I was scrolling through some morning shows on Sunday and stopped when I saw a familiar face I had forgotten about. There was John Kasich live on CNN from the Munich Security Summit.
Election 2020 was still on my brain from a discussion I had earlier in the week about Mark Cuban. An idea crossed my mind. So I reached out to my left-leaning political expert in Phoenix to get his thoughts. We were in lockstep agreement. And then I turned to a right-leaning friend in Seattle. And he agreed with me as well. Once is an occurrence, two times coincidence, three times a trend.
Here’s what we were thinking. John Kasich will run against Trump for the 2020 Republican Nomination. This is why it’ll happen and why he’ll win.
- It doesn’t happen often, but it’s not unheard of in years when the sitting president seems vulnerable in the General Election. In 1976 Reagan ran against Ford in the Republican primaries. In 1980 Ted Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter in the Democratic primaries. In 1992 Pat Buchanan challenged H.W. Bush. Each sitting President survived his primary but lost the election to a challenger from another party.
- It’s unlikely any GOP Senators and Representatives will challenge a sitting President of their own party. Running as an outsider is one thing. Dividing your own Congress – when you already have a majority – is not a smart political move. Kasich is a Governor. He has nothing to lose by challenging for the nomination.
- His liabilities in a 12 person race are minimized in a 2 person race. For all his strengths, charisma is not one of them. And while Cruz and Trump were trying to out-nasty each other, Kasich became an afterthought. He could not get enough attention in a wild and crazy circus. He was like the smart guy at a party where people were doing kegstands and jump off roofs into pools. No one notices the smart guy. But in a race against Trump, the narrative changes. It’s now Good vs Evil and he’s the super hero wearing the cape. He gets to own the “anti-Trump” side of the Republican Party just for being able to breathe. Then he has a puncher’s chance at going after Trump voters because…
- The people in the states where won Trump the Presidency will either be richer or poorer than when they voted before. If they’re poorer, they’ll switch in a heartbeat. They will have no allegiance if their situation is no better than it was previously.
- He can lob subtle grenades from the sideline. Again, while people like Cruz, McConnell and Ryan have to somewhat toe the line with support for the President, Kasich does not. He can spend the next three years setting up his policy attacks with a media that might like to have a friendlier person to work with.
Thoughts? Objections? Agreements? Email me.