John Kasich's Michigan Primary Performance Was The Biggest Shocker Of Super Tuesday 2
Sure, Bernie Sanders' upset over Hillary Clinton was the big story to come out of the Michigan primary on Super Tuesday 2, but there should probably be more focus on the similarly unexpected outcome of the Republican primary. Ohio governor John Kasich ended the night in Michigan nearly tied with Ted Cruz and within competitive range of the winner, Donald Trump. As unlikely as it seems, Kasich's surprising performance in the Michigan primary could be the catalyst for an ascension to the top of the Republican field.
Primarily, Kasich has a shot at going all the way simply because there is no consensus on any other Republican candidate. Celebrities have come out in droves to denounce Trump, the establishment hates Cruz, and despite all the support thrown behind Marco Rubio, he hasn't been able to establish a following. That leaves Kasich, whose campaign seems to be surviving by being the least of four evils. Right now, that's a powerful aspect of his candidacy, as people are looking for alternatives to the devolving integrity of the top three candidates. If the public becomes more and more disillusioned with the frontrunners, Kasich could actually stand a chance at taking the nomination in July.
Granted, it would be quite a shock if Kasich managed to pull this off. There have only been a couple election cycles in which the clear Super Tuesday winner didn't go on to receive the party nomination. But the rulebook has pretty much gone out the window in this cycle, and with it, any expectation of a traditional path to the nomination. Luckily for Kasich, that leaves plenty of room for him to break through the competition, even at this relatively late stage in the race.
Kasich has a pretty good chance in some upcoming state primaries as well. His home state of Ohio has got his back — he's currently polling in second place just behind Trump, and the strong showing in Michigan could help boost him to the front of the leaderboard. Ohio is a winner-take-all primary, so if he can pull off the win there, it would be a huge boost to his campaign, and put him quite close to Rubio's current delegate total. There's also pressure for Rubio to drop out before Florida, which would push the state's large population of moderate Republicans towards Kasich. If he can get a decent cut of the 367 delegates up for grabs on March 15, it will go a long way to changing Republican establishment support from Rubio to the Kasich camp.
Ultimately, there are still four months to go until the nominating convention, and within those four months, the state of the race could change dramatically — four months ago, Ben Carson was neck and neck with Donald Trump in national polls. Kasich seems determined to keep plugging away and focusing on the issues, and it's actually working. It's possible that he could go all the way.