Ohio’s term-limited, lame-duck governor John Kasich may go to bed each night counting his Electoral College sheep now that his new bromance with Colorado’s likewise term-limited Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper on healthcare is fresh fodder for media that fantasizes about a viable alternative in 2020 to major party candidates.
Kasich, whose flim-flame career as a hard-right Republican who misunderstands most of today’s major fiscal and social issues, is hoping beyond hope that his forced retirement into a shadowy world where holding no political office is a weakness and not a strength will help him catch fire as 2020 draws closer.
When the Great Reformer looks past next year, political pundits also fantasize about whether Kasich’s new odd-couple bromance with Hickenlooper can be sustained and sculpted into a winning third-party ticket that can defeat President Donald Trump, should he still be president in 2020, or against a Democratic ticket led by Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders or Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren or even New Jersey U.S. Sen. Corey Booker.
“KasichLooper,” the nickname given to the Ohio-Colorado duo, might sound good today, but some experts say it’s lots of sound and fury signifying nothing. Nate Silver, among America’s top election gurus despite his wrong call on Trump last year, engages others in speculation of “KasichLooper” and whether it has any legs or represents media elites masturbating to a relationship that on every level doesn’t stand a chance to catch fire and do what every other third-party effort in modern times has failed to do, win the White House.
In a discussion at Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog titled “Can A Third-Party Ticket Win In 2020?” the discussion leads to the inevitable conclusions that a “KasichLooper” ticket would get crushed for many reasons, not the least of which is that, for all the talk of unity, American voters are firmly lodged in their own party’s ideology, and will pick candidates who lineup accordingly.
The only example in modern times of a third-party candidate doing well was when Texas billionaire Ross Perot won 18 percent of the vote in 1992, which resulted in an impressive finish that helped Bill Clinton win the presidency with less than 50 percent of the vote.
The theory behind a KASICHLOOPER bid in 2020 is that what the country really wants is moderation, right?
harry: It’s that they want a certain type of moderation, yeah.
clare.malone: See, my problem is that I think the country is extremist on all fronts right now. I disagree with that theory.
The majority of the voting public has huddled into their partisan corners over the past two years. It’s a bit wild to assert they’re looking for moderation. They’re looking for their side to win.
perry: Kasich is a moderate in tone. But I don’t see many Democrats voting for him, since he is fairly conservative on issues. I don’t think Kasich is where the center of the electorate is. A Joe-Manchin-type (liberal on size of government, conservative on culture) might be more where the voters are.
Regardless of Kasich’s terrible record over his two terms as evidenced by Ohio’s low ranking in critical areas, bet on national and state media continuing to regurgitate Kasich’s misbegotten mantra that he can bring people together around issues that have split the nation, like the proverbial baby, in half.
If Kasich had a solid record of bringing people together to overcome common enemies, Ohio would be the a stellar example of him accepting ideas long championed by Democrats, including but not limited to supporting unions, Medicare for all, making public schools the best they can be and declaring a state emergency based on Ohio leading the national in deaths from opioid overdoses.
Unfortunately, Gov. Kasich has played the autocrat role with perfect panache, stiff-arming the media when it suits him, not consulting otherwise popular partners before his policies harm them, writing books on state time that promote himself then abusing taxpayers who pay for a large part of the governor’s personal political ambitions as he traipses around the nation on his odyssey for a balanced federal budget, or reining in the national debt with promises to reform earned-benefit programs like Social Security by short-changing Baby Boomers.
“KasichLooper” is doomed for many reasons beyond Kasich’s dismissive joke that his bromance with Hickenlooper isn’t viable because it won’t fit on a bumper sticker.