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Primary endorsement: Kasich only candidate who can beat Dems

Primary endorsement: Kasich only candidate who can beat Dems

If Republicans want any chance of reclaiming the presidency in November, they're going to have to re
Primary endorsement: Kasich only candidate who can beat Dems
John Kasich speaks to the crowd at LaSalle Institute in Troy on April 11.
Photographer: Erica Miller

If Republicans want any chance of reclaiming the presidency in November, they're going to have to rescue their nomination process now, by putting forth a candidate who voters in the general election believe can actually do the job.

That's not Donald Trump. It's not Ted Cruz.

It's Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

New York could turn the national election around for the Republican Party by supporting Kasich in Tuesday's GOP primary and counting on a brokered Republican national convention to make him the nominee.

Kasich is the only chance, short of an indictment, that Republicans have of defeating Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders on Nov. 8.

Sticking it out to the end with the Donald Trump reality-show circus or going forth with the divisive, unlikable Ted Cruz will only ensure that Republicans go down in flames, a defeat from which it could take the party years to recover.

The 63-year-old Kasich is a true fiscal and social conservative who espouses the Republican Party's platform on key issues such as abortion, the Second Amendment and repealing Obamacare. Unlike his opponents, he has executive experience as a governor, legislative experience on the state and national levels, and as a leader in Congress on issues such as welfare, deficit-reduction and budget reform.

Neither Trump nor Cruz can claim such a broad spectrum of experience that will be necessary to get things accomplished in the White House.

Unlike his two bombastic Republican opponents, Kasich is serene and thoughtful. He has proven that while he is loyal to Republican positions, he can work with those who disagree with him through compromise — a quality that will be particularly essential should either the House or Senate, or both, fall into Democratic hands in the fall.

We don't agree with Kasich on a number of his ultra-conservative positions. And Kasich is the only candidate among the five still standing from both parties who has called for the use of ground troops in the fight against ISIS. Even Trump and Cruz — both of whom say they'll push for air strikes and greater crackdowns on Muslim populations to fight terrorism — are not committing to putting the lives of American foot soldiers directly in harm's way. We've seen how poorly that's worked out in the past.

The current front-runner for the nomination, Mr. Trump, has served a useful purpose in this election. Through his candor and charisma, he has awakened a sleepy populace, tapped into a smoldering anger and resentment among a large segment of the American people, and inspired people who otherwise would be sitting on the sidelines to step up and demand change.

But his fist-pumping policy ideas, such as calling for the rounding up of Muslims, walling in the Mexican border, withdrawing the U.S. from NATO, retreating from free trade, and bombing the you-know-what out of ISIS are impractical, unachievable and potentially dangerous to the nation and its economy.

Trump might be able to fill stadiums. But thoughtful voters will not elect a candidate who has no chance of changing anything once in office, whose approach to governance is to divide rather than unite, who inspires conflict and hate rather than cooperation and compromise. If members of his own party are even conspiring to dump him as nominee, how do Republican voters expect Trump will be able to work with these very same people as president? He's done what he set out to do. It's now time for him to go.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has only gotten as far as he's gotten in this race by being Trump-Lite, a slightly less offensive, less likeable, less charismatic, less polarizing figure than the man to his left.

Republican voters must seriously consider whether they really think the American people will elect this person as president.

And after all, that's the whole goal of this entire year-long, chaotic exercise — to select a nominee who can be elected president. There's no honor in running someone who's destined to lose.

Trump doesn't have the demeanor, experience or rational policies to do the job. Cruz is too far right and can't connect with regular people.

The strongest candidate in an admittedly weak field who even has a prayer of running a legitimate, intelligent, honest, mature, moderate, winnable campaign against a strong Democratic nominee is John Kasich.

Republican Party leaders who will ultimately select him in a contested party convention realize that. It's time Republican voters realize that, too.

They can start in New York on Tuesday.

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