The Donald Trump White House
Donald Trump's White House, as envisioned by President Obama (Courtesy of C-SPAN)

Real estate mogul and real­i­ty TV star Don­ald Trump clinched the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion on Wednes­day as his last remain­ing rival, Ohio Gov­er­nor John Kasich, dropped out of the race, hav­ing con­clud­ed that there was no path to vic­to­ry at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleveland.

Kasich began his press con­fer­ence by wax­ing nos­tal­gic about his cam­paign, thank­ing his wife, his chil­dren, his cam­paign man­ag­er, advis­ers, and vol­un­teers, as well as rec­ol­lect­ing mem­o­ries from the cam­paign trail.

“We were nev­er, ever daunt­ed,” Kasich said, hail­ing his staff’s efforts. “We just got up every day and did the best we can.”

He then pro­ceed­ed to lav­ish praise on his con­stituents in Ohio before fond­ly recall­ing a few more mem­o­ries from the cam­paign trail (in South Dako­ta, in New Hamp­shire, in New York, in Michi­gan) and crit­i­ciz­ing the mass media for not under­stand­ing him or his rea­sons for run­ning for President.

“As I sus­pend my cam­paign today, I have renewed faith that the Lord will show me the way for­ward,” he said before con­clud­ing his remarks and walk­ing away.

Kasich’s exit leaves Don­ald Trump as the last can­di­date stand­ing in what was orig­i­nal­ly a crowd­ed, sev­en­teen per­son field con­tend­ing for the nom­i­na­tion. Now the anti-Trump forces with­in the Repub­li­can Par­ty are with­out a can­di­date. They have failed in their mis­sion. Their par­ty is now Trump’s party.

Less than twen­ty-four hours ago, in the wake of the Indi­ana Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, Ted Cruz also quit the race, lead­ing Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Preibus to tweet that Trump was “the pre­sump­tive nominee”.

The tim­ing of Cruz and Kasich’s announce­ments could not have come at a worse time for the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty. The end of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial con­test comes just as bal­lots are being mailed out for Wash­ing­ton State’s May 24th pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry. WSRP Chair Susan Hutchi­son and her sur­ro­gates had been look­ing for­ward for months to a com­pet­i­tive primary.

Now, there won’t be one. Peo­ple can still cast their bal­lots, of course, but the nation­al media spot­light isn’t going to be com­ing to Wash­ing­ton in advance of May 24th. Ted Cruz and John Kasich won’t be com­ing here to raise mon­ey, cam­paign, or ral­ly sup­port­ers. Trump does­n’t need to show up in Wash­ing­ton or Ore­gon, either… he’s now the pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee and the last can­di­date left standing.

With the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion now pret­ty much a fore­gone con­clu­sion, many of the vot­ers the WSRP had been hop­ing would turn out to par­tic­i­pate in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry may sim­ply neglect to return their ballots.

On the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side, there are still two can­di­dates, but Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats opt­ed last year to use cau­cus­es to allo­cate all of their nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates, so Wash­ing­ton’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry will wind up being a com­plete­ly mean­ing­less, eleven and a half mil­lion dol­lar straw poll.

To all of the con­ser­v­a­tive intel­lec­tu­als and prin­ci­pled right wing activists who had joined forces to oppose Trump, this is a pret­ty awful moment. They had vowed nev­er to allow their par­ty to nom­i­nate Don­ald Trump, but they failed. The 2016 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land is going to be a Trumpfest.

Repub­li­cans who oppose Trump are left with two unpalat­able, dis­taste­ful choic­es: join the band­wag­on, or with­hold their sup­port from their own par­ty’s pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee. Some view Hillary Clin­ton is the less­er of two evils, and seem pre­pared to vote for her in the event of a Trump/Clinton matchup.

For Wash­ing­ton Repub­li­cans, Trump’s pres­ence on the top of the tick­et this autumn could be dis­as­trous. Repub­li­cans, des­per­ate­ly hun­gry for pow­er, hope to win majori­ties in both hous­es of the Leg­is­la­ture this year. All of their can­di­dates will now have to run in the shad­ow of Don­ald Trump, who will increas­ing­ly define the Repub­li­can brand and what it means to be a Republican.

2016 may well be a Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave elec­tion with sig­nif­i­cant down­bal­lot effects. It could also be some­thing else… we can’t be sure what the future holds.

Research shows that pret­ty much every­thing Trump stands for is dis­taste­ful to a major­i­ty of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans. When it comes to pres­i­den­tial con­tests, Wash­ing­ton is firm­ly in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­umn. It has­n’t award­ed its elec­toral votes to a Repub­li­can in over thir­ty years. George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Rom­ney all lost Wash­ing­ton to their Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nents. And in recent cycles, Democ­rats have cleaned up in statewide races.

The only Repub­li­can left in the exec­u­tive depart­ment is Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman, and Democ­rats are seek­ing to replace her with Tina Pod­lodows­ki this autumn. Pod­lodowski’s can­di­da­cy has been extreme­ly well received in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, and she’s get­ting ear­ly endorse­ments from all over. Repub­li­cans view Pod­lodows­ki as a huge threat and are try­ing to raise $1 mil­lion for Wyman to defend the last statewide office they hold on the Left Coast.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “Donald Trump clinches the Republican nomination as John Kasich quits campaign”

  1. Well, that’s that. The Repub­li­can Par­ty has com­plet­ed its wild descent off the edge of a cliff. 

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