Lots of Ohio Republicans, especially Gov. John Kasich in particular, have multiple crosses to bear for various sins committed over their long and lucrative time as elected public officials.

For a second-time presidential candidate like Ohio’s term-limited governor, who erroneously thought a higher authority had called him to run for the White House again, the first cross he nailed himself to was raising his hand in the very first of many televised debate forums and pledging to support the GOP candidate who emerged from the grueling and bitter primary season as the party’s nominee for president.

Now that the GOP candidate is Donald Trump, the New York City billionaire and businessman folk hero who is a walking gaffe machine by day—President Barack Obama is the founder of the Islamic State—and con artist by night—Trump University—the lame duck governor’s second cross is violating the so-called pledge he made in the first Republican debate a year ago in August in Cleveland.

The Donald is out there for all to see, as his campaign hopes of winning in November dim by the day, to the consternation and chagrin of establishment politicians like Kasich who thought the same old campaign game plan would work again this year. Instead of hopes, hugs and stories of inspiration, the buffet dished out by the 18-year congressman to his many town hall audiences, the GOP base wanted old fashioned fire and brimstone with a sprinkling of blood for good measure.

The latest confirmation the Trump Train is chugging uphill arrives with new polling showing Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Mr. Trump in some of the most diverse battleground states, including by double digits in two of them, according to four brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls: Florida: Clinton 44, Trump 39; North Carolina: Clinton 48, Trump 39; Virginia: 46, 33; Colorado: 46, 32.

Even though Ohio’s 69th governor got blown out by the Big Orange Machine—winning only one state while losing 49 others—he and other one-time GOP leaders are out of sight but not out of mind to the Donald, who showed at a rally Friday in Pennsylvania he hasn’t forgotten them. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence tried calling Kasich but reached voice mail, according to reports. Kasich returned the call, leaving a message.

Donald Trump recalled the pledge all of his 16 Republican challengers signed to support the eventual nominee to his crowd of enthused Keystone State backers. That pledge was organized by the Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus from Wisconsin. The RNC chairman was present with Trump at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, a sign that he was in the Donald’s corner for better or worse.

“This man is going to win,” said Priebus, the AP reported. “He’s going to save our country.”

Unfortunately, it appears the signposts are pointing to it getting maybe worse. Next week, Donald Trump plans to return to Wisconsin, where top Republican leaders won’t be there with him. One explanation for their vanishing acts is found in a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showing  Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by 15 points among likely voters in Wisconsin.

One-time rivals for the nomination Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and John have each declined to endorse Trump. The Trump-Kasich spat is a sign of the hostility between a blowhard and braggart versus a deceiver and performance artist whose hard-right agenda has been in plain sight even though media chooses to gloss over it at best and ignore it at worst.

Now that the petulant Kasich is on the outs with the braggadocio Trump, as the two camps continue to throw spit balls at each other, finding a spot in the Trump administration for Ohio’s chief executive, should that long-shot gamble become reality in less than 90 days, is far fetched even for the governor’s adoring media.

In the meantime, Democrats can enjoy the Donald telling John Kasich what Kasich liked to tell people about his plan to make them work longer and get less when they retire.

“Some of them just can’t get over it,” Trump told his Pennsylvania crowd, digging at his former rivals again. “Get over it! We were just having fun.”

 

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