The 2016 Republican presidential race at times has resembled a regrettable road trip accented with fits of rage and rude, horn-blowing maneuvers.
A contentious process has winnowed the crowded field to four candidates for Idaho to consider Tuesday during its GOP primary: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida; and New York businessman Donald Trump.
Though the bigger prize Tuesday is Michigan’s 59 delegates, the 32 in Idaho are coveted enough to spur scheduled visits to the Gem State this weekend by Cruz and Rubio.
The Idaho Statesman editorial board weighed the strengths and weaknesses of the remaining GOP field. (We will consider the Democratic candidates prior to the March 22 Idaho caucus.)
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Out of our discussions about the Republicans we arrived at a consensus that only Kasich possesses the proper experience, temperament and collaborative skills to deserve to advance as the GOP nominee. Though we will reserve our endorsement for president until we get closer to the November general election, our board concluded that Kasich is the best choice from the GOP field because we can imagine him being a successful president.
Whereas poll and delegate leader Trump touts his leadership skills in business and swore to be “flexible” during the GOP’s latest debate, the brash New Yorker more often leads with threats and counterproductive ultimatums. That’s not governing. That is dictating and ruling.
As bright, slick and polished as Cruz and Rubio are at times, they lack the track record and executive skills that Kasich has honed over decades. Where all the others talk, the only remaining governor in the field, Kasich, has produced results amid the challenging circumstances of a huge, changing and complicated state. During his tenure as Ohio governor he turned around an $8 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus.
The one candidate who has managed to stay above the fray of vindictive personal attacks on his presidential opponents, Kasich has a career that has been successful by mixing pragmatism with conservatism. More than any of the rest, his stints as House budget chairman and on the Armed Services Committee point to a man who knows how to collaborate when others default to gridlock.
The 2016 race has taught us things — that Americans are weary and wary of the way things are, and they won’t stand for much more impasse and gamesmanship. But we feel the change in course the voters want cannot be accomplished by ideologues like Cruz or those who peddle endless promises, such as Trump, but fail to convince us they can, or will, follow through.
For voters who see in Trump someone who will cut through partisanship to make deals and get a gridlocked nation on track, we say this: Kasich has actually demonstrated the skills and ability to do that very thing.
We fully understand the uphill path Kasich faces to become the nominee, but that should not dissuade us, or you, from recognizing him as the best-equipped candidate to find and navigate the middle ground of politics that progress and a prosperous future demand.
Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@ idahostatesman.com.