SALENA ZITO: Trump’s not the reason the GOP sputtered in Ohio.
Both Ohio and Pennsylvania represent the new coalition of Trump voters — Rust Belt states that were expected to swing blue in 2016 but in fact went for the unorthodox billionaire who promised to “Make America Great Again.”
So why, two years later, is the GOP having so much trouble connecting with these people? Is it Trump? The party establishment?
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Balderson’s weak showing was a referendum on the president. “Voters here sent a message to the Republicans to knock it off,” Kasich told CBS News last week. “Stop the chaos, the division, no more of this family separation that we see at the border or taking people’s health care away. I think [people] have . . . basically had enough and they’re sending a message to the Republicans, including the Republican in the White House . . . This district is so Republican, there should never even have been an election here. And it was so close and — in one of the counties that’s so solidly Republican — where a Republican would normally win by 70 percent, it broke basically 50-50.”
But Kasich, who hasn’t yet ruled out a run for president in 2020, has got the wrong end of the stick. The GOP’s problem isn’t its president. The problem is its message.
Trump is the sun around which the solar system of American politics operates. You can’t outshine him.
And his base is solid.
I’d missed this one over a weekend long on chores and entertaining, but it’s still germane and you’ll want to read the whole thing.