In his first visit to Long Island on Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich attracted close to 1,000 spectators for a morning address at Hofstra University and 3,000 to his evening speech at Huntington’s Paramount theater. He’s almost certainly not going to be elected president, at least not in 2016, but his continued campaign is justified, personally and politically.
In terms of improving his own life, Kasich has gone from being an iffy 10th in a field of 17 Republican candidates to a strong third in a field of three, and that’s a big difference. He is now a better known and intriguing player nationally, thanks to his persistence, and that will translate into more monetary success and visibility in the future.
He is also, as he’ll be the first, second and third person to tell you, crushing in the general election polls the two Republicans who are beating him in the nomination race. According to the Real Clear Politics averages, Donald Trump is losing to Democrats Hillary Clinton by 11 points and Bernie Sanders by 16. Sen. Ted Cruz is losing to Clinton by 3 points and Sanders by 10.
But Kasich is beating Clinton in the polls by 6 points, and losing to Sanders by only 1.
Our sources of information have been chiding us about how the public and the parties are going about picking a president. But the talking heads and party shills who’ve been saying Kasich ought to drop out practically since he jumped in last July were mistaken — just as they have been mistaken about practically every aspect of the 2016 election.
So maybe it’s time we look as harshly at the validity of our information sources as we do the “viability” of candidates who aren’t part of the in-crowd.
As returns from the state battlegrounds roll in each primary night, millions of Americans tune in to whichever 24-hour news station best coddles their particular political fetishes. They are treated to in-depth and expert analysis from famed party proxies, “commentators” and hacks, many of whom have been wrong about the election thus far but are called on again and again no matter how frequently their crystal balls fail.
It’s madness when you think about it, political junkies hanging on the words of media members who initially said Trump and Sanders were going nowhere and Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie would be among the GOP candidates standing at the end. And that’s just the commentators pretending to be unbiased.
Even worse is when the TV moderators introduce some campaign-employed staffer to spin us, which is often: “Now we’re pleased to welcome Marco Rubio campaign strategist Ollie Krantz . . . Ollie, have you noticed Rubio is a shockingly unsuccessful candidate who is losing support faster than a flaming weather balloon loses altitude and has spent so much money he could have just bought a country and named himself president?”
“No, no . . . I think the enthusiasm is growing and we’re on the right track. Really. It’s awesome. Every day we see tens of people responding to our message of pain and exclusion. And my paychecks haven’t bounced, which is a good sign.”
The opinions of paid campaign spokespeople aren’t opinions, they’re advertisements. The opinions of career staffers for the parties are not opinions, they’re the company lines. And pairing up such people to provide offsetting opinions, as the cable news channels generally do, is not informative or entertaining.
Is it any wonder that the public that is so busily rejecting the establishment candidates is also showing so much rage at the establishment media trying to prop them up?
Lane Filler is a member of Newsday’s editorial board.