John Kasich searches for his place in the GOP

“The congressional wing is handcuffed to Trump; it’s afraid of being targeted by his tweets,” Weaver lamented to me. “It’s happy with the Stockholm syndrome … The congressional wing has to be burned to the ground.”

The anti-Trump conservative commentariat—a loose affiliation of critics that features Max Boot, David Frum, Michael Gerson, William Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, Peter Wehner, and Rick Wilson—is similarly withering about the congressional GOP and the party’s Trumpist trajectory. Rubin recently observed, “The Trump sycophants, every bit as incoherent and bullying as the president, run the place.” But unlike Kasich, they’re not hunting for an electoral niche.

If Kasich were to challenge Trump in 2020 primaries, grassroots conservatives would resurrect his failed litmus tests. He has voiced support for giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. As Ohio’s governor, he expanded the reach of Obamacare under the Medicaid program, and he has told his conservative attackers that he wanted to make “real improvement in people’s lives.”