New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primaries not only jumpstarted Donald Trump’s momentum in the presidential race, they also introduced Ohio Gov. John Kasich as a strong contender for the GOP nomination.
While the real-estate mogul blew away his competitors by securing 35 percent of the vote, Kasich won the silver medal by getting about 16 percent. Since he has so far barely been a blip in the national polls, Kasich’s victory is rather surprising — especially because he seems to appeal to the demographic completely opposite to the one that voted for Trump.
Kasich's main support comes from the well-educated, as 22 percent of those with postgraduate degrees voted for him compared to just 9 percent of those with a high school diploma or less. Trump, on the other hand, found his ground among the less-educated, winning 45 percent of those who hadn’t gone beyond high school.
Kasich also turned out to be a more popular candidate among the electorate who wanted someone with political experience to be in the Oval Office. Of the 45 percent voters who were looking for an experienced candidate rather than an outsider, about 28 percent rallied to support Kasich.
Meanwhile, the controversial billionaire businessman won the 57 percent of the electorate who said they wanted a political outsider.
Moreover, of just a third of Republican voters who oppose Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., Kasich won about 27 percent support.
The Republican establishment remains fractured, which is helping Trump but stumping his opponents.
The Iowa caucuses made it look like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or maybe even Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would be the one to deliver Americans from Trump, but the New Hampshire primaries turned the entire situation on its head.
Cruz and Rubio’s failures can be attributed to their absurd rhetoric and robotic glitches, respectively, but the sudden rise of Kasich, who up until now was rather irrelevant, makes it look like the party is trying hard to find someone who can both overthrow Trump and not become much of a problem himself.
Granted, Kasich has a long way to go to overcome the phenomenon that is the reality television star , but as of right now, he is the only who seems capable of doing so.
Before Kasich, Cruz, Rubio or even Trump himself, Jeb Bush appeared to be the Republicans' heir-apparent. However, his lackluster campaign and equally flat personality pushed him below Trump in polls. But his fourth-place finish in New Hampshire is a sign of great momentum.
Perhaps, if Kasich doesn’t turn out to be the one to save the party from Trump, Bush might actually become the GOP’s last resort.