Articles by Karl Rove
To better understand the 2016 GOP presidential race, let’s consider some history. At a comparable point during the last nine Republican presidential primary contests, four had a front-runner with a double-digit lead in a national poll, and in five the leader was ahead by single digits.
Combining the two sets, the front-runner—regardless of their lead’s size—won five out of nine times. If the front-runner actually ran, he became the GOP nominee in five of seven contests.
Congressional Republicans are right to try to stop President Obama's November 2014 executive action suspending enforcement of immigration laws for millions of illegal aliens.
The House has passed a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill prohibiting DHS from spending money to carry out Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional directive when the department’s current funding runs out Feb. 27. Now 60 senators—including at least six Democrats—must vote to invoke cloture and take up the bill.
With only two years left in his presidency, Barack Obama recently has been revealing his innermost convictions, particularly on foreign policy. These convictions are startling and disturbing.
Take Mr. Obama’s Feb. 1 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. The president said American leaders must avoid “suggesting in some fashion” that terrorist networks “are an existential threat to the United States or the world order.”
Notwithstanding the accident that left him blind in his right eye and with four broken ribs, Minority Leader Harry Reid labored hard to show he was still in command during his month’s forced absence from the Senate. Aides claimed he worked the phones from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., making as many as 60 calls a day.
But it is difficult to lead a demoralized legislative caucus from a Ritz Carlton condo across town from Capitol Hill.
For most of this year, national polls showing head-to-head matchups among potential Republican presidential candidates will be interesting but hardly predictive. Opinion in states with February 2016 contests won’t really gel until late autumn, when polls begin to show the true state of the race in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
So what’s worth paying attention to in early polls? First, look at how many Republicans are undecided. The Jan. 25 USA Today/Suffolk University poll found 45% of Republicans and Republican leaners were undecided when asked an open-ended question who they wanted nominated.
President Obama ’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening was oddly disconnected.
It was disconnected from events abroad. He said that “the shadow of crisis has passed.” Earlier that day Iranian-backed rebels stormed the compound of the president of Yemen, an American ally. Islamic State, which Mr. Obama referred to a year ago as the “jayvee team,” now controls large parts of Syria and Iraq—leading the president to ask for congressional authorization to use force against it.
Each presidential primary contest differs from previous ones. But 2016 will be wildly different, starting with many more qualified candidates than in 2012. The field last time was among the weakest in memory; this field could be among the strongest.
The race is wide open with no commanding front-runner. Three times as many prospective candidates received 5% or more in Wednesday’s Real Clear Politics average than at this point four years ago. And while Republicans usually have more senators than governors running, it’s the opposite this time.
Since Christmas and New Year’s Day both fell on a Thursday, wiping out my weekly columns in the name of holiday cheer, this is my first opportunity to rate the success of my 2014 predictions and offer new ones for 2015.
I got 13 political prognostications right for 2014. On Election Day, President Obama ’s disapproval was 54%, higher than his 53% at the start of the year. The GOP kept the House (but picked up 14 seats, not six as I suggested) and took the Senate (but with 54, not 51 as I feared).
This past weekend’s action by Congress to fund the federal government for the balance of this fiscal year—except for the Homeland Security Department, which is funded only through February—is evidence of how dysfunctional Washington has become.
The omnibus bill was so big (1,600-plus pages) that virtually no one had time to read it. It was cobbled together by congressional leaders and presented as a fait accompli.
There have generally been two reactions to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Dec. 3 statement at Georgetown University that America should try to “empathize” with our nation’s “enemies.”
One camp holds that Mrs. Clinton simply chose the wrong word to express a banal thought—that the U.S. must understand its enemies. The other camp says her State Department record demonstrates she herself lacks the empathy to know how to deal with America’s adversaries or allies. Both responses are true, yet I have another observation about her speech: It is further evidence Mrs. Clinton is at best a mediocre presidential candidate.