This election must be hard so far to watch if you're a Republican with common sense and an appreciation for social issues. You might be a fiscal conservative, but see a clown car of candidates clamoring for your attention and consider voting toward a party you don't always agree with. There is a way to be a Republican without coming across as insensitive, out of touch, or directly offensive. Right now, John Kasich is the most presidential moderate candidate that the Republican Party has, and it might be time for conservatives to give him more attention.
Kasich just barely earned his place in the first GOP debate, beating Rick Perry to be the 10th most popular Republican candidate. Pundits called him one of the night's top performers, and a recent New Hampshire poll put him at third place among GOP candidates, just behind Trump and Bush. It's about time everyone turn toward the Ohio governor, because he might be the least punchline-worthy candidate this crowded field has.
If conservatives want someone from their own party in the White House, it might be wise to send the donor dollars his way, instead of to the more popular Trump. Kasich's main assets are his ability to compromise, move forward, and give a little something to everyone. He doesn't refuse to work with his Democratic colleagues, and isn't afraid to lean a little left when it makes sense to.
Kasich showed his adaptability at the GOP debate when pushed to answer for the ways in which he seems more liberal than his right-wing competitors. When asked about gay marriage, he said, "Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do doesn’t mean I can’t care about them or love them. If one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and accept them." Kasich is in favor of traditional marriage, but after the Supreme Court's affirmation of same-sex marriage, he said it was "time to move on." The ability to let some things go is rare and valuable in a politician.
The candidate also had to answer for expanding Medicaid in his home state and replied unabashedly that he was providing for the drug-addicted and mentally ill, who often get shuffled into the criminal justice system. Kasich has expressed the importance of caring for the poor — a value that doesn't contradict the true message of the Republican Party, but which might cause gasps among some of its members.
He also lacks the heavy-handedness of his competitors when it comes to immigration. Kasich said he has considered granting legal status to illegal immigrants if they simply registered themselves and paid a fine. His fellow Republicans have criticized him for the worst crime on their list: agreeing with Obama. Kasich said he was open to considering Obama's immigration plan, not joining in on the "enormous wall" idea that many Republican A-listers have jumped on.
Another big Kasich plus for those who support logic is that he actually believes in global warming. An American president should have the ability to look at facts, consult with experts, and make an informed decision. Candidates who refuse to accept climate change are not practicing such an ability. Kasich probably wouldn't be allocating a huge portion of the budget for environmental protection (in typical Republican fashion), but still at least he seems concerned about the issue.
Don't mistake Kasich for a Democrat, though. He said he opposed the Affordable Care Act, though he did accept the funds it allocated for him to expand Medicaid. He would likely send troops to fight ISIS, and considers himself a budget hawk.
So if you care about social issues, but consider yourself a Republican at heart, Kasich might be the right vote for you. You never know who will be on the ballot come next November, but until then, sensible Republicans should give Kasich a chance.