Why is Karl Rove trying to help Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination?
Four years after Karl Rove wasted over $300 million from establishment GOP donors in his unsuccessful attempt to use his Super PAC American Crossroads to elect Mitt Romney president, he’s started running ads in the Democratic primary race against Hillary Clinton in Iowa. Why?
Back in 2012, Rove raised all that money to run anti-Obama and pro-Romney ads. This year Crossroads is probably finding it hard to make an argument for investing in its efforts, because donors are still smarting from 2012’s failed campaign, and they are feeling fleeced again after giving to Jeb Bush’s lackluster 2016 presidential campaign and Super PAC.
In a year when advertising dollars have done little to move voters, that won’t stop Rove from trying. So how is a GOP establishment Super PAC manager supposed to survive in 2016? He just has to be more creative in his dog-and-pony show to donors. “It looks like the Brooklyn Bridge isn’t for sale, but look over here. Here’s the Manhattan Bridge. Let’s see if we can buy this one!” In other words, pivot away from helping establishment GOP candidates, and run ads in the Democratic primary.
Now, Rove is likely making the case to the big GOP donors, who are a little Super PAC shy, that he’s the only one who can stop Hillary from being elected president. More specifically, they have to stop her in the Democratic primary because the leading GOP candidates, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, can’t beat her in the general election. The old socialist from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, is an easier opponent for Trump or Cruz in November. So don’t waste your money with Bush, Rubio, Kasich, Christie. Send it to Crossroads. That’s the best investment. Rove will beat Clinton in the primary, so we will have a chance of winning in the general. That’s the pitch from Rove, and it’s just got to be the motivation behind the anti-Clinton ads.
Now we should start off by saying that Karl Rove has virtually NO credibility when it comes to predicting who will or will not win an election.
(Remember how convinced he was in 2012 that Romney had won Ohio.)
However he does have a point that Sanders will have a tough time in the general convincing folks, who are learning about him for the first time, that he is the best choice.
Like it or not, a lot of people vote based on name recognition, and if he is up against Donald "The Apprentice" Trump he is going to have a hard slog.
However with Clinton the name recognition is not a factor.
And of course the other problem is the term socialist, which, like it or not, is indeed a big deal in a general election where such a seemingly un-American label may possibly be an insurmountable obstacle.
WE may be okay with it, because we understand the distinction between a Socialist and a Democratic Socialist, but that does not mean the average voter is going to take the time to learn the difference, or even care once they do.
Well at least that is what Karl Rove is banking on.