Don't look now, but the 2020 presidential campaign has already started

76 days to go, right? Just 76 more days and then this endless death march of an election can be over. Then we can all pour ourselves a stiff drink, pass out for a week or so and get ready for the holidays with our families. But wait! Don’t make any long range plans just yet, campers. If the worst case scenario comes true and Hillary Clinton is elected, the 2020 GOP primary race may have already begun and it’s going to include some familiar faces.

First up at bat is Ohio Governor John Kasich. Having lost the battle to seize the nomination from Donald Trump, he’s probably out there stumping for the rest of the GOP ticket in November, right? Nope. He’s in New Hampshire, which should sound suspicious if you’ve been following American politics for more than five minutes. (Politico)

As the 2016 presidential race enters its final stages, John Kasich is preparing for the next one — in 2020.

This weekend, Kasich will make a foray to New Hampshire, a critical early primary state that plays a key role in the GOP nominating contest. It will be his first trip to the state since this year’s primary there, when Kasich finished second to Donald Trump. The Ohio governor essentially camped out in the state, promoting himself as the kind of independent-minded Republican who was in line with the state’s GOP electorate.

We’d hate to leave Governor Kasich hanging out in the wind by himself. He clearly needs some competition from a fresh face with some bold new ideas. How about… Marco Rubio? Sure, he’s running for reelection to the Senate seat he previously indicated he despised, but the WaPo notes that there’s a certain forward looking flavor to his campaign which sounds much more oriented to a White House bid.

Many others have concluded that there is an additional consideration: Rubio never stopped running for president and has his sights set on carrying his ideas into 2020 or beyond. Either way, there is a great deal at stake for the 45-year-old senator.

A win would serve notice to the GOP that he holds a formula for success in a battleground state, thrusting him back into the center of the fight to shape the future of the party. A loss would be the second in his home state in under a year — and would devastate if not end his political career.

The conventional wisdom indicates that if Rubio somehow manages to lose his Senate seat, that should be the end of the political road for him. But in the 21st century, why would we believe that? If anything, it would just give him more free time to campaign and fundraise for the next four years. After having invested so much energy and time into a White House bid, does anyone really believe that Rubio has simply cleared the idea from his mind?

Sadly, I don’t believe in government solutions to everything in American life or I’d be suggesting a new law which allows us to lock up anyone talking about presidential campaigns until at least December of 2018. (And that’s ridiculously early as it is.) But in the meantime, once we get past the elections in November, these guys can scratch me off their dance card for a while. I need a break from presidential politics.