Remember John Kasich? He’s the Ohio Republican governor who refused to attend his party’s national convention there last year because you-know-who was the nominee.
Kasich was the last one standing of the 16 other GOP members who offered themselves for the White House during the party’s brutal 2015-16 primary campaign and were turned down by Republican voters in state after state. He’s remained a vocal opponent of the president.
Well, Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, the 65-year-old Pennsylvania native said he just might have to leave the party of Lincoln because under the leadership of you-know-who the party is broken.
“If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party. Period,” Kasich said. “That’s the end of it.”
Kasich is in his second and final term as Buckeye governor. That means that — hypothetically, mind you — he’d be in position come January 2019 to mount a political challenge to you-know-who for the 2020 GOP nomination.
Such a challenge would require a considerable amount of you-know-what. It would also require a party disaffected with its leadership and congressional wing. But that could be developing as gaps widen within the party.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that barely 51% of Republicans are satisfied with GOP leadership while only 27% of Trump supporters are. (Are you listening, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan?)
Kasich said he’s committed for now to steer the party back from its current nationalist direction. “I want this party to be straightened out,” he declared.
“If the Republican Party is going to be anti-immigration,” Kasich said, “if it’s not going to be worried about debt, if it’s going to be anti-trade, this is not where our party can be.”
Kasich echoed many critics of the Democrat party which spends most of its time criticizing the president and not offering policy alternatives. He suggested that party, like his own, is moving too far to the fringes. Kasich said he has “no idea what the Democrats are for.” He’s not alone.
“What I’m trying to do,” Kasich added, “is struggle for the soul of the Republican Party the way that I see it. And I have a right to define it. But I’m not going to support people who are dividers.”
He said, for instance, he opposes congressional efforts to repeal Obamacare and could not support Roy Moore, winner of last week’s GOP Senate primary in Alabama.
Kasich has been working publicly with Colorado’s Democrat Gov John Hickenlooper on bipartisan policy proposals, but denies they are planning some kind of unity ticket in 2020.
“I’m worried about our country and my kids’ future,” Kasich told Jake Tapper. “But have I given up? Of course not.”