Commentary: Only Kasich can save GOP

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Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich, speaks about his Super Tuesday primary results following a Central Mississippi Republican Party fund raising dinner in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

By Andrew Schaum

I stayed home sick from work Wednesday morning. Sick of the possibility of President Donald J. Trump.

I awoke at 4 a.m., unable to get back to sleep, stumbled down the stairs, made some coffee, and went searching for the newspaper outside in the dark. I had hoped to read that common sense finally prevailed. I was wrong.

Trump continued his dominance and many now view him as the presumptive Republican nominee. Come on, people, this charade has gone on far too long. It is time to derail his candidacy.

Early in the Republican race, Trump brought some comic relief to the show. His ability to speak openly and honestly was refreshing to some, especially those looking for easy answers. But governing is serious business. The president of the United States is the most powerful position in the world.

Like many people, I fully expected the Republican Party would have found a way to take him out by now. It has failed. The party I joined is a complete and total mess.

I don't know if a Trump nomination would destroy the party. I do know the party lost its way long ago. It abandoned its core beliefs and allowed conservatives to have their way in inappropriately steering the party further right. Right off track, I believe.

The American people are sick and tired of politics as usual. With Trump's candidacy, people are voting their frustrations. But he is not the solution to the problems we face.

I don't like name-calling and attaching labels to people. Trump relishes in this. But he's the one we must define. We all must understand him and his motivations. He is an egomaniacal con man. Others have gone much further in the analysis, but I think my version sums him up.

He is a masterful manipulator. He saw an opportunity and has perfectly played the angry and disenfranchised Republican primary voters like a fiddle at a country fair.

This is not reality television, though Trump has perfected that art form. He also knows a thing or two about how to use bankruptcy very effectively as a business tool. Instead of being embarrassed by his missteps, he brags about his transgressions as if he did something noteworthy.

The citizens of this great nation face the ever-growing possibility that they will be forced to choose between the ultimate insider, Hilary Clinton, and the ultimate outsider, Trump. That troubles me. I don't want to choose between the lesser of two evils. If that is where we end up, I will definitely vote for Clinton.

I state this, in part, as a warning to all Republican leaders and strategists. They seem to have no clue right now. Rob Gleason, the Republican state chairman, has been quoted as saying "There's all this negativity about Donald Trump. I think it's misplaced. I'm not a bit concerned." Gleason doesn't get it.

A Trump nomination will cause most moderate Republicans to vote for the former secretary of state. She would be far less risky in office. The safety and security of our nation is more important than anything else.

At this point, the most logical and sensible thing for Republicans to do would be to rally behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich. This should have been done months ago, but I believe it is still not too late.

Kasich is clearly the most qualified candidate in the Republican field. He has held elected offices in Congress and his home state, and has gotten things done. He had to dig deep and learn issues, navigating difficult processes to forge compromises. That is the business of public service: working well with others to arrive at sensible policies that promote the best interests of our nation.

During the caucuses and primaries, Kasich is the only candidate who has conducted himself in a manner that is worthy of our respect and trust. He has stayed above the fray and tried to stick to the issues.

If the party gets behind Sen. Ted Cruz and he manages to get the nomination, he will lose the election to Clinton. Most people in this country are not conservatives. Although their views are listened to and carry a lot of weight within the Republican Party, conservatives do not resonate with most folks across our land.

With Trump's lead, it might be too late for Republicans to rally around Kasich, who would give the GOP a chance of winning in November. Nevertheless, I am waiting on that miracle.

Andrew Schaum is a lawyer and nonprofit consultant living in West Chester. aschaum@comcast.net