Casual discussions are underway between the camps of governors John Kasich (R-OH) and Hickenlooper (D-CO) to form a unity ticket in 2020, presenting an alternative to the Democrat and Republican nominees for president, according to sources familiar with the conversations.
Recently, the two governors have been working on an alternative healthcare reform plan to present to others, particlarly congress. Both governors were elected around the same time (Kasich in 2010, Hickenlooper in 2011) in mixed-party states, and immediately accepted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Both oppose the repeal of the the Act.
Barring a surprise star in the ranks, Democrats are not expected to field especially strong candidates in the next two years in preparation for 2020, and presumably, Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee for a second time, unless directly challenged by members of his own party. If they choose to join forces, their likely target would be the majority in each party that polls indicated dissatisfaction with their respective candidates.
While third-party candidates struggle for both funding and name recognition, these men have advantages most third-party candidates don’t. National profiles in each party, independent streaks, and media-friendly relationships and donor networks. And presumably, they carry less baggage or idiosyncrasies that the other “Governors squared” campaign with Johnson/Weld in 2016.
Governors tend to work well together, and share camraderie more than most partisan leaders, and these two governors are no exception.
Gov. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has tended toward the centerline and his party, trying to carve out a reputation for working across the aisle. Gov. Kasich of course has been riding the middle line since his first days in the 2016 campaign, and stayed in until the last stretch of the Republican primary. He earned his stripes first years ago, however, not only accepting Obamacare expansion in his state, but traveling to other state capitals to lobby fellow Republicans to do the same.
Some believed that his continued presence helped to split the non-trump crowd in the primaries – roughly 60% until the end – especially toward the end, when it was mathematically impossible for him to win, and Senator Cruz still had a chance to capture remaining delegates.
National Review’s Matthew Continetti observed at the time, “The Ohio governor has won a single state: his own. He has 143 delegates. That puts him fourth in the count behind Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — who is no longer a candidate. To win the nomination on the first ballot of the Republican convention, Kasich would have to win 138 percent of the remaining delegates. This is impossible. Even a politician should be able to do that math.”
Now, it appears that winning the nomination may not have been his end game.