Yesterday, just one day after Ted Cruz announced that he was quitting the race, John Kasich announced that he too was giving up on his campaign for Republican nomination, with a farewell speech containing the usual references to god’s will for him.
“I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone, and as I suspend my campaign today I have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life,” Kasich told supporters at a hastily arranged event in Columbus. “Thank you and God bless.”
His timing was odd. If he felt that having a chance of winning was the criterion for staying in the race, a logical time to drop out was when he had no chance of winning a majority of delegates. But that passed a long time ago since he won only his home state of Ohio and finished third or fourth or worse in most primaries, until the very end when there were only three candidates left. He still has fewer delegates won than Marco Rubio who dropped out well over a month ago. His poor showing in Indiana was also not a surprise since he had declared that he was not going to put any resources into that state as part of his pact with Cruz, unlike for Cruz who had placed all his bets on that state
His decision to stay on this long was perfectly defensible. At their best, elections should be about more than winning and losing. They also provide an important opportunity to spread your message, drive the political conversation, and bring important issues and perspectives to the public. Besides, why should the voters of the final primaries like in California be denied the opportunity to vote for the candidate and issues they prefer?
You would think that with Ted Cruz dropping out, Kasich would have welcomed his role as the sole alternative to Trump to gain more media attention to his message and give the remaining voters their first clear choice between Donald Trump and a pretend moderate like him.
So I don’t understand why he suddenly chose to drop out yesterday. It was strange timing.