The Trump message machine still has two major jobs to do in this election: Prove he's not crazy, and win back a handful of states the GOP has lost to the Democrats in recent elections. Trump is already riding a wave of strength connected to the fact that voters from all persuasions want big changes in Washington. He's clearly more of a "change" candidate than Clinton. But change means risk. So he needs to demonstrate that he's not too risky or nuts. Many of Trump's statements over the course of this campaign challenge the notion that he has it all together. Those statements have been well calculated and targeted to certain voters, but moderate independent voters are not in that target audience. The only way to bring some confidence to those potential supporters is to make a very solid running mate choice that almost no one would think inappropriate. The key is to choose someone like that who isn't a current member of Congress or a failed establishment Republican.
It's also important for Trump to start making some gains in electoral math. He needs to win back states like Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and even Colorado, and maybe Pennsylvania. I think Trump would love to choose someone who could help deliver the biggest electoral prize of all those states, Florida. But Rick Scott doesn't work and Senator Marco Rubio is extremely unpopular in the state now too.
Nope, the only person who really fits the "not crazy/electoral help" bill is Ohio Governor John Kasich. I know, I know, Kasich is still publicly saying he isn't sure he can support Trump. And he might seem a little too establishment too. But he's not a current member of that failed Congress. And my sources tell me Kasich has been angling for the VP spot for more than a month, and this public show of hesitation about supporting Trump may not be all that it appears to be. I can see this working out nicely from a messaging perspective as Kasich can play the role of representing the millions of voters Trump hopes will be "just like John," who acknowledge their misgivings about Trump but admit he begrudgingly won them over. This makes Trump look like a winner simply by getting Kasich to agree to come on board.
And while Kasich could not garner enough national support in his presidential campaign, he did still prove he's very popular in Ohio and could absolutely deliver the key state in November. He's also the one Republican in the race who earned the most public respect from the liberal news media and Democrats. He takes a lot of the "crazy" off the ticket right away.
And speaking of well-staged scenarios, remember the GOP convention is in Cleveland and anointing the home state favorite Kasich there would go over big with the local crowd.
Again, I don't know what Trump will do. But Kasich makes a lot of sense, based on Trump's strategy and current goals. But don't be surprised if a person none of us have even considered turns out to be his choice.