Negativity dominates the GOP primary campaign

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The New York Times’ Sunday editorial endorsement in this year’s Republican Party primary campaign illustrates quite graphically the nature of this election cycle.

It took the Times six paragraphs to mention the candidate the paper prefers to win the Republican nomination this year.

That would be Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich’s name got mentioned for the first time in the sixth paragraph after the Times spent the first five lengthy paragraphs trashing the frontrunners for the party’s nomination fight.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz took broadside after (deserved) broadside from the Times editorial board.

When the paper’s editors got down to Kasich, they extolled his virtue as a proven government executive and a legislator with a record of accomplishment.

I happen to agree with the Times’ assessment of Kasich . . . and of Trump and Cruz. The Times did manage a few words of encouragement regarding Kasich, declaring: “Still, as a veteran of partisan fights and bipartisan deals during nearly two decades in the House, he has been capable of compromise and believes in the ability of government to improve lives.”

The Times didn’t mention it, but I have noted before that in my view, Kasich’s main selling point is his work with the Democrats in Congress and with the Democrat in the White House — President Bill Clinton — to balance the federal budget in the late 1990s. It is fair to suggest that Gov. Kasich could bring that good will with him were he to become the next president of the United States.

But the nature of this entire Republican campaign has been one of extreme negativity. The leader of the naysaying chorus, of course, is Donald Trump himself.

And as the tone of the Times’ editorial suggests, he has succeeded in taking the media down that path right along with him.

 

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