The Kasich Solution
John Kasich is bringing up the rear in the GOP primaries -- but he could end up nominated at the Republican convention in Cleveland. Here's how.
Super Saturday? Really? Saturday's mish-mosh of primaries and caucuses has to go down as one of the most boring and predictable days of the 2016 campaign so far. On the GOP side, Donald Trump won the states where people think Barack Obama was born the Anti-Christ or in Kenya or both (Kentucky, Louisiana) while Ted Cruz rules the Bible Belt; the fist-shaking prairie populists voting for Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side are drowned out by near unanimous black support for Hillary Clinton in the South.
Meanwhile, the real bombshell of the campaign was buried...as usual:
Kasich leads Trump 33 percent to 31 percent in the state, a major jump for the Ohio governor, who was at 17 percent in late February, the last time ARG surveyed Michigan. Trump has dropped 4 points from 35 percent since then. In the latest poll, Ted Cruz comes in third, with 15 percent, and Marco Rubio follows, with 11 percent.
The poll may give some momentum to Kasich, who hasn't yet won a state primary and has struggled to gain any traction since he came in second in New Hampshire and Vermont.
If Kasich can actually beat Trump in Michigan -- a big "if"...we'll know in 48 hours -- that could be, to coin a phrase, a game-changer for the GOP establishment. It could actually give the party elites a way out of the Trump fiasco, if they're smart, which of course we haven't seen so far.
If Kasich wins Michigan, he becomes the odds-on favorite to win the winner-take-all primary in his home state of Ohio on March 15, and could have a strong showing that night in Illinois as well. Most of the big Northern and Midwestern industrial states haven't voted yet.
But here's the thing: Marco Rubio, running the biggest joke of a presidential campaign this side of Pat Paulsen, needs to leave the race, ASAP. He has no chance at the nomination and will probably boost Trump by losing to him March 15 in Florida (also winner take all).
Pundits who see Trump's nomination as inevitable fail to notice that so far he has less than 50 percent of the pledged delegates. A three way race with Cruz as candidate of the evangelicals, Kasich as candidate of the Rust Belt and Trump as candidate of the GOP's lunatic core would ensure that no one gets the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot.
What then? A lot of delegates may be GOP establishment plants who can't wait to ditch Trump and go to the elite candidate -- Kasich -- on the second or third ballot. It's that simple -- Trump denied. Would his supporters then "burn down Cleveland," as a couple of folks suggested to me on Twitter? Perhaps.
More on stopping Trump later this week.