BLUFFTON, S.C. – Ohio Gov. John Kasich told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that it is “kind of hard for me to believe” Donald Trump will ever become president and said he remains confident a positive message and hard work will ultimately resonate with voters.
“I think the ground game, the town halls, you know, raising money, having a positive message. I just believe it's going to work and I keep chugging right along,” Kasich told Matthews in an interview Wednesday.
Kasich’s campaign received a jolt after his strong second-place finish in New Hampshire. He is now campaigning hard in South Carolina ahead of the state’s Republican primary on Saturday, though he faces a tough challenge in deep red South Carolina, where most polls have him sitting in fifth place.
Still, the Buckeye State governor is holding out hope for another surprise.
In a presidential race dominated by angst on both sides, with Trump and Bernie Sanders tapping into the frustrations of Republican and Democratic voters respectively, Kasich says he doesn’t see those feelings on the campaign trail.
“You know how they say there's all this anger and all this -- I don't find it out there,” Kasich said.
When Matthews asked him about whether he notices fear in the American electorate, Kasich told him, “I think there are people that are very nervous about Trump and there are people that, you know, Bernie says he's a socialist, so you know, people don't like socialists. And with Hillary [Clinton], you know, her problem is people don't trust her.”
And on the latest issue to dominate the campaign -- how or when a nominee will be selected to replace the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- Kasich has said he thinks President Obama should delay the nomination and allow the next president to choose a replacement to get the public more involved in the choice.
He told Matthews on Wednesday that he sees no hope for any of President Obama’s nominees to make it through the Senate because of the current climate in Washington, D.C.
“There’s no likelihood that this is going to happen, that anybody is going to get confirmed,” Kasich said. “If you had a president who had pulled people together and a Congress who had been brought in through the -- you know, through the efforts of a president to bring people together, you would have a better chance. And so I think -- now things are too polarized. Now he's going to send somebody up there not be confirmed and we're going to have an election and whoever wins is going -- not only be present, but decide what the fundamental makeup of the court is.”
Kasich regularly points out that he has appointed more than 100 judges in Ohio, and he acknowledged that he might not always be on the same page on every single point from one of his potential nominees.
“Sometimes, I'm going to agree and sometimes I'm going to disagree,” he said Wednesday. “But I'm not going to run the court, I'm just going to pick a judge, and I'm going to pick a judge who is fundamentally conservative, high ethics, good character and a decent record.”