Ohio Gov. John Kasich has done everything short of announcing his 2020 bid for the presidency, but it remains to be seen if he will actually run – and, if he does, what party’s flag he’ll be flying as he makes a second go at the White House. Certainly, there’s little room for him anymore in the Republican Party, where he has emerged as one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics. He’s no Democrat, and he certainly wouldn’t belong there now, with their ideological platform moving further to the left than it has ever been. That leaves a possible run as a third-party Independent, hoping to siphon voters out of the squishy middle…where very few of them actually are.
Perhaps it was in a signal to those voters that Kasich told reporters this week that he opposes two new bills coming out of the Ohio legislature. Both the bills are popular with Republicans and conservatives, but the Ohio governor has sent a message that he will likely veto both of them on his way out of office.
The first of the bills is a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortions in the state of Ohio after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. The other is a “stand you ground” piece of legislation that would remove a gun owner’s duty to retreat when faced with a life-or-death situation. Kasich has vetoed a version of the abortion bill before and he has said for months that he would veto the gun-rights bill as well. On Monday, he told reporters that his stance on both bills remained the same.
This could force the Ohio legislature into a difficult position where they must get enough votes in the Senate to override a threatened veto. Both bills have already passed through the House with enough of a margin to overcome Kasich’s pen. If the Senate takes up the bill quickly, it could land on Kasich’s desk and force him to make good on his veto threat within 10 days. If they don’t, Ohio legislators will be heading home to their families, forcing party leaders to corral them back to Columbus for a vote. That may be difficult, and Republicans don’t have much room to spare when it comes to passing these bills.
Ohio Republicans – and pro-lifers around the nation – are eager to pass a definitive abortion bill, go through the inevitable legal challenges, and put a new quandary in front of the conservative Supreme Court. It is believed that the chances of overturning Roe v. Wade (or at least de-fanging it to a significant degree) have never been better.
But as long as we have “Republicans” like Kasich standing in the way of pure conservatism, the Supreme Court’s view on abortion won’t matter that much.