Cats for Kasich is the also-ran of the webosphere. Imagine a Facebook page that matches America’s ambivalence toward Gov. John Kasich – equal parts mocking and appreciative that he’s not Trump – and toss in a heavy handful of memes, and here we are. Started by two liberal Northwestern students, who consider Kasich’s presidency to be the least of the three evils (also known as the GOP race), Cats for Kasich hopes to draw attention to Kasich’s candidacy for president – even though he’s no longer in the running.
Blake Kolesa and Noah Erner, the founders of the Facebook page, said they don’t care that Kasich was ranked fourth in national polls behind Trump, Cruz and even Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race in March. Kolesa, a Bernie Sanders supporter and Weinberg freshman, said he thinks Kasich’s relatively more tolerant views on gay marriage and Medicaid expansions are a needed voice of reason in lieu of the increasing extremism of the right wing.
“His stances on abortion and other social issues, especially on welfare and entitlements, are a lot more conservative,” Kolesa said. “He’s the least extreme, and we need that.”
Kolesa and Erner said they recognize that Kasich’s path to the nomination was fanciful at best, but are preparing for the possibility that Trump won’t win the necessary number of delegates to win the GOP nomination. If it comes down to a brokered convention (which is still possible, albeit improbable, until Trump reaches 1,237 pledged delegates), convention politics could put Kasich on the ticket.
Although his nomination is unlikely, Cats for Kasich is the epitome of 2016 election politics. Erner believes that the particularly meme-heavy content of the page is a sign of how many young people are involved in this election cycle, and references the web-popularity of Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash, a Facebook page with over 50,000 likes, as one of the many pop-culture phenomena that connect younger voters to politics.
“Cats for Kasich is half a page for supporting Governor Kasich, and half a place to post memes both supporting and making fun of him,” Erner said.
Some Northwestern students don’t know what to make of the page. Weinberg sophomore Ben Weinberg said he initially thought that the page was a glitch in Facebook’s algorithm that highlights certain content for users.
“I know more people who support him or Cruz, but I don’t think he’s a viable candidate and I was wondering who messed up and thought I was a Kasich supporter,” he said.
Although Kasich only won one state before his campaign was suspended indefinitely on May 4, Kolesa said in an email he thinks the end of his campaign is “heartbreaking for many of us” and that they will still maintain the Facebook page.
“We'll likely adopt a bit more of an 'I told you so' kind of tone, but we're not sure how it will manifest itself yet,” Kolesa said.