The real puppet masters behind Donald Trump |

The real puppet masters behind Donald Trump

I think on this April Fools’ Day that I have finally figured out the prank, which I daresay is one of the biggest pranks ever pulled on anyone anywhere. I’ve finally seen through the shenanigans and dissected the whole ridiculousness that is the 2016 Republican primary. It came to me just now, but I’m not sure why I didn’t get it a couple of months ago.

Back in early February, my son and I went to see my parents in Florida. At the end of the week, my father, a dying breed of rational conservative, and I talked a little politics as he drove us to the airport. We agreed that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were completely unelectable in a general election, but just before we pulled up at the curb, my father said, “What about John Kasich?”

I didn’t really know much about him, so I said, “I don’t know. I’d have to look into his policies if he becomes the nominee.”

That’s when I should have seen it — right then and there. That’s when I should have known who’s really behind Donald Trump.

It’s not the Clintons, although I thought for a while that it might be, and it’s not the Koch brothers, who may as well just change their names to Randolph and Mortimer. It’s the establishment Republicans, who are supposedly coming apart at the seams. They’re not in a panic. They’ve been pulling the strings all along, and Kasich is their guy.

Here’s what’s going to happen from here on out: Trump and Cruz will continue to distract everyone with their sideshow, and Cruz will win just enough delegates to keep Trump from securing the nomination. This will lead to a brokered convention, whatever that is, at which point everyone will come to their senses and, in a shocking upset, name Kasich as their nominee.

First there will be a gigantic, international sigh of relief that Crump and Truz are finally vanquished, and then there will be a global flood of media coverage as every network, news site and blog in the world attempts to answer the question, “Who is John Kasich?”

As I mentioned to my dad, I know jack squat about Kasich and don’t feel like looking him up yet, so all I can say is that I’m pretty sure he’s the governor of Ohio. I think people like him, and I think he’s pretty moderate. I do know that he’s the only Republican candidate who has acted like an adult thus far. He’ll probably be an acceptable compromise for both Trump fans and Cruz fans, who must on some level realize how quixotic their quests are.

I expect, should he win the nomination, that I will be force-fed lots more information about Kasich, and perhaps I’ll like what I hear. Perhaps I’ll like it enough to consider voting for Kasich over Hillary Clinton, who I genuinely don’t trust. It’s not a woman thing, as I’d happily vote for Elizabeth Warren, but something about Clinton just doesn’t sit right with me. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I’m also not a fan of political dynasties — the Clintons, Bushes and Kennedys. It just smacks too much of royalty, which I believe is absolutely antithetical to America’s mission statement. We ousted royalty in a big war a few centuries ago, remember? I’d almost consider voting for someone nondynastic just on principle.

So why does the Republican Party need Trump, who seems to be tearing the party apart? Good question. Right now, with all the spotlights focused on Trump and Cruz, no one knows anything about Kasich. When national attention final shifts to him, there won’t be much time for anyone to dig up a lot of dirt.

Everyone’s been talking so much about how this primary could be the death of the Republican Party, but by November, with Kasich as the party’s standard-bearer, will anything about the party really have changed?

On a whim, I just checked the results of hypothetical Kasich versus Clinton polls, and the past 17 in a row have Kasich beating Clinton in a general election. I imagine the powers that be in the Republican Party have known that all along.

It’s a brilliant piece of political legerdemain, I must admit — get everyone looking one way while you slip your guy in a different way. I just wish Trump would do everyone a favor today and admit he’s an April Fools’ joke.

Neither Kasich nor Clinton has ever defeated Todd Hartley in head-to-head polling. To read more or leave a comment, visit

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