In the bizarro world that is 2016 presidential politics, John Kasich has become the protest vote against the protest votes. Appealing to that odd subset of Republicans that detest Donald Trump but somehow cannot bring themselves to cast a vote for the only man with a feasible path to stopping him, Kasich’s small and stagnant group is hardly a coalition becoming of a winner.
But until this point, Kasich’s role as spoiler has largely come at the expense of Ted Cruz. States like Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina may have shifted toward Cruz were it not for the governor siphoning off anti-Trump votes.
That all changes now as, for the remainder of April, the race shifts to six states above the Mason-Dixon line. Conventional wisdom tells us that this is Trump country and, given that all of the bloviating obnoxiousness up to this point hasn’t seemed to deter these voters, it will take nothing short of a tectonic shift in the direction of the race for Cruz to even be competitive in most of these states.
Enter John Kasich, whose moderate, New England appeal can be a major asset to the #NeverTrump movement. If Kasich can keep even a few percentage points in these states away from Trump, thereby keeping him from reaching the 50% threshold in a district here and a district there, it could be the small bumps needed to ultimately trip up Trump on his road to 1237.