Is John Kasich Sexist Or Just A Jerk?

Those who are familiar with the Ohio governor making a bid at the presidency know all about his direct demeanor, quick dismissals, and blunt way of speaking. Sometimes his retorts and quips are even funny. But when John Kasich asked a woman if she dieted, he stepped beyond being described as a grouchy candidate and entered a whole other arena. Instead of debating his policy points, we're now having to wonder if Kasich is actually a little sexist.

To give the candidate fair credit, it's not as bad as it sounds. During a town hall in Iowa, a woman posed Kasich a question about government corruption and the role of lobbyists. After discussing his experience with balancing a budget and sticking to goals, it apparently occurred to Kasich that his statement hadn't been clear enough for the woman. "Have you ever been on a diet?" he asked her. "Many times," the woman (very quietly) responded. "Well, you're the perfect example. So you set a goal and you reach it, and then what happens? A little spumoni, a trip to Mario's," Kasich said, referencing a local restaurant.

But let's be fair to Kasich — he was probably just trying to relate to the woman. Female voters only understand complex government concepts when it's compared to their body image issues, right? And this statement, harmless as it is, doesn't insinuate a pattern of sexism. It's not like he's done anything like this before, right?

Except, unfortunately for Kasich, he has. Much has been written about his trip to the University of Richmond, when he dismissed a young woman who wanted to ask a question about his immigration policy. "I'm sorry, I don't have any Taylor Swift concert tickets," Kasich jokingly responded to the young woman. During the same event, Kasich reportedly dismissed another woman's question about Planned Parenthood.

It might come as a surprise to Kasich that some may view him as having a sexist attitude. After all, he loves to refer to his previous gubernatorial campaign, where he won 60 percent of the female vote. But even as the most moderate among the current Republican presidential field, his comments don't look good.

Luckily, Kasich has a saving grace. He's not just dismissive toward women — he's dismissive toward everyone. One could even call him an equal opportunity jerk. If anything, far more men have felt the brunt of his "direct" manner. Molly Ball of The Atlantic put it as succinctly as possible: "The thing about John Kasich is, he's kind of a jerk."

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Kasich's brusque mannerisms are well documented. John McCain famously described the governor as having a "hair-trigger temper." Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO compiled an entire article of stories about Kasich's blunt comments, which range from telling a BP employee that oil companies deserve their bad reputation, to informing one of his political donors that the man didn't know what he was talking about.

His ire is spread equally, and no one escapes his quick tongue — not even his own party. During a conference hosted by the Koch brothers, Kasich defended his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio by calling out the woman who asked the question. "I don't know about you, lady, but when I get to the pearly gates, I'm going to have an answer for what I've done for the poor," Kasich said.

For his part, Kasich doesn't think he's a jerk — he just thinks he's to the point, something that will echo with voters. And he's partially right. There's something exceedingly refreshing about a candidate who's not afraid of making enemies and doesn't tip-toe around delicate issues. It's part of the reason why Donald Trump is doing so well — people respond to politicians who aren't afraid to say what they think.


Unfortunately for Kasich, however, the role of the trash-talking, blunt Republican candidate has already been filled. Trump is making much more direct comments and raising far more eyebrows. But more importantly, at the end of the day, while people may appreciate a no-nonsense leader, no one will elect someone that they don't like. And his dismissive, devil-may-care approach to campaign rhetoric may earn him some respect, but probably won't bring voters.

Considering that Kasich is currently polling at 3 percent in Iowa, this might not be a gamble he should take. Some may find the comments funny. But as a young, female voter who will play an important role in this election, I'll never vote for a candidate who devolves women down to their dieting habits or their interest in celebrities. But then again, where's my authority? As Kasich would probably tell me, I don't know what I'm talking about.