Could John Kasich Lead a Successful Third Party Challenge?

Since John Kasich dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, he has been at odds with his party over direction and support for Donald Trump.  Now he is signaling a move to a possible third party run for president in 2020.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Kasich told Whoopi Goldberg on The Political View program that he believes he could win a primary in New Hampshire but not do well in Southern states where Trump is strong.

Despite being quite religious himself, Kasich never really caught on with evangelical voters during the Republican primaries. He was widely viewed as a moderate, a perception which might now help him in a deeply divided nation. At least that’s one way to look at it.

I like Kasich and supported him in the primaries. I would support him as an independent but I don’t know if there are enough voters who would be willing to take the risk on a third party. Even though I think he is a good mix of principle and pragmatism, he was not able to inspire widespread support in 2016. It remains to be seen if the conditions are right for him now.

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28 thoughts on “Could John Kasich Lead a Successful Third Party Challenge?”

  1. If you want to talk third party, you’d have to have a real, strong third party. Kasich alone isn’t going to cut it. But if you get Kasich, Romney, Colin Powell, add in a couple of Blue Dog Democrats, build a party for the serious-minded and leave the husk of the GOP to the kleptocrats and the wannazis, then you might have something… in a couple cycles. You’re going to have at least one round where GOP voters who don’t have a taste for the Trumps, Palins, and Arapaios of this world aren’t certain whether it is better to save the party or to save the nation.

  2. I like Kasich and I also voted for him in the primary. Unfortunately I think all that a third party run would do is spoil one or another candidate’s choices, and if Clinton runs, it might actually take just as many votes away from her because Kasich is so moderate on certain issues and she is so polarizing. I’m honestly not sure he would peel much support away from Trump, because most people who hate Agent Orange had Gary Johnson as a protest vote last time and it did not accomplish much.

    I’d love to see him run against Trump as a Republican challenger for the nomination, because I think his chances would be just about as good (or bad, I guess) and he might accomplish more.

    1. Libertarian Gary Johnson is a very different animal to John Kasich, a straight-up Republican, so you really can’t compare the two, even in the context of a protest vote.

      As for Clinton, there’s no way she’s running again (and even if she somehow did decide to, she wouldn’t make it out of the primaries this time).

      In the end, I doubt Kasich will run as an independent anyway. He doesn’t strike me as the sort. Most likely, he’ll sit out 2020 with an eye on running in 2024. He’ll just have to hope the Republican Party will “come home” from their Trump adventure, which certainly isn’t a given.

      1. Donald Trump is President for exactly one reason: he was elected as the only pro-life candidate in the race. Many, many people for who would never in a million years vote pro-choice felt they had no option, and with a third SCOTUS pick looking possible, they were probably 100% right. There is zero mystery about why evangelicals supported Trump, but most would LOVE to have another pro-life option.

        1. While I agree that abortion has become an oversized political litmus test, I don’t think it can be assumed that evangelicals would have voted otherwise even without that issue. The Democratic party has been hopelessly demonized in evangelical circles while the GOP has been lauded and aligned with. The GOP plays on them in the same way they accuse the Democratic party of playing on minorities, and evangelicals have in turn fused with the GOP in an unholy alliance that was unheard of decades ago.

          The way evangelicals have been used (if willingly) concerning the issue of abortion is epic. For all the collateral damage justices like Kavanaugh may do (having been chosen to aid in that cause), and which Trump has done, even overturning Roe v. Wade would likely do little to abate abortion on demand in this country. A dozen or so states had already legalized it before the case was decided, and that was before two generations grew up with it as a legal right.

          Comprehensive sex education and access to contraception are proven methods for lowering unwanted pregnancies, and yet these are the first to go when evangelicals, and conservatives in general, have their way. The right to have an abortion will remain with us in one form or another, but evidence-based methods can reduce their number if that is actually the goal. These don’t serve as well for political gain, but they do work.

          1. Disclosure: I’m a pro-life evangelical.

            Personally, I would not have voted for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances, for many of the same reasons I would not support Trump. I concluded she was morally unfit for office and belonged in jail. She still belongs in jail, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. Hopefully she is. James Clapper also belongs in jail, but no one cares. I would have voted for Jill Stein had she been on the ballot in my state just to dream of seeing Cornel West get a cabinet position, and I would have voted for Sanders with few concerns about what he might do as President. The only reason I could check a box for Gary Johnson is because I knew he had zero chance of winning. His administration would have been more haphazard that Trump’s has been!

            I have no party anymore. They all make me ill, with a few marginalized exceptions.

          2. Addressing our points of disagreement in your last comment probably wouldn’t help the debate in progress. As a self-professed “pro-life evangelical”, I would like to ask if there is any conceivable circumstance under which you could see yourself voting for a Democratic candidate who, among other things, does not challenge the status of Roe v Wade.

          3. Sure, I said I would have voted for Bernie had he won the nomination. I meant it. I agree with him about very little (VERY little), but I thought he’d be less of a risk than Trump in some important ways. To me the abortion issue is less about banning/criminalizing it and more about cultivating a respect for the unborn that keeps it from just being a form of birth/population control. I believe that in the future embryos will be able to develop outside the womb in hospital settings, and gradually the need for elective abortion will disappear.

          4. Addressing our points of disagreement in your last comment probably wouldn’t help the debate in progress. As a self-professed “pro-life evangelical”, I would like to ask if there is any conceivable circumstance under which you could see yourself voting for a Democratic candidate who, among other things, does not challenge the status of Roe v Wade.

        2. So a third party challenge that threatened to divide the Republican vote wouldn’t have gone anywhere. You said it — win at all costs.

          1. Basically, the GOP would cast Kasich as the spoiler who would hand the White House to the Democrats on a platter, and a large majority of the evangelicals would fall into line behind Trump. As I said, win at all costs.

            If there is anything about the last two years that’s clear about the national GOP, it’s that this is Trump’s party now.

            I just heard a couple of evangelicals on the radio tiptoeing around Trump’s immigration policy, couching their reservations about his anti-asylum stance and its deleterious effect Christians seeking refuge in the USA as carefully as they could while praising his actions on the southern border. No way would they be as careful with their words if they thought their listeners weren’t firmly in the Donald Trump camp.

          2. The Evangelical affinity for Trump baffles me. As a Christian, I don’t think I’m even at liberty to support Trump (so far as supporting means anything more than hoping he does well for the sake of the country). I get people who felt cornered into voting for him, but that’s as far as I can get before I start scratching my head. I agree with some of what Trump has tried to do, and even a lot of what he has said, but the guy is still like fingernails on a chalkboard when he starts mouthing off and treating people like dogs. It’s awful. I honestly don’t buy the Russian collusion nonsense, but he ought to get the hook just for his behavior.

        3. Unborn lives matter, but black and brown ones don’t.
          When it comes down to it, that’s what “pro-life” Trump voters were affirming.

          EDIT: Of course many of these voters did not have the second part of that statement in mind, nor would they agree with it. But they should have known it was what they were voting for if they paid attention to Trump’s rhetoric and the people he was surrounding himself with.

          1. Yes, it does sometimes appear that some people’s ‘pro-life’ position extends only as far as birth!

          2. I don’t think Trump voters are quite so homogenous as that. Undoubtedly, however, there is a racist demographic – perhaps a sizable one – that were enraged during the Obama years and are now emboldened under Trump. I think the most pernicious may be those who deny there is a racist problem at all, that this is “in the past” and so feel unencumbered by the pangs of conscience they would normally feel obliged to obey.

            Edit: This reply to AHH was made before the additional bit was added to that comment.

  3. I’m not a big fan, but I’m a Democrat. I recognize his appeal, but I think he would draw some Republican votes but few Democratic ones. So, from a Democratic standpoint, I’d be all for it.

  4. I doubt Kasich could make a reasonable run as an independent (note “third party” would a misnomer) candidate. while I would love to see a viable 3rd party formed, the last time where was a chance of that was Perot’s Reform Party. Unfortunately, 3rd parties seem to just want to jump into the pres. race, but not put in the work to build an actual party at the local/county/government levels.

    1. By “Reform Party” do you mean the “Ross Perot for President Party”? Third Parties are all too often one candidate (the founder) , one office (President), and the aroma of only one member (guess who). The most successful of these in the 20th was George Wallace (aka “The South Shall Rise Again”) and his American Independent Party in 1968 (where he DID manage to become “President of the Confederate States” but not the whole country). And like all third parties, his party withered after losing that one election for that one office. (Though it did run a Bircher in 1972 with a lot of Scripture(TM) verses…)

      The most successful third party in American history (the Progressives) never ran for President. They did however end up with a couple governors and enough seats in several state legislatures to make their program stick.

      1. No, I mean the “Reform Party” which was founded by Ross Perot and had a lot of support in 96 and elected Jesse Ventura as gov. of MN in 98. Unfortunately, since Perot bowed out of politics after the 96 election, the party got taken over by right wing republicans who nominated Buchanan in 2000 which pretty much regulated it to being an inconsequential 3rd party after that.

  5. Kasich had one plus in his politics. Kasich was also anti-Trump from the beginning. As to the rest of his policies- they are tried and tested GOP economic failures. Because of the general cultish insanity of the GOP- Kasich looks like a moderate. He is not.

    1. I’d love for him to run, though, because as a moderate Republican (though not a moderate conservative), he might well vacuum up enough votes from Trump to hobble him.

      1. I knew too many folks in 2016 who thought he was essentially moderate. They never thought to look at the totality of his policies. Perhaps he would draw votes away from the president* in primaries. In a general election- there might be too many who would not look beneath Kasich’s anti-Trump surface. Other than being Anti-Trump- Kasich is rock-ribbed conservative.

        1. It is the confusion of a moderate affect with a moderate position. This confusion is hardly new, and the American political press, in its manifold uselessness, falls for it every time. In the Trump era I expect the phenomenon will be stronger than ever.

          1. The false equivalency brigade (on cable news) will be minimizing stark differences in policy with vigor.

  6. Just because he’s distanced himself from Trump does not mean he’s a great choice for President. On most issues, he’s a standard issue Republican: anti-union, anti-education, anti-healthcare.

    * During his first year as governor, Kasich pushed for a bill that would curb collective-bargaining for public employees. Ohio voters rejected the idea in a state referendum and Kasich has not returned to it.

    * As governor of the Buckeye State, Kasich has proposed moving away from income taxes and moving toward increasing consumption taxes, including sales taxes

    * The Ohio Republican has called for the rest of Obamacare to be repealed and replaced.

    * In crafting his state’s budget, Kasich used his veto power to cut more than $84 million of funding from public schools.


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