For the moment, it seems, John Kasich isn’t happy with pretty much anyone.
Of the 16 Republican primary candidates Donald Trump vanquished on his way to the White House in 2016, the former Ohio governor is one of the few who has not since come around on the president. Kasich passed on a rematch in 2020 out of a recognition that the GOP is now Trump’s party, but he has said he won’t vote for the president next year. And he’s not backing any of Trump’s three Republican challengers, nor is he sold on any of the Democrats who debated on Tuesday in the state Kasich led for two terms before leaving office in January. “I didn’t say I was voting for them either,” Kasich told me in a phone interview on Tuesday.
“I’m disappointed with my Republican Party right now, and the fact that it’s become too negative,” he said. “But I’m also not happy with the hard-left positions of those that want to build bigger governments and more bureaucracies.”
Kasich has a book out this week, It’s Up to Us: Ten Little Ways We Can Bring About Big Change, that champions bottom-up activism, encouraging people to turn to their communities instead of Washington to uplift the country. Curiously, nearly all of the luminaries Kasich quotes for inspiration—Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate-change activist—are associated with the left. (“I could have quoted Ronald Reagan. I just didn’t,” Kasich told me by way of explanation.)