18 July 2016
Panorama Hotel Zagreb, afternoon of August 22, 2016
John Kasich smiles broadly at the gathered hundreds in the main ballroom. The American National Unity Republican Convention has come to order.
When he went through passport control at Frankfurt, Kasich told the inspector that he was going to Croatia for "Aamnurtz business." He had spent a few hours on the transatlantic flight thinking up this witty acronym, and thought it might get a few laughs, but the inspector just gave him a look that implied he was almost certainly a pedophile, and nobody else had shown any interest in it.
A large contingent of delegates here are Croatians - Kasich guesses that half of them lived in Chicago for some time but never bothered to get US citizenship - and they have been lobbying hard for Franjo Tudman as his running mate. Kasich had discussed this with a trusted advisor earlier in the day. "Franjo doesn't really speak English, and there are constitutional issues with him," the Ohio governor had said, "however, I'm aware of the potential for capturing some dyslexic black voters who think they're voting for Harriet TUBMAN's great-grandson." This advisor had been big on Susan Collins, but he seemed to have come around to a different view.
Before he quite realizes it, Kasich is talking. He loves warming up a crowd, and this is going to be better than anything those fanatics at Cleveland could put on.
".... and so, in the 240th year of America's proud history, I've come across an ocean like John Adams to seek the support of good men and women who care about my country--"
Govore hrvatski! an older woman shouts from the audience.
A deer-in-the-headlights look seizes him. Shit, Kasich thinks, did that last long enough for the cameras to capture? Actually, there are no cameras on him right now. He switches to his prepared native-language spiel.
Dame i gospodo, ja vas pitati za pomoć...
At 9:42 PM, on the fifth ballot, Jan Kasič is nominated for President. Still, Josip, the hotel manager and temporary party chairman, is flustered. The numbers on his PalmPilot don't lie. The vice-presidential vote has come to an exact tie. Knowing most of the delegates were really, really, looking forward to a smoking break, he announces in a subdued voice, "For Vice President: 141 votes for Franjo Tudman, 141 for Ted Cruz--" Some cries of disbelief are heard. "--93 for Marco Rubio, and 1 for (he stumbles a bit over this one) Susanna Collinz."