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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Editorial: Kasich and Clinton are only moderates left standing

Washington’s presidential primary isn’t until May 24, and voters have to pick a party to participate. Republicans will use the results to select delegates to their national convention. Democrats will caucus on Saturday to determine delegates.

It’s not an arrangement designed for high participation, which is unfortunate in a year in which interest runs extremely high, sometimes for the wrong reasons.

The raucous and often rude presidential campaign has left voters with two experienced, pragmatic leaders. In their respective contests, they are the moderate candidates, and they are our choices in the primary.

Hillary Clinton comes with more baggage than an airport carousel, but she is undeniably experienced on a variety of levels, as a U.S. senator, secretary of state and White House occupant for eight years.

A Clinton presidency would probably take on the look of her husband’s: a centrist Democrat yoked to a Republican-led Congress. She has a long track record in the Senate of working across the aisle, and though that’s no longer as common as it should be, it shows she’d rather get things done than engage in ideological showdowns.

Clinton’s pragmatism shows up on an issue like the minimum wage. Sanders wants a universal $15-an-hour minimum, from Manhattan to Moses Lake. Clinton notes, correctly, that it’s not appropriate, because of varying economic realities. Though she is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership – out of political expedience, we suppose – she has supported free trade in the past.

Sanders, meantime, peddles protectionism and other anti-business nostrums. His free tuition, universal health care and tax-the-rich proposals would be dead on arrival in Congress. Then what? Plus, he lacks Clinton’s foreign policy experience.

We are concerned with Clinton’s email issues. Though she may not have done enough to warrant an indictment, she showed poor judgment in using a private server.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the only reasonable choice left in a Republican field waylaid by ugly populism. He has resisted his opponents’ cynical appeals to anger and fear, but he hasn’t been rewarded at the polls.

The less said about Trump the better. He’s an act, not a serious candidate. He manipulates ignorance and bigotry and is an empty suit on policy. Sen. Ted Cruz rose to infamy as a leader of the detrimental federal government shutdown. He has no affirmative accomplishments. Lately, he’s tried to out-Trump Trump with comments about patrolling Muslim neighborhoods and shutting down mosques.

As governor of Ohio, Kasich has experience running government, and he’s done quite well. When in Congress, he was a budget and deficit hawk. He operates from the middle, which has been hollowed out politically in recent years.

Moderates are also being drowned out in this election, but they can still find their voice as they mark their ballots.

For Republicans, that means Kasich. For Democrats, it’s Clinton.