gov. Kasich has now pushed his consecutive months of under-performing the national average to 40.
Donald Trump, one report said, defaulted to hometown host, talking about Trump building projects that included the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where everyone was having dinner.
Gov. Kasich, who many have called to get out of the race since he’s fourth in the delegate count and has no chance to win enough pledged delegates to be the nominee in Cleveland in July on the first ballot, tried his brand of establishment-lane salesmanship.
“You don’t want to sleep because you’re afraid you’ll miss something,” Kasich said, showing his Big Apple audience, even before he introduced himself as “the son of a blue-collar worker,” just how cow-country he is. David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau, wrote of the event and what Ohio’s governor said, “Kasich should fit well into the mold of the classic New York Republican, who tends to be fiscally conservative but more moderate on social issues.” Former New York Governor George Pataki, one of 17 GOP candidates who started the race last year but who dropped out after his campaign tanked at ever crossroads, endorsed his Republican colleague, John Kasich.
Echoing Camp Kasich’s current warning to Republicans that they’ll “get killed” in the fall against Hillary Rodham Clinton if Kasich isn’t the nominee, Mr. Pataki said of Donald Trump, “If he’s our nominee, he’s going to drive the Republican Party off a cliff.” John Kasich is relying on a Fox News poll that has him beating Mrs. Clinton by double digits. But as election watchers note, Hillary Clinton has been a pubic figure for decades while few know much or anything about Gov. Kasich, even though he’s been an elected representative in Washington for a longer period of time.
Polls taken today, during primary season, are not predictive of polls to be taken during the General Election, when media focuses on the candidates, a vetting Gov. Kasich has yet to undergo. Mr. Kasich got some good news last week, when the New York Daily News endorsed him. But the paper also endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race. The New York Post then endorsed Donald Trump.
Buffs of Kasich showmanship know one of his tactics is to not mention his opponent’s names if at all possible. He showed that strategy again to his Big Apple audience, but they knew exactly who he was talking about. “You know what will happen if we nominate people who have negatives and cannot beat Hillary?” Kasich queried the crowd. Kasich is wagering that his cry that the sky will fall if it isn’t him sinks in at the national nominating convention, where he’s active trying to lower the bar to get nominated while Trump and Cruz, who qualify now based on 2012 rules, want to keep the bar in place, check-mating Camp Kasich to win the game of delegates.
There is plausible speculation that an open convention gives hope to a third-place finisher like Mr. Kasich, but others see that as the path to losing in the fall as Trump backers bolt the party, and its nominee, in retribution for steal a nomination they think they won fair and square out in the field.
Camp Kasich can read polls like everyone else, and the latest RealClearPolitics average of New York Republican polls shows Donald Trump outpacing John Kasich by 32 percentage points, with Sen. Cruz further behind by another four points.