But in order for that to happen, Democrats will have to come to the table. Kasich urged moderate Republicans to reach out.
“My concern now is will the Democrats be emboldened enough to say ‘we’re not participating. You all are drowning and go ahead and drown?’” Kasich asked. “The problem with that is there are some provisions of the Affordable Care Act that need to be addressed.”
He said not fixing flaws in the 2010 law could result in people losing their coverage. But Democrats will have to trust Republicans in order to keep that from happening.
“Ask Democrats for a date,” he said. “If they don’t give you one, put it on Facebook. Unfriend them.”
Later, Kasich gave the keynote address at the 2017 Toner Prize Celebration, an award ceremony honoring political reporting. The winner this year was David A. Farenthold of the Washington Post. As Kasich spoke, a source close to the Ohio governor confirmed he will be returning to New Hampshire in late April after the release of his book, “Two Paths: America Divided or United.”
Kasich told the crowd about his time in the House, where some days he would go down to the gym and play basketball with Democrats, or even go out to dinner and have drinks. Those days, he said, seem to be past — and those divisions make things dysfunctional, he maintained.
“What do we do in life where we don’t compromise?” he asked, saying many of the banner achievements in Congress over the years — civil rights, Medicare and Social Security — “happened because both parties stamped them approved.”
Of Congress, he said: “These people cling to their jobs because it becomes their identity. These jobs…sometimes you’ve got to walk.”
Still, he said, he is confident the country will bridge the divide.
“I have a sense in my soul we’re going to get through this,” he said. “But it’s going to take all of us.”