If GOP consultant Karl Rove is trying to figure out why he’s struggling to rally support for his causes, maybe he should remember an old truth: that the Republican Party’s true strength is its conservative base.
Donations to Rove’s three political groups have dropped an astounding 98 percent since he waged his war on the tea party. Much of that decrease may be because 2013 was not an election year. But the plunge can also be attributed to donors’ realization that Republican candidates generally win elections only when they act Republican and not “Republican light.”
In 2012, Rove-founded groups took in an amazing $325 million, which was used to wage campaigns in presidential battleground states and help finance Senate candidates. That figure dropped to $6.1 million in 2013, according to Politico.
The super PAC American Crossroads took in about $1.6 million in the second half of 2013, while the nonprofit Crossroads GPS raised $1.1 million. The super PAC alone has $2.7 million cash on hand going into 2014.
A third group — the super PAC Conservative Victory Project — did no independent fundraising, aside from a $10,000 transfer from American Crossroads.
The “silent majority” of conservative voters Richard Nixon spoke of in a 1969 speech found their voice 40 years later, when they realized what was happening to America. They banded together to form a loose coalition of tea party organizations that accomplished what President Obama called the “shellacking” of Democrats in the 2010 midterms.
Those tea party candidates were mostly young, but most of all, they were true to the Constitution and conservative in their beliefs.
The candidates Rove supported in 2012, on the other hand, were plain-vanilla, establishment Republicans. And all those hundreds of millions his groups spent to get them elected went down the drain — he had nothing to show for it.
Instead of embracing the silent majority, he’s doubling down to fight them.
Rove formed the Conservative Victory Project in 2013 for one purpose: “to counterbalance the influence of Tea Party and conservative grassroots forces in GOP primaries,” according to Politico.
To crush the tea party in 2014 and minimize its influence, Rove also joined forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in December.
It’s time for him to learn from his failures and embrace the conservatives who have made the GOP what it was in the glory days. Off-election year aside, the figures tend to show that Rove is playing on the wrong team.
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