Articles by Karl Rove
With midterms over, let’s give political junkies a fix by surveying the emerging GOP presidential field. Twenty-three Republicans have publicly indicated interest (not including Mitt Romney, who says he has no plans to run). Here they are, with strengths and weaknesses.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the GOP’s most visible social conservative. Can he reach outside that element of the party?
The week since the midterms has been good for Republicans. The GOP gained a 53rd senator as Dan Sullivan was declared the winner in Alaska on Wednesday. The party seems on its way to a 54th seat in Louisiana. Republican candidates took 56% on Election Day. On Monday the two Republicans who won nearly 15% endorsed fellow Republican Bill Cassidy. He is the front-runner going into the Dec. 6 runoff.
Final exit polls were also encouraging for the GOP. Texas Sen. John Cornyn won 48% of Hispanic voters, while Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott took 44%.
How big was Tuesday’s devastating repudiation of President Obama, his policies and his party?
Republicans picked up seven Democratic Senate seats Tuesday, are well ahead in Alaska, awaiting absentee ballots, and are poised to add a ninth senate seat in a Louisiana runoff on Dec. 6, since three GOP candidates received a combined 55.8% of the vote Tuesday to Sen. Mary Landrieu ’s 42.1%. This could give incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a 54-member caucus.
Campaigns across the country have reached the stage where everything is about getting out the vote, especially in contests that will decide control of the Senate.
The election’s fundamentals have not changed. President Obama remains quite unpopular, as do his policies. Americans are sour on the economy—65% believe the nation is on the wrong track in an Oct. 16 CBS News poll. Likely voters prefer a Republican Congress by 11 points, 52% to 41% in this week’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey. Intensity and enthusiasm are also with Republicans.
Democrats assumed earlier this year that ObamaCare would be a political advantage by Election Day. North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, for example, said in February she wanted to show the Affordable Care Act “is something whose time is come.” A month later Colorado Sen. Mark Udall said “we did the right thing” in passing the law and told voters he “would do it again,” a response echoed by incumbents Mark Pryor (Arkansas) and Mary Landrieu (Louisiana).
It isn’t working out that way. As the election nears, ObamaCare is re-emerging as a major liability for the Democratic Senate that passed it.
Democrats and Republicans have placed very different tactical bets in this year’s Senate races. Republicans are betting that President Obama’s low job-approval rating (40% in Wednesday’s Gallup poll) rubs off on Democratic candidates. In midterm elections, candidates of the president’s party have historically ended up with vote totals close to his approval rating. For example, Democratic Senate candidates ran on average 3.7 points behind Mr. Obama’s job approval in 2010. GOP Senate candidates ran on average 1.3 points ahead of President George W. Bush ’s job approval in 2006.
With 26 days until the midterms, Americans are understandably focused on the election. But it’s not too early to begin thinking about what happens after the ballots are counted. Virtually all observers agree that President Obama will face a Congress with more Republicans and fewer Democrats. The GOP will keep control of the House and either win the Senate or come very close.
Thursday morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is delivering a speech at George Washington University titled "Principles for American Renewal."
The 11 Republican principles he will offer are timeless. They include "we should leave the next generation opportunity, not debt" and "our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty and hard work."
As the midterm election enters its last six weeks, new factors have appeared that will help determine which party controls the Senate next year.
Surprisingly, national security has emerged as an important issue. Americans' concerns began with the conflict in Ukraine, and they've grown as Islamic State cut a swath across Iraq and beheaded two American journalists. When an Aug. 4 CBS News poll asked what was the most important problem facing the country, terrorism wasn't even on the list. In a Sept. 15 CBS News/New York Times survey, voters ranked terrorism as No. 2 at 17% (behind the economy at 38%) as the most important factor in their vote for Congress.
The president's job approval numbers are lousy, no Democrat in a competitive Senate race polls regularly above 50%, GOP enthusiasm is high, and independents are trending Republican. The midterm environment is terrible for Democrats—yet each passing day provides evidence as to why a GOP Senate majority is still in doubt.
On Monday President Obama appeared at a $100,000-a-person fundraiser in D.C. to support his party's efforts to keep the Senate. It was his 84th fundraiser this election cycle.