For someone who professes no interest in a 2020 presidential run, Ohio Gov. John Kasich sure makes himself available as a Sunday morning-show regular to deny that he’s planning to challenge fellow Republican President Trump.
The 65-year-old Pennsylvania native is term-limited as the Buckeye State’s chief executive. So, as of January 2019 he’d be available for some kind of 2020 political activity.
Kasich’s frequent recent appearances around the country with — are you sitting down? — Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado to advocate healthcare reforms has prompted suspicions that the pair is planning some kind of unity presidential ticket in the next White House cycle.
Axios reported Friday that preliminary discussions between the two teams have already begun.
Chuck Todd asked about that on — Oh, look! — another Sunday show, NBC’s Meet the Press, with a guest named Kasich. “Look,” replied Kasich, “‘Kasich-Hickenlooper,’ first of all, you couldn’t pronounce it. And second of all, you couldn’t fit it on a bumper sticker.”
Take your pick, that sounds pretty much like a dodge or a waffle to avoid lying. “The answer is No!” Kasich added firmly. “OK?”
Such a third-party campaign would face almost insurmountable challenges, even if both men were wildly popular, which they aren’t. There’s this thing called money, which the two entrenched parties seem to have little trouble raising in trainloads every Leap Year.
And then there’s this political reality:
Kasich-Hickenlooperites would come overwhelmingly from anti-Trumpers. That’s the exact same crowd Democrats would be wooing. So, one sure way to guarantee a Trump reelect would be to divvy up those folks between supporters of the two Johns and whatever woman or minority that Dems end up nominating over on their distant end of the political spectrum.
But wait! There’s more. Kasich, you no doubt recall, was the last GOP challenger to abandon his hopeless fight to prevent the Trump party takeover last year. Kasich was so unhappy that even as the convention’s host-state governor, he declined to attend the Cleveland gathering.
Kasich is politically astute. “What the voters were telling us in this election,” he says, “was that they were angry, that they were feeling their lives were out of control, that there was a sense of helplessness and hopelessness in the heartland.”
Kasich still has unkind things to say about Trump. He lists many reasons for Trump’s shocking upset of what’s-her-name, including dishonest media and politicians.
“I saw Trump’s reckless entreaties as a weakening of our shared American values — even more so, a coarsening of our shared American values,” Kasich adds. “Donald Trump gave the impression of a man who would do or say anything to get attention, even incite a crowd to violence.”
Those quotes come from — wait for it — Kasich’s new book, “Two Paths: America Divided or United.” New books of political observations and philosophy have for many years been a precursor for most upcoming presidential campaigns. But that can’t be.