Election 2020

Kasich: 'Big Ocean of People in the Middle' are 'Up for Grabs,' 'Rational,' 'Seek the Truth'

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich gestures during a visit to New England College in Henniker, N.H., on April 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Hinting at a 2020 run Sunday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) predicted that the Republican Party will find the most trouble come midterm elections in suburban districts “because a number of people who live in the suburbs, including women who have been traditionally voting Republican, are very uncomfortable with what they see.”

Kasich told CNN that he thinks “the Democrats are more energized than the Republicans,” even though “I have no idea what they’re for.”

“I mean, they’re really betting on the Republicans just bouncing the ball off their foot out of bounds, and that they will win the game that way,” he said. “So, I believe it will be a decent Democrat year. But it could be a big year if they stood for something, but — and, you know, look, they’re all screwed up too, because the left wing is really dominating them, just like the right wing is dominating the Republican Party.”

Kasich summed up the political landscape like so: “Look, you got the hard left and the hard right. They only absorb that that they agree with. God bless them. Maybe we can come back and rescue them later. But there’s a big ocean of people in the middle who are up for grabs. And these are people who are objective. These are people who are rational. And these are people who seek the truth.”

“If we have a difference between liberals, conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, we can mediate those differences, if we can agree to the facts, the basic facts,” he added. “…How are we supposed to unify in this country if we only want to consume and agree with things that we like? It’s just — life doesn’t work that way. And let’s not teach our children to do that, either.”

Kasich gave President Trump credit for putting pressure on North Korea through sanctions, not rhetoric. “I mean, look, my job is not to be a critic of Donald Trump. People don’t understand that. I am not speaking out because somehow I want something politically. I’m worried about my country, and I’m worried about the divisions and the constant effort to continue to polarize us,” he said. “But, at the end, when the president deserves credit, when Donald Trump deserves credit, I’m going to give it to him. Why not? Be fair.”

“You can’t just trust the North Koreans. You have got to be very careful,” he added. “And you have got to go to a phased implementation of any relief we give them, based on what they’re willing to give us.”

Kasich said it’s “too early” to say if Trump will face a challenger for the GOP nomination in 2020, but indicated Americans may be shopping for someone new.

“You have a department store that’s red and a department store that’s blue, and neither of them right now are providing products to the great middle. And you know what happens? That’s how another store opens up in the neighborhood,” he said.

“I’m still a Republican. And I want to pull my — look, I didn’t leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me. In my state, we have balanced budgets, surplus. We’re up a half-a-million jobs. And then people say, well, Kasich is not a conservative,” the governor continued. “What does that mean? Does that mean I have to be anti-immigrant, anti-trade, in favor of debt? I mean, what — party, come on home. Come home to where we basically live. We’re pro-immigrant. We’re pro-trade. We’re pro-growth. We worry about that. We should care about people from top to bottom, not just those at the top, but everybody.”

“I can bring that party back. That’s what I’m going to do in one way or another.”

Kasich for America has continued to fundraise since the governor unsuccessfully ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. He was the last candidate to drop out of the race versus Donald Trump.

On Sunday, a Kasich fundraising email included his CNN appearance as well as promotion of “common sense gun reforms that make sense and will save lives, while also protecting people’s Second Amendment rights.”