There have been rumors that Republican Governor John Kasich, of Ohio, has considered challenging President Trump in a primary for the 2020 Republican nomination. While that remains very unlikely as it would be silly to think Kasich could unseat a sitting president, there are now rumors floating about another possible bid. This time, Governor John Hickenlooper, Democrat from Colorado, is said to be considering joining Kasich in a bipartisan independent ticket for President to challenge President Trump.
The original source for this comes from Axios news:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) — “the Johns,” as insiders are calling them — have been making a flurry of joint appearances to talk about state-driven improvements to health care.
But Axios has learned that their duet is part of an alliance that’s gaining momentum toward a possible joint independent bid for president in 2020, likely with Kasich at the top of the ticket:
-The two, who got to know each other at conferences, plan to extend their joint platform from health care to two other hot policy areas: immigration and job creation.
-On health care (with a detailed plan to be released soon), the two have broadened their efforts to a bipartisan group that includes 11 governors.
-The Johns’ jobs plan will focus on the coming displacement from automation, with prescriptions that include trade, workforce training — and an optimistic and hopeful message, balanced with an honest admission that some jobs just aren’t coming back.
-The two are talking to major media companies about a possible podcast or cable show to continue cementing their brand. Their conversations would include politics, policy, and pop culture.
-In D.C. in early September, the two will hold a health-care conference that includes policy input from the American Enterprise Institute on the right and the Center for American Progress on the left.
-Kasich, who’s being advised by veteran consultant John Weaver, is keeping open all his options, including the possibility of primarying Trump in 2020.
-Nothing subtle about any of this: Kasich has urged Hickenlooper to visit New Hampshire.
-Both are 65 and both were born in the crucial electoral state of Pennsylvania, Kasich from the Pittsburgh side and Hickenlooper from the Philly side (corrected).
-Both are proud policy wonks, and their staffs are said to get along famously.
Why it matters: National Dems so far haven’t capitalized on Trump’s record unpopularity and obsession with his base. But this is a creative coupling that’ll get a ton of airtime, and maybe even traction.
A Kasich-Hickenlooper ticket is a tongue-twister, but it’s not the craziest idea I’ve ever heard. There is a large segment of the population yearning for some moderation, let’s call it the “pragmatic” voter block. They don’t like the extremes on the either side, and they don’t typically see issues as only one way or only the other way. Kasich made his inroads in 2016 by being the “adult” in the room, the “moderate voice” within the GOP field. He didn’t win much, but he was beloved at the time by national media, much in the way John McCain was back in 2000 as the “moderate” voice to George W. Bush. Of course, if Kasich were to have won the nomination, he would have been immediately tarred and feathered as the GOP nominee just like anyone else.
Hickenlooper has been a fairly centrist governor, though he did sign some stringent gun control laws which he has taken heat for in recent years. But, apparently Hickenlooper would be the Vice President of this operation so it might not matter much for some gun-owners.
The biggest problem is that this ticket would be an independent bid, which is almost assuredly doomed to fail before it begins. Donald Trump could have ditched the GOP in the midst of a bare-knuckle primary, but undoubtedly advisers told him he’d have almost zero chance outside a major party.
The high water mark in modern history was Ross Perot in 1992, who received almost 19% of the vote as an independent. That’s not enough to win, but it was enough to give Bill Clinton an easy victory. For Kasich-Hickenlooper to matter much, they’d need to break at least thirty percent to have a chance at preventing anyone from winning the Electoral College, resulting in the House of Representatives selecting a President.
The other thing to consider is that John Kasich may just be crazy enough to actually attempt it. There’s no hiding the fact that he loathes Donald Trump with a deep resentment. Furthermore, he also has a complex of being the “smartest guy in the room” and was dumbfounded during the primary that GOP voters were too stupid to select him. Add Hickenlooper to the mix and you have the appearance of a bipartisan ticket that could “get things done” in Washington.
The media coverage alone might justify the run since it will lead to plenty of face time and book deals down the road.
Maybe drop the last names and just ask people to “flush” the Washington gridlock down the “Johns” in 2020.