Kasich: Count me out of the third-party run sweepstakes

First Mark Cuban turned down the entreaties to run as an independent candidate against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton because there’s not enough time to compete. Now John Kasich has bowed out as well after getting “a phone call” trying to convince him to sign up, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper that such an effort would not be “constructive.” Who’s next on the PUMA-go-round? Mitt Romney, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo-oo-oo:

“I think that I gave it my best where I am and I just think running third-party doesn’t feel right,” Kasich said in an interview on CNN scheduled to air Monday night.

“I think it’s not constructive.”

Kasich said he had a phone call with someone who wanted him to consider running as a third-party candidate, but declined to say who he spoke with during the interview.

In a strange way, Kasich may have been the one candidate who might have made this work — assuming a number of low-percentage outcomes, that is. If Donald Trump could flip Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada from the 2012 Electoral College map without losing any other states, that would give Hillary Clinton only 269 EC votes – one shy of the majority needed to win the election. That would give Kasich an opportunity to hold Ohio, a state in which Kasich has never lost an election. That would send the election to the House of Representatives, which could then elect Kasich as president. Voilá! The indie bid would have its prize.

Don’t get too disappointed that the above scenario never got a chance to play out. While Kasich is probably the only outsider under consideration that had a prayer of getting any EC votes, he still would have faced steep odds in Ohio even in a three-way race. Trump might have a better chance to flip Iowa, New Hampshire, and maybe Nevada, but he faces some likelihood of losing in North Carolina, which Romney only barely held as massive influxes of young voters from other parts of the country push the state toward Democrats. And it’s far from clear that Trump will fare any better than Romney in Florida, especially with the hurdles he faces in the key I-4 Corridor with Hispanic voters. And with Kasich splitting the Right in Florida, North Carolina, and Indiana, for instance, it’s even less likely that Trump could flip key states back — or even hold onto the states Romney won.

Kasich’s correct — this is not a constructive idea, or even a concept with any remote chance of succeeding in anything than a Hillary Clinton presidency and a weakened GOP in Congress. For those who wish to deal with the issues of Trump’s ascendancy, shoring up the Republican efforts to hold Capitol Hill would be a far more productive use of both time and resources.

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David Strom 3:21 PM on March 24, 2023