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Karl Rove's Winning Plan for the GOP

Image: Karl Rove's Winning Plan for the GOP
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Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 08:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

To win the presidency in 2016, Karl Rove said Tuesday, a Republican candidate must offer a broad vision of the economy, a strong national security agenda, and must know how to “disagree without being disagreeable.”

In addition, the veteran Republican political operative, considered the architect of George W. Bush’s two winning presidential campaigns, told me that the next GOP nominee for president must reach out to the growing immigrant population.

Rove spoke to me after delivering the Bradley Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Focusing his remarks on his new book “The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters,” Rove also addressed the current campaign and pointed out what he felt the most important things a Republican had to do to succeed Barack Obama.

“There must be a vision for prosperity that includes ‘me,’” he said, referring to Americans at all economic levels.

Noting that Democrats are now talking increasingly of how “Wall Street is screwing you,” Rove said that Republicans should instead be talking of how to turn around “economic insecurity rather than economic inequality.”

Making one of his frequent analogies to the 1896 election that is the subject of his book, Rove noted that Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan “made the mistake of excoriating the rich.”

But McKinley, with help from a young New York politician named Theodore Roosevelt, put the Republican message of prosperity into one of a “piece of the action” for all Americans “and won the votes of laboring Americans,” he said.

Rove also said that another crucial message from the Republican presidential nominee this year will be how to “keep us safe,” national security being an issue of growing national urgency.

“And the Republican must do something different — disagree without being disagreeable,” he added. Rove recalled something he admired about then-Sen. Obama in 2008: “He laid out the impression that we didn’t have red or blue states but United States.”

Throughout his remarks at AEI, Rove drove home the point that immigration was growing rapidly in the years leading up to 1896 and “the immigrants came from unusual places—from the Croatian miners to the Portuguese fishermen.”

McKinley worked hard to court them, let them know they were welcome to become citizens in the U.S., “and he made them part of a frothy coalition of new party members,” he said.

Can Republicans in 2016 still reach out to immigrants, I asked.

“Yes, but they have to stay away from immigrant-bashing,” he told me, “And they need to let immigrants know they are welcome here. The refugees from the Middle East will come but they won’t be here in time to become voters. But there are many other immigrants that Republicans should reach out to.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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Karl Rove said a crucial message from the Republican presidential nominee this year will be how to “keep us safe,” national security being an issue of growing urgency.
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Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 08:05 AM
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