vision 2020

A Kasich Primary Challenge to Trump Ain’t Happening

John Kasich faces reality. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For anyone with a realistic grasp of Republican politics at present, this news (via Politico) is about as surprising as the setting of the sun in the west. But for the small if still noisy tribe of #NeverTrump Republicans, it may have dashed some illusions:

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday quashed the idea of him launching a presidential run, arguing there is “no path” to the White House for him in 2020.

“I don’t see a way to get there,” said Kasich, one of Trump’s challengers in the 2016 Republican primary. The former governor claimed on CNN that 90 percent of GOP voters support the president’s reelection efforts.

When the Trump presidency was young and the GOP had not so emphatically united behind its conqueror, there was quite a bit of talk about Kasich’s continuing his 2016 resistance to the mogul right on into the 2020 presidential cycle. He reportedly talked to his 2016 strategist, John Weaver, a well-known political wizard (until his involvement in the train wreck of Jon Huntsman’s 2012 campaign, anyway), every day.

It’s unclear where Weaver is right now, but Kasich doesn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows:

[T]he Ohio Republican said Friday he’s “never gotten involved in a political race where I didn’t think I could win.”

“Right now, there’s no path,” he added.

Since we’re living in the Trump Era, Kasich was careful not to make a Shermanesque statement (named for his fellow Ohioan William Tecumsah Sherman, who famously reacted to a presidential draft by saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected”), noting that “we never know what the future is going to bring.” If, of course, Trump manages to do something so outrageous that it alienates the Republicans who’ve gone gaga for MAGA, Kasich could reconsider, but in that case, Lord knows how many candidates would jump in ahead of or alongside him.

For the time being, Kasich’s announcement leaves that longest of long shots William Weld as Trump’s only visible 2020 intraparty challenger.

Kasich is 67, so in a world where Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders can run for president in their later 70s, he could reemerge as a presidential possibility in 2024. But first his party would need to shake off its Trumpian enchantment or Kasich must learn to wear the red hat.

A Kasich Primary Challenge to Trump Ain’t Happening