John Kasich is making a simple pitch: He’s different. Without naming Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, he delivered an extensive attack against their policies in a speech in Manhattan on Tuesday, arguing that voters are faced with two paths in the presidential elections. One is with Kasich; the other could “drive America down into a ditch and not make us great again.”
At this point in the race, the Ohio governor stands little chance of securing the Republican nomination for president. But Kasich, always the optimist, appeared confident. He seems to be hoping for renewed relevance in the upcoming Northeastern primaries. Ahead of the New York primary on April 19, where polls show him slightly ahead of Cruz, Kasich is campaigning in the state in hopes of coming in second.
On Tuesday, the governor’s remarks threaded together arguments he’s previously made in town-hall-style events—a kind of super stump speech specifically tailored to his opponents. “We have heard proposals to create a religious test for immigration, to target neighborhoods for surveillance, impose draconian tariffs which would crush trade and destroy American jobs,” Kasich said. “We have heard proposals to drop out of NATO, abandon Europe to Russia, possibly use nuclear weapons in Europe, end our defense partnerships in Asia, and tell our Middle East allies that they have to go it alone. We have been offered hollow promises to impose a value-added tax, balance budgets through simple and whimsical cuts in ‘waste, fraud, and abuse.’”