Opinion- Dear John Kasich: Go Away

Raghav Raj | Staff Writer

 On November 7, right after the Associated Press called the 2020 Presidential Election in favor of Joe Biden, former Ohio Governor (and current Biden surrogate) John Kasich went on CNN for an extended tirade against the progressive wing of the Democratic party. 

Kasich, a Republican, didn’t mince words. Amidst the calling for “fiscally conservative” austerity measures, he leveled some particularly absurd criticisms against the “far left.” He insisted that Democrats should’ve outright rejected calls for defunding police to appeal to voters in the middle, and even made the bold claim that “the far left almost cost [Biden] this election.”

That claim, like everything else Kasich said, is nonsense.

Especially in key states like Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, it’s hard to overstate how important left-wing organizing was to Biden’s success. The left embarked on dedicated efforts to bring out voters for Biden in swing-state Democratic strongholds like Minneapolis, Detroit, and Philadelphia, and the results speak for themselves.

Both Minneapolis and Detroit saw massive spikes in voter turnout, attributed largely to the aggressive campaigns of area representatives like Ilhan Omar (MN-5) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), both of whom pushed off primary challenges and continued calling, text-banking, and canvassing for Democrats down the ballot. And even while the city of Philadelphia itself decreased in turnout, progressives scored major wins in Pennsylvania’s House, and groups like Reclaim Philadelphia built a massive coalition of unions and campaigns that boosted turnout in suburbs that Biden flipped back from Trump, like Erie and Northampton.

By itself, this refusal by the Democratic party at large to acknowledge the left’s contributions to Biden’s victory — while also blaming them for centrist Democrats like Donna Shalala and Kendra Horn losing their seats in the House — is infuriating. But this sort of criticism from someone like Kasich, another Tea Party worm trying to elbow his way into the Democratic Party after having set the stage for demagogues like Trump? Utterly pathetic.

John Kasich, quite frankly, doesn’t deserve a seat at the table. He doesn’t get to speak ill on the Black and brown progressive organizers that delivered this victory to Biden. Not when his state of Ohio, which voted twice for Obama, remains safely red, unmoved from where it stood 4 years ago. And he doesn’t get to pitch a fit whenever people demand that the police be defunded. Not when he so eagerly defunded Planned Parenthood in his state, attacking an institution that actually helps women as opposed to murdering them while they sleep. 

Kasich is a man who, when he hasn’t been downright useless, has spent his entire career doing harm to the marginalized, vulnerable communities that came out in droves for Democrats this election. In no world should the Democrats be listening to him.