Progressive activists are signaling their opposition to former Gov. John Kasich’s (R-OH) expected appearance at next month’s Democratic National Convention to endorse Joe Biden.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Kasich, a high-profile intraparty critic of President Donald Trump, would appear at the convention to speak on behalf of the Democrat nominee. Kasich is purportedly only one of several prominent Republicans who will endorse and campaign for the former vice president ahead of November.
When news of the expected speech broke, progressives began voicing their opposition, with many suggesting the Democratic National Committee (DNC) would be wrong to give the former Ohio governor a platform. Some, like the cultural writer and essayist Michael Arceneaux, argued that allowing Kasich to speak at the convention would be “insulting,” given the governor has opposed a number of issues important to Democrats and progressives over the years.
“John Kasich is a man who signed a 20-week abortion ban and opposed anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws based on the notion we should ‘just get over it’ in the last GOP primary,” Arceneaux wrote on social media in response to the news. “To give him a platform at the Democratic convention because he’s anti-Trump is silly and insulting.”
John Kasich is a man who signed a 20-week abortion ban and opposed anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws based on the notion we should “just get over it” in the last GOP primary. To give him a platform at the Democratic convention because he’s anti-Trump is silly and insulting. https://t.co/V9bWGnvY4x
— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) July 20, 2020
Others were equally derisive of the idea of Kasich addressing Democrats at their national convention.
I'm sorry, could someone please explain to me why John Kasich is somehow going to be a speaker at the Democratic convention? I'm glad he supports Biden against Trump. But I don't see why he should get the platform. He is not a friend. https://t.co/joUUvMY3qN
— Shawna Roberts (@RobertsOhioD6) July 20, 2020
What does the Democratic Party even stand for? https://t.co/OFreFFu4ok
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) July 20, 2020
Let us not forget that Kasich is no ally to Democrats. This is just another attempt to boost himself. https://t.co/l1S1S9fHW7
— Aryeh Alex #WearAMask (@iAryeh) July 20, 2020
Some, like Candice Bernd, an editor at Truthout – a news site focused on social justice issues – even suggested that Kasich’s endorsement could potentially backfire on Biden’s attempts to unite Democrats behind his White House ambitions:
John Kasich speaking at the Democratic National Convention is not the anti-Trump signal Dems think it is. It’s proof that Joe Biden’s neoliberal, “centrist” politics are a viable option for Republicans, whose electoral support will actively shift the DNC even more to the right.
John Kasich speaking at the Democratic National Convention is not the anti-Trump signal Dems think it is. It's proof that Joe Biden's neoliberal, "centrist" politics are a viable option for Republicans, whose electoral support will actively shift the DNC even more to the right.
— Candice Bernd (@CandiceBernd) July 20, 2020
The response to Kasich’s likely endorsement of Biden underscores the issues still lingering from the primary campaign that the former vice president must contend with ahead of the general election.
Biden campaigned for his party’s nomination as an unabashed moderate, often willing to attack Sanders and other progressive rivals as pushing an unrealistic agenda. Most notably, this was the case with Medicare for All, the signature healthcare policy of the Sanders campaign.
Throughout the primaries, Biden railed against the plan, often accusing proponents of lying about its financial cost. Sanders, for his part, responded to such attacks by accusing the former vice president of parroting GOP talking points when lambasting the proposal. As such, Biden has struggled since winning the nomination to bring the most ardent of Sanders supporters into his camp, despite the Vermont senator’s endorsement.