Time for Carson, Kasich to drop out

Published 9:04 pm Saturday, February 27, 2016

Why is Ben Carson still in this thing? What about John Kasich?

Do they honestly think they have a chance of winning the Republican nomination? Do they realize that their continued presence in the race only makes Trump’s path to the nomination easier?

I have to assume that they both know that it’s highly unlikely that they can gather enough delegates to win the nomination. They are both smart men. So what is driving them to stay in?

Carson may have his eye on another goal — vice president.

“Without Ben Carson on the Republican ticket, either as our presidential nominee or even as our vice presidential nominee, the Democrats will win the White House and the America we love will disappear,” campaign manager John Philip Sousa wrote in a fundraising email Thursday. “Ben Carson is still the key to a Republican victory in 2016. Trump, Rubio and Cruz are all destined to lose in 2016 because without Ben Carson on the ticket, they will lose the African American vote.”

That makes some sense, but I’m not sure Carson ends up on anyone’s ticket as VP. Though he seems like a genuinely nice man and I’m sure very intelligent, he doesn’t exactly inspire. I’m also not certain he attracts large numbers of African-Americans simply because he is African-American.

Carson seems to be in the race for the right reasons, but his continued involvement works against the very values he would like to bring to the White House. Donald Trump is a lot of things, but conservative Christian doesn’t make the list. If Carson is hoping to bring his conservative values to D.C., dropping out and supporting Rubio or Cruz may be the best option.

Kasich may also be eyeing the vice presidency. And it’s possible both men are staying in the race in hopes of striking a deal with Rubio or Cruz. “Put me on the ticket as VP, and I’ll drop out of the race and support you,” seems like a logical deal for either man to make.

For Rubio and Cruz, it’s an interesting proposition. Both would love to pick up the small percentage of voters who support Carson and Kasich.

If that’s what’s happening, Carson or Kasich better play their hand quickly or it won’t matter. Should Trump dominate on Super Tuesday, it becomes very likely that he’s the Republican nominee. Should that happen, let’s hope he chooses a VP with some experience in government. I know much of the party is “anti-establishment” now, but there’s something to be said for the “establishment,” which really just means having experience. When did experience become a bad thing? Having experience at any job generally makes one better at actually doing the job.

The same goes for Rubio and Cruz. Neither have significant experience. One term in the Senate doesn’t count for much, especially when they’ve been running for president for some of it.

If forced to choose between Trump and the Democratic nominee, most likely Clinton, Republicans and some independents will choose Trump as the lesser of two evils. But it will be a sad day for this country — and the world — if Trump is elected.

Carson and Kasich have the ability to help keep that from happening. But it will take bowing out sooner rather than later.

Luke Horton is the publisher of The Daily Leader.