Republican political operative Karl Rove said the turbulence and divisions within the Republican Party are waning heading into 2014, pointing out that the political parties have overcome similar troubles during the civil rights, anti-war and Goldwater conservative movements.
“Now it’s starting to sort out,” Rove said Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum, a two-day summit of policymakers and journalists discussing the country’s future. “And I think that, frankly, we’re past the point of greatest warfare.”
Rove, when asked about the GOP’s 2016 presidential hopes, said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “has a way to the nomination,” despite some challenges. He thinks the Republican field currently includes 10 potential candidates.
He also asserted that the 2016 nominee -- despite the election being three years away -- will be able to and should run on an agenda to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Rove, along with former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, leads American Crossroads, a super PAC and big backer of GOP candidates. In 2012, the super PAC spent $104 million on campaigns but, according to a study by the Sunlight Foundation, saw a success rate of only 1 percent on the candidates it helped. The organization’s sister group, Crossroads GPS, spent $71 million and saw 14 percent of its funds contribute to GOP victories.
Earlier this year, Rove also formed a controversial super PAC, Conservative Victory Project, to defeat Republican candidates who the group viewed as unable to win in their general election and, instead, fund less-polarizing Republicans in the party’s primaries. The group had raised less than $6,000 by the end of July, however.
At the forum, Rove sat alongside Stan Greenberg, a longtime Democratic pollster. Greenberg said that he does not see Republican leadership, led by the House GOP, giving its candidates the chance to address the party’s real problems with key demographic groups, including women and Latinos.
“[Winning] is not a tactical question,” Greenberg said. “This is a party that has been losing ground since it took control in 2010. It’s at its most unpopular point possible. It’s defined by its base.”
Greenberg also said, “It’s utterly implausible” that the GOP would pick Christie, citing that his popularity stems from his relationship with President Obama and the expansion of Medicaid—detractors within the Republican base.
First published November 14 2013, 1:41 PM