The Kasich Conundrum

How one of America's most Christian candidates became the most offensive.
The Kasich Conundrum
Image: Associated Press

A knowing, self-aware laughter came over the crowd at the Q Conference in April. Gabe Lyons, the founder of Q, revealed the survey results of conference attendees to show that among the five remaining presidential candidates it was John Kasich who took the plurality of the vote. It was not even close. Among the more than 1,000 evangelical leaders at the event, Kasich received 49 percent of their support. Ted Cruz came a distant second at 18 percent, and Hillary Clinton garnered 16 percent. Donald Trump had the support of only 2 percent of attendees. It is eerie to read these survey results from the Q Conference in light of the recent developments in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. After a resounding victory for Trump in Indiana, Cruz has dropped out of the race, and Kasich suspended his own candidacy yesterday, leaving Trump as the Republicans’ presumptive nominee.

This moment is ironically symbolic of the 2016 GOP presidential race and of Kasich’s campaign in particular. The vast majority of Americans chose not to vote for a politician precisely because of the very characteristics that many evangelicals, like those at Q, like about him.

At a time when incivility is perceived as courage, and a lack of anger equated to a lack of understanding, Kasich is the odd man out.

In this upside-down presidential election, Kasich was the most offensive candidate running.

How so? His faith hurt him more than it helped. Laura Ortberg Turner described this dynamic in an article in Politico, “How Kasich’s Religion is Hurting Him with Conservatives.” Kasich is a member of the Anglican Church of North America, formed following a split with the Episcopal Church over divisions regarding biblical ...

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