The Slatest

New York Times: John Kasich Is “Only Plausible Choice” for Republican Nomination

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich speaks at the NHGOP First in The Nation Town Hall on Jan. 23, 2016 in Nashua, New Hampshire.  

Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is apparently the only contender from the Republican field that the New York Times editorial board can stomach. That may not do much for his already slim chances in the GOP field. But as far as the Times editorial board is concerned, he “is the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race.”

The two front-runners in the Republican contest are a disgrace, the board essentially implies. Donald Trump “invents his positions as he goes along” and is surprisingly candid about how he underestimates his supporters.

What they may not know is how deliberately he is currying their favor. At a meeting with the Times’s editorial writers, Mr. Trump talked about the art of applause lines. “You know,” he said of his events, “if it gets a little boring, if I see people starting to sort of, maybe thinking about leaving, I can sort of tell the audience, I just say, ‘We will build the wall!’ and they go nuts.”

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, “will say anything to win” and what’s more concerning is that he could actually follow his “words with action.” Kasich may not be a moderate, but at least “he has been capable of compromise and believes in the ability of government to improve lives.”

In the Democratic race, the editorial board surprises no one by endorsing Hillary Clinton, just as it did in 2008 when she was running against Barack Obama. Just as it did in 2008, the board praised Clinton’s experience over her opponent’s. Bernie Sanders has “proved to be more formidable” than most would have anticipated and has managed to bring some key issues, including income inequality, to the forefront. In the end though he “does not have the breadth of experience or policy ideas that Mrs. Clinton offers.”

Clinton gives Democrats a chance to “present a vision for America that is radically different from the one that leading Republican candidates offer,” writes the board.

The paper made its endorsement as Iowa gets ready to hold the first nominating contest for the general election that will take place on Nov. 8. Last week, the Des Moines Register endorsed Clinton and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the 2016 campaign.