Grassroots Republican operatives and Movement conservatives are quickly turning against the GOP Establishment in the wake of the party’s expensive defeat this election cycle.
Republicans we spoke to this week voiced a near-universal disgust with the national Republican Party leaders and Washington political class, who are seen as having put their personal financial interest above winning the election.
As this internecine struggle gathers steam, the first target appears to be Karl Rove, the former Bush campaign mastermind who has dictated much of the GOP’s strategy over the past decade.
In the wake of the party’s 2012 losses, however, Rove and his well-funded American Crossroads super PAC have become a symbol of misguided Establishment strategy, party cronyism, and Beltway bloat. The fall from grace is perhaps unsurprising, given his group’s disastrous performance this cycle. According to a new report, American Crossroads got a mere 1% return on its $104 million investment in 2012 races.
For social conservatives, Rove’s treason began long before election day, when the Fox News contributor led the party’s tar-and-feathering of Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, who came under fire for his now infamous “legitimate rape” comments. The party’s perceived betrayal of Akin confirmed what many grassroots conservative activists had long suspected: That the Republican Establishment was willing to throw the base under the bus to serve the interests of deep-pocketed donors.
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