Friday, February 23, 2018


Politico reports today that John Kasich is seriously considering a run for president in 2020:
John Kasich’s inner circle is gearing up for a possible presidential run in 2020....

And there’s one consideration driving their thinking perhaps more than any other: what some of his advisers consider the very real, maybe even likely, possibility that Trump doesn’t run again — by choice or not — or that the president becomes so politically hobbled by late next year that the political landscape fundamentally shifts in Kasich’s favor.

... his upcoming trip to Henniker, New Hampshire, will be his third to the state since he dropped out of the 2016 presidential contest.
I don't know what will happen to Trump between now and 2020, but I remain convinced that if he's alive and still in office, he'll run. He's extremely unlikely to have been removed from office by 2020, no matter what Robert Mueller discovers and now matter how well Democrats do in this year's midterms -- even if Trump is impeached, the likelihood that he'll be convicted by the Senate is infinitesimal, because it's mathematically impossible for Democrats to have 67 Senate seats after November. The tiny sliver of hope for a Senate conviction is that the Democrats could massively surpass even optimistic midterm expectations, in which case Republicans might run for the exits, concluding that they have to distance themselves from Trump to avoid the wrath of the voters. But even under those circumstances I think they'll hang tough, no matter what's discovered about Trump. (No, not even the pee tape will be enough to sink him -- his dalliances with a porn star and a Playboy model are barely having an impact.)

And he'll never quit voluntarily. What, and seem like a loser? It's unthinkable that he could bear that.

Even if he's out of office -- dead, impeached, jailed -- Republican voters will want a nominee who embodies Trump-style nastiness and hostility to the GOP's enemies. The most conventional figure they'll tolerate is Mike Pence, who could win favor as a man pledged to carrying on Trump's legacy. But if it's not Pence, it will be someone who angers liberals nearly as much as Trump does: Ted Cruz, Ted Nugent, Sheriff Clarke, who knows? But it won't be someone who, like Kasich, is branding himself as a healer.

But didn't Republicans choose conventional candidates in 2008 and 2012? Mitt Romney in 2012 was an angry, resentful man who clearly had a visceral hatred of Barack Obama and whose #1 promise was to curb-stomp Obamacare. In 2008, John McCain dug in his heels and fiercely defended the war liberals despised. Also note that the last men standing against McCain were Gingrich and Rick Santorum, while the candidate who hung on the longest against Trump was Cruz. GOP primary voters wanted own-the-libs candidates in those years, too. And they've only gotten angrier since then. If Trump has been felled by 2020, they'll be really angry.

The Politico story tells us that "Kasich has also heard from friends who see a real chance for him to become the first successful independent candidate," although there are doubts:
“I don’t think there’s an opening as an independent, and neither does he,” said [Kasick 2016 campaign adviser Charlie] Black, pointing to the filing fees and immense name recognition challenges that plague any non-major-party contender.
... Kasich’s team sees a path if Trump were matched up against someone it perceives to be too far left, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
I think an independent candidate who postures as both not-Trump and not-an-icky-lefty could theoretically win a surprising number of votes and eke out wins in some big states. Such a candidate would make the media swoon. (The "liberal" press will hate whoever the Democrats run in 2020, because the candidate probably won't be a bro or daddy.) Non-conservative voters who don't have strong political views might really be impressed. (A couple of my Boston relatives, both Democrats, had distrubingly positive things to say about Kasich in 2016.)

Kasich's problem is that the Kochs don't like him because he's not sufficiently hardline on Obamacare and unionized public-sector workers. Besides, the Kochs like Trump now -- he's doing just about everything they want. So Kasich will never be able to raise the money he needs for another race.

Give it up, John.

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