The John Weaver-led campaign strategy of John Kasich has at no point ever had any plan other than "win New Hampshire." Kasich did not accomplish that, or even come particularly close. In fact, Kasich got almost exactly the amount of support that the John Weaver-led Jon Huntsman campaign did in 2012, and Huntsman dropped out immediately following New Hampshire. However, with a more muddled (and crowded) field, Team Kasich has deluded themselves into believing that getting 16% of the vote in New Hampshire is a referendum to go forward.
Okay, fine. Kasich is going to move on in this campaign. I accept this as a reality of the insane world we live in now. What's Kasich's strategy? Where does he plan to make his next stand? South Carolina? Nevada? Some grouping of the Super Tuesday states? Nope. John Kasich is instead planting his flag in... Michigan.
COLUMBUS, Ohio—John Kasich and his allies are scurrying to ramp up his presidential campaign in South Carolina, but the Ohio governor is also looking farther along the campaign schedule as well.
Fresh off a strong second-place finish in New Hampshire, Kasich now must survive a string of tougher contests – including South Carolina, Nevada, and a string of southern state primaries – until he reaches friendlier Midwestern primaries such as Michigan and Ohio starting in early March.
* * *
Kasich has planned two days next week in Michigan -- a March 8 primary state that might be his first chance for a win. He also has a campaign stop planned for Virginia and a fundraiser in New York before returning to the Palmetto State for the home stretch.
The mind boggles. Here's the thing: you really can't expect Kasich to do well in any state until Michigan. He just has no base of support in any state until then. But if you're John Kasich, you have to sure as hell try, because if you string together a bunch of 5th and 6th place finishes all the way through Super Tuesday, this race is going to be over for you before Michigan ever occurs. Ask Rudy Guiliani how well it works to put off working for your next actual win for more than a month during primary season.
The Kasich campaign right now is like the dog that caught the car - except they didn't even catch the car, they just came unexpectedly close to catching the car and are pretending like they have the bumper in their teeth. Even still, they don't know what to do with the fake bumper that they don't actually have.