Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he wants to the “voice” of younger voters who are more likely than older supporters of President Donald Trump to support environmental protection and keep the United States engaged in a global economy.
During an appearance Sunday on Fox News Sunday, Kasich said millennials born after 1977 and generation X voters born after 1965 will equal the size of the baby boomer vote next year and “they think profoundly differently than” the Republican nationalists such as former White House adviser Steve Bannon.
“They care about the environment,” Kasich said of younger voters. “They don’t want to focus on all these social issues. They understand America’s place in the world. They’re comfortable with global outreach.”
“They’re up for grabs,” Kasich said. “Because right now they’re leaning independent. And the question is who appeals to them. I happen to think the outward approach of our country is the better one.”
“I am going to be a voice for the new generation, the next generation, and for what has been traditionally been strong in the party,” Kasich said.
Although Kasich has always been a strong proponent of American engagement with the world, it may be a challenge for him to speak for younger people if they – as he said — are less interested in social issues, such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Kasich has been an ardent opponent of abortion rights his entire career.
Kasich deflected questions about whether he would seek the presidency in 2020, either as a Republican or independent. Kasich ran last year for the Republican presidential nomination.
But he said the deep Republican divisions between internationalists and nationalist will “be settled by the demographics in the near future.”
“Maybe not today, not tomorrow, but soon it’s going to be decided by that new wave of new thinking by these young people who can bring a lot of energy to the Republican Party and the conservative movement,” Kasich said.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, played down the impact of the divisions among Republicans, particularly those such as Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona who have broken with President Donald Trump.
“The party’s in good shape, but we’ve got some divisions,” Portman said. But Portman said Trump “was duly elected” and GOP lawmakers have “got to be sure that he succeeds because when he succeeds the country succeeds.”
In a reminder that last November he wrote in the name of Vice President Mike Pence for president, Portman said when Trump won the presidency he opted “to work with him, on tax reform, on addressing this opioid crisis.”
“That’s our job,” Portman said. “Our job is to actually get some things done.”