Rove on ’16 – Positive Vision More Important for GOP than Hillary-Bashing

Karl Rove, architect of George W. Bush’s successful presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the most likely Republican candidate to secure the party’s nomination in 2016 will be the one who focuses on solutions to our country’s problems rather than constantly bashing their Democratic counterparts.

The 2016 GOP primaries will take place in the fastest news cycle ever. As one observer puts it, “rapid response” has become “immediate response.” How candidates seize unexpected opportunities, handle moments of adversity or react in times of triumph could matter more than in any GOP contest in 50 years.

That raises the importance of “message.” Candidates who make it to the finals will be those who focus more on solutions than on problems, more on the future than the past, and who heed the words of Proverbs: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” To broaden the GOP’s appeal, virtually every hopeful is already fashioning a middle-class agenda to increase economic mobility and reduce government dependency.

In a large field, a candidate’s proficiency in bashing President Obama or Hillary Clinton will have surprisingly limited value. Anyone who spends an inordinate amount of energy assaulting other Republican contenders may damage himself. Fierce, especially personal, attacks will create a low ceiling for the assailant while benefiting candidates who stay out of the fracas.

The finalists are likely to be unifiers who win a dominant share of one element of the party and substantial support among others, much as last year’s crop of successful Republican Senate candidates did in their primaries.

Read Rove’s full column here.