The Republican party establishment, desperate to prevent Donald Trump from walking away with the presidential nomination, has repeatedly asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich to leave the race. But Kasich, despite his mostly lackluster performance, says he has a stash of secret support from a large and important constituency and he doesn’t want to see that bloc of voters left without a champion.
“I owe it to Rush fans all over the United States to stay in the race and make sure their values are represented on the campaign trail and reflected in the party platform when the Republicans meet in July for the convention—which, by the way, is in my home state,” says Kasich.
The Republican party convention is July 18-21 in Cleveland.
To the uninitiated, “Rush” might seen to refer to the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, but in fact it refers to the progressive rock trio who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland two years ago. The band has been called the world’s largest cult band because of the intensity of its fan base around the world, and Kasich counts himself among them. “I know that every Rush fan in America is voting for me, because I share their love of Rush’s music,” Kasich says. “Unfortunately, while there are a lot of Rush voters, there doesn’t seem to be quite enough to help me win a primary, or even come in second outside of New Hampshire, but I’ll keep plugging away because Rush fans deserve a candidate of their own.”
Kasich has said he would feel less pressure to stay in the race if Rand Paul were still running for the nomination. The Kentucky senator is an even bigger Rush fan than Kasich, but he left the race in February because of weak support. At the time of his exit, he said he was comfortable leaving because he knew Kasich was in the race to protect his Rush voters. “As sad as I am to leave,” he said at the time, “I know Rush fans will still be well represented thanks to my good friend John Kasich.”
Rush is a long-time favorite of many on the ideological right because of its early interest in libertarianism. Several of its albums from the 1970s, including Fly By Night and 2112, explored libertarian themes and for a while the band’s drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart, credited Objectivist Ayn Rand with inspiring some of his ideas. Peart has since said Ayn Rand was just a passing fancy, but he continues to describe himself as a “bleeding-heart libertarian,” which means he likes policies that protect individualistic ideals: self-reliance, free of government interference, including on the social-values side. But as a “bleeding-heart” libertarian, he believes in a safety net for the least advantaged.
Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, has promised to protect Rush voters should Kasich get out of the race. “Look, we love self-reliance in the Republican party,” he says. “Of course, we won’t be able to accommodate everything Rush stands for, like separation of church and state, marriage and gender equality, and other liberal social values. And the safety net has to go. But no one ever gets everything they want.”
Priebus says time is running out. “Trump is going to take this thing if John stays in the race,” he says. “We need to get as many voters—and that includes Rush voters—into the Rubio camp.”
But Kasich isn’t convinced. “I’m sorry, but Marco wouldn’t know “Tom Sawyer” from Mike Huckabee,” he says. “If he’s the Republican’s last, best choice, I must stay in the race all the way to the convention. I know Rush voters will be there for me and help put me over the top.”
Kasich won’t be able to count on the members of Rush voting for him, though. They’re Canadian.
* Editor’s note: Neil Peart holds dual U.S.-Canada citizenship now and lives in California.
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified) cjt (Creative Commons and public domain). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
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