Karl Rove

Bannon Becomes Democrats’ Favorite Bogeyman

McClatchy: “White House staffers are not usually the focus of campaign attacks. But in federal and state races, Democrats across the country have turned this ex-presidential aide — like George W. Bush’s Rove before him — into the avatar of everything wrong and extreme about the GOP, relishing the chance to tie Bannon to Republican candidates.”

“It’s a messaging tactic that has intensified in the last two weeks, as Bannon, the ex-White House chief strategist, ramps up his involvement on behalf of anti-establishment candidates in GOP primaries across the country — giving Democrats a new opportunity to highlight growing GOP disunity.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Roy Moore would be the Todd Akin of 2017 and 2018 for every Republican on the ballot. Republicans will be asked, ‘Do you agree homosexuality should be punished by death, do you believe 9/11 was a result of God’s anger?’ He’ll say outrageous things, the media will play it up, and every Republican will be asked, ‘Do you agree with that?'”

— Karl Rove, quoted by the New York Times, on Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R).

Trump May Use Rove Playbook to Boost 2018 Turnout

Politico: “The administration has been in talks to put conservative initiatives on the ballot in 2018 midterm battleground states in hopes of energizing base voters dispirited by the performance of Republican-controlled Washington. The strategy is similar to the one Rove used in 2004. The George W. Bush political guru helped engineer a slate of anti-gay marriage amendments that year to boost GOP turnout in swing states such as Ohio, an approach that many are convinced helped pave the way for Bush’s reelection. (Rove has denied accounts that he orchestrated the 11-state effort.)”

“White House aides are less interested in a ballot initiative campaign focused on social issues, fearful that it would only serve to further stoke an already-motivated liberal base. Instead, according to three people familiar with the deliberations, they’re considering initiatives involving tax reform and other economic issues seen as more likely to invigorate conservatives. Tax reform also goes to the heart of Trump’s agenda, and he’s expected to spend much of the fall pursuing it.”

Rove Says He Would Have Called FBI

Playbook: “Karl Rove told an off-the-record McDonald’s corporate conference Monday in D.C. that he would not have taken a meeting with Russian operatives, like Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner did. Rove told the crowd at the J.W. Marriott that if a campaign gets an email saying an agent of a foreign adversarial government wants to meet and pass on damaging information about an opponent, they shouldn’t take the meeting, and they should call the FBI.”

“In a presidential campaign, Rove said, aides get lots of phone calls and emails offering tips on the opponent. Most should be routed through opposition researchers, and many are not worth the time.”

Meanwhile, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that 52% of voters say the meeting was inappropriate. Only 23% say meeting was appropriate and the remaining 25% have no opinion.

Scarier Than Karl Rove

“Democrats spent years turning George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove into a bogeyman whose mere mention sent liberals’ blood boiling. Now, members of Congress are doing the same to top Trump hand Steve Bannon — but in much darker terms,” Politico reports.

“Increasingly, Democratic lawmakers are labeling the former Breitbart chief a ‘white supremacist’ who has no business at the highest echelons of American power.”

Rove Privately Meets with Trump

New York Times: “Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush’s victorious presidential campaigns and founder of a constellation of political fund-raising groups, has called Donald Trump ‘a complete idiot.’ He has described him as ‘graceless and divisive.’ He has said Mr. Trump’s boasts about beating Hillary Clinton in the polls are false.”

“Mr. Trump has reacted with anger to such insults, calling Mr. Rove ‘sad’ and questioning his record of success.”

“But two weeks ago, Mr. Trump and Mr. Rove held a private meeting just as the presumptive Republican nominee was courting major party figures.”

What If Clinton Is Indicted?

Karl Rove games out the possibility of Hillary Clinton being indicted for problems stemming from her private email server.

“The party establishment might balk at having the ticket led by someone mired in a national-security scandal or by Mr. Sanders, a socialist and independent who has never before sought election as a Democrat or attended a state or national convention.”

“Instead, the party establishment might move to replace Mrs. Clinton with Vice President Joe Biden, a sentimental favorite, or Secretary of State John Kerry, whom many in the party’s leadership think more substantive, less prone to gaffes and, because of his 2004 loss against President George W. Bush, more deserving.”

Rove Gets Permission to Hide His Donors

The IRS quietly granted 501(c)(4) nonprofit status to Karl Rove’s political group Crossroads GPS, according to Open Secrets.

Rick Hasen: “That implicitly gives a green light to ‘social welfare groups’ to spend enormous sums on political ads, all without disclosing where these groups get their money… For anyone worried about the effect of money on American politics, super PACs are a pernicious development. But at least contributions to super PACs have to be disclosed. Crossroads GPS found a way around that requirement.”

“The Crossroads GPS decision is likely to open the door to more shadow super PACs set up as nondisclosing social welfare groups.”

Karl Rove Writing Book on the 1896 Election

Coming the fall: The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters by Karl Rove.

The AP notes that since at least 2000, Rove “has spoken of the 1896 election as a turning point that ended years of deadlock in Washington and led to a generation of Republican prevalence, an outcome to which he aspired while working with Bush and obviously desires for 2016.”