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Watching the Republican Party unfold into disparate factions, sniping at each other less than thirty days before the election is like witnessing a complete and utter train wreck. In fact, that may not be depressing enough of an analogy. It’s more accurate to say that the GOP’s civil war was about as likely as a person trying to cross the Long Island Expressway — they are going to get hit regardless of how skillful they may be in trying to avoid the oncoming traffic. The Republican establishment is the pedestrian blindly crossing the highway, confident that he’s skillful and agile enough to get to the other side without a scratch. In the end, it’s all too obvious, and people are left wondering, what he was thinking?

Related: A new report claims Donald Trump wanted to hand over his would-be presidential duties to John Kasich

The Republican Party is a proud political institution in America. It’s a party that abolished slavery, the biggest stain on this country’s legacy.  It’s the party of Abraham Lincoln, a man who could have let two diametrically opposing social and political systems reign free in the United States but chose instead to launch a war in order to unite it. The GOP is the party of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, presidents who had the dexterity and political courage to reach out to China, stick up to the Soviet Union until it collapsed and keep dictators like Saddam Hussein in line.
It’s almost too upsetting to watch the 2016 election and see how far the GOP has been brought down into the gutter. Whether Paul Ryan wants to admit it or not, the Republican Party is now the Party of Trump.
As much as Trump’s candidacy is a stink bomb to the GOP on its own, the smell will likely continue beyond this election cycle.  The stink will cloud some of the up-and-coming stars in the party that would like to make a run for the presidency in the future.
Virtually every single one of these party stalwarts has been exposed by Trump as a human pretzel — twisting themselves into contortions in order to keep their political careers on the right track. Sen. Ted Cruz pleads for Republicans to vote their conscience at the Republican National Convention, then goes ahead and endorses the same man who insulted his wife’s looks and suggested his father was an accessory to the biggest political assassination in American history. Sen. Marco Rubio, who said he wouldn’t trust Trump with the nuclear codes, is exposed as a typical politician, who will sell his soul to endorse Trump in order to keep his seat. Paul Ryan, the most senior elected Republican in the country, ducks and weaves the Trump phenomenon as best he can, but in the end finds himself in an even tougher position than his fellow 2020 contenders — perceived as a traitor by Trump loyalists in his caucus whose votes will be critical if Ryan wants to extend his speakership past this year.
The only man and possible 2020 presidential contender who may get out of this entire sad affair free of bruises is Ohio Gov. John Kasich. At first glance, this would sound like a strange concept to buy into; after all, he got demolished by Trump during the primary and bothered a lot of establishment-types by staying in the race even when it was mathematically impossible for him to win.  His “we need to work together with Democrats to get things done” message wasn’t what primary voters wanted to hear.  His experience in government, both as Chairman of the Budget Committee and as Governor of Ohio, was looked upon by many conservative voters as an example of his being part of the Washington establishment rather than a pragmatist.  Nobody cared that Kasich helped balance the federal budget in the 1990s.
And yet, less than a month before Election Day and with Trump’s poll numbers under 40 percent, Kasich is starting to look like the adult in the room that could project how damaging Trump would be to the GOP before anyone else cared to listen. During his presidential campaign, he consistently hammered home the theme that practicing the politics of diversion and division in order to win votes was not only short-sighted but dangerous to the unity of the country. When Kasich decided to boycott the GOP convention in his own state, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign yelled and screamed about his disloyalty. Yet, it was a principled move on the part of Kasich and the next logical step to refusing to endorse the GOP nominee altogether. And, unlike Ryan, Rubio, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, Cruz and the rest of the party’s future, Kasich wasn’t waffling in the wind in an attempt to determine whether endorsing or staying away from Trump was more beneficial to their political careers.
When the “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump came out, John Kasich wrote a brief statement like every other elected official, denouncing the degrading words that the billionaire used against women. “I’ve long had concerns with Donald Trump that go beyond his temperament,” Kasich wrote. “I’ve… encouraged him to change his behavior for the better and offer a positive, inclusive vision for our country, but he has not. It’s clear that he hasn’t changed and has no interest in doing so. As a result, Donald Trump is a man I cannot and should not support.”

Kasich concluded with a simple phrase: “Our country deserves better.” Sounds like a good bumper-sticker for a Kasich campaign in 2020, doesn’t it?

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