Welcome to the State of Pledge for June 16th. As late as April, the three remaining Republican candidates all reinforced their pledge to support the party’s nominee in the general election. And yet, neither of the two who didn’t win the nomination has offered any public support for Donald Trump. Ted Cruz has remained silent on the question, but John Kasich has been anything but silent.
“You did make the pledge,” Joe Scarborough reminded Kasich this morning, who rebuts that by saying, “People even get divorces.” Kasich doesn’t promise to serve papers and recheck the pre-nup, but he tells Scarborough that he can’t endorse Trump “at this point … he has to change.”
Change, eh? Over/under on a new Trump nickname for Kasich? Three hours:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) June 16, 2016
“It’s painful,” the former presidential candidate told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s painful. People even get divorces, you know?
“Sometimes things come about that, look, I’m sorry this happened, but we’ll see where it ends up. I’m not making any final decision yet, but at this point I just can’t do it.” …
“I said I’m not prepared to do it, and [Trump’s] going to have to change. Period.”
Kasich also revealed that he had been approached for both an independent bid and a chance to lead a floor revolt at the convention in Cleveland. Kasich took a pass on both approaches:
“Look, if you saw the people that have contacted me, and want me to run as a third-party candidate, or the number of people that have come to me and say they want, you know — ‘Would you run with Donald Trump?’ — I mean, you would be shocked,” Kasich told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough in an exclusive interview. “And, the answer to that is no. I’ve given it my best.” …
He told Scarborough that he would have no part of any uprising or rules change before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month — even as Trump’s poll numbers continue to plummet.
“I think it’s very unlikely, and I won’t be involved in it,” Kasich said. “I’m not going there to disrupt. I gave it my best, I didn’t win, I have no regrets about the way I conducted myself, and I’m not interested in being a spoiler.”
Kasich might make a convenient rally figure for a convention revolt, but it’s hard to imagine him as a top choice. He’s a pragmatist, not an inspirational figure, but the problem the GOP faces is that it doesn’t have many of the latter on hand. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz might fill the bill, but they too got demolished by Trump and can’t deliver the kind of Electoral College constituency that even Kasich could.
Even if one could be found, the narrative that would emerge would be that The Establishment seized the nomination from the voters, etc etc. It’s a lose-lose scenario. That’s why Kasich has no interest in it, and why no one else with a potential future in the Republican Party will either.