And suddenly, there's a hot rumor about a presidential ticket for 2020—featuring a Democrat and a Republican, no less. The potential pairing is GOP Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, reports Mike Allen at Axios. The two (nicknamed "the Johns") have been making the rounds of late talking about health care, and things are going so well that they're reportedly toying with the idea of an independent bid in 2020, with Kasich as the presidential contender. Coverage:
- Nothing formal: CNN has a source familiar with the discussions who confirms all of the above, while stressing that it's all informal at this point. "The idea of a joint ticket has been discussed, but not at an organizational or planning level."
- Expanding platform: Both Axios and CNN say that while the two have been focusing on health care for now, they'll be expanding their platform in the near future. Job creation and immigration will be two main topics, with a particular focus on helping those losing jobs to automation. A podcast or perhaps a cable show also may be in the works.
- Health care: The pair plan to release their ideas for stabilizing the nation's insurance markets next month, and they aim to get other governors to sign on, reports NPR. They wrote about the broad strokes and the need for a bipartisan approach in the Washington Post in June. One specific idea: They don't like the ObamaCare rule requiring businesses with 50 or more employees to provide insurance; the number should be higher, they say, as it currently hurts small businesses.
- Worry for Democrats: At the National Review, Jim Geraghty argues that it would be bad news for Democrats if such a ticket comes to be. (He's skeptical it will.) "If you’re a vehement Trump foe, you want the anti-Trump vote split in as few ways as possible," and Kasich-Hickenlooper could steal needed electoral votes from Democrats (including a total of 27 in the governors' home states).
- Not quite a denial: Hickenlooper was asked about the possibility of a joint ticket in early August and said, “I don’t think Kasich would ever do that," per Politico. But he didn't exactly rule it out: "You never know. You never say. ... I do like the idea of working with him in some context at some point.”
- 503 days: On Thursday, Hickenlooper said on MSNBC that he wouldn't even think about a presidential run until his gubernatorial term ends, per the Hill. And he knew that he had precisely 503 days left.
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