Last Sunday, Ohio Governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said that he does not have plans to run against President Donald Trump in 2020 and is “rooting for him to get it together.”
Less than a week later, reports have emerged that Kasich may team up with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in 2020 as independents with Kasich taking the top spot.
“The idea of a joint ticket has been discussed, but not at an organizational or planning level,” said the source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “What they are trying to show the country is that honorable people can disagree, but you can still problem solve together. It happens in businesses and it happens in families. Why can’t it happen in Washington?”
Axios learned these points about a possible run with “the Johns,” as those close to them call them:
- 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.
Kasich has done a lot this year that has kept his name in the spotlight. First off, he continues to appear on numerous political shows and does not hold back when he disagrees with Trump.
Second, earlier this year, Kasich released his book Two Paths: America Divided or United, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the 2016 presidential campaign and harsh words for Trump and failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
“And now we were looking on together in shock at some of the things Donald Trump was saying — indeed, at a lot of the things he was saying,” he wrote. “And it wasn’t just Donald Trump, mind you. There was enough bad behavior and unseemly rhetoric going around on those debate stages and at rallies across the country to suggest the death of civilized discourse and respectful discussions.
“Realize, too, that over on the Democratic side of the campaign, Hillary Clinton didn’t distinguish herself in this regard,” he wrote. “She wasn’t exactly taking the high road. She referred to half of Trump’s supporters as ‘a basket full of deplorables’ and started putting people down in order to make her point.
“I couldn’t look Karen and the girls in the eye and tell them I was for Clinton any more than I could have told them I was for Trump.”
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