Articles by Karl Rove
On Thursday, Aug. 6, the 2016 presidential race will enter a new and important phase. Ten Republican presidential candidates will step on stage in a prime-time debate in Cleveland sponsored by Fox News and Facebook. The remaining GOP candidates will debate earlier that day. Viewership will be large, giving contenders their best opportunity so far to present their views, values and character to millions of Americans.
Although the event is advertised as a two-hour debate, the large number of candidates ensures that it will feel more like 10 simultaneous news conferences.
In the ever-important Money Primary, the GOP presidential field has divided into Haves and Have-Nots.
The Haves are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has raised $114 million; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at $52 million; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, at $45 million; and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, at $26 million. These figures include the funds raised directly by the campaigns as well as the candidates’ associated super PACs through June 30.
When is traveling on a Lear jet an indignity? When there’s a Gulfstream available and your last name is Clinton. One of the more revealing emails involving then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently released by the State Department came from top aide Huma Abedin on July 2, 2009. “The g3 is delayed till 5pm wheels up,” reported Ms. Abedin. “There is a lear available at 2pm with 6 seats. Do u want to just leave at 5?”
For ordinary folks: A “g3” is a Gulfstream III private jet that costs $40 million new and is roomier and fancier than a Lear jet, which probably sold for only $10 million.
Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls are facing challenges from two candidates who draw on the populist wings of their parties.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described “Democratic Socialist,” represents the far-left populists—angry at Wall Street, infuriated by income inequality, fearful of foreign economic competition and committed to a peace-at-all-costs isolationism that blames America for the world’s ills.
Now more than ever, it is imperative for every Republican presidential candidate to present a concrete plan to replace ObamaCare. The Affordable Care Act remains unpopular: Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics average of polls showed 51.4% disapprove while only 43.6% approve. Voters are more likely to be opposed than are adults overall, and opponents are more fervent than supporters.
For example, a June 14 CBS/New York Times poll found that 30% strongly opposed “the health care law that was passed in 2010,” while 24% strongly approved. The opposition would likely have been higher had pollsters labeled the law “ObamaCare.”
Think back eight years, when an eloquent young man ran for president promising to rectify U.S. politics and unite the nation. “I don’t want to pit Red America against Blue America,” Barack Obama said in Des Moines in November 2007.
This was a constant theme of Mr. Obama’s first campaign. “We can accept a politics that breeds division and conflict and cynicism,” he declared in Philadelphia in March 2008. “Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time.’ ”
It’s enlightening to compare two presidential campaign announcements offering two very different visions coming from one couple.
Then-Gov. Bill Clinton’s Oct. 3, 1991, announcement in Hope, Ark., included promises of “preserving the American dream” and “restoring the hopes of the forgotten middle class.” He displayed a healthy skepticism of government, promising that his administration wouldn’t “spend our money on programs that don’t solve problems and a government that doesn’t work.”
The Republican presidential primary is a jumbled mass of competitors, with new ones joining the jostling for support seemingly every week. Meanwhile, the Democrats have more a coronation than a contest, with one figure ignoring the rabble en route to the nomination.
So why did a May 18 Pew Research Center poll find that 57% of Republicans have an excellent or good impression of their party’s candidates, while 54% of Democrats have an excellent or good impression of theirs? Bigger fields and active contests sometimes generate greater support than smaller fields and quiescent competitions.
This is a time when it’s necessary to read beyond the headlines. A May 10 Gallup survey shows that the share of Americans calling themselves social liberals has risen to 31% from 25% in 2009, while the share of self-described social conservatives has fallen to 31% from 42%. It is the first time social conservatives have not outnumbered social liberals since Gallup began asking the question in 1999. As recently as 2010, social conservatives led by 17 points.
All this was trumpeted as bad news for Republicans. But what’s driving this shift is largely Democrats lurching further leftward. In 2010, more Democrats described themselves as social moderates than social liberals, 41% to 37%.
A week that Americans started by remembering those who gave all in our country’s service is a fitting time for Special Operations Chief Brian O’Rourke to retire from the Navy. He has been a SEAL for two decades, the last nine years with the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group—“DevGru,” commonly called SEAL Team Six.
It has been a remarkable journey for Mr. O’Rourke, who entered the Naval Academy in 1990, bent on becoming a SEAL. Counselors suggested he switch to a less demanding major than physics, but Mr. O’Rourke has the constructive stubbornness that often defines SEALs.