Karl Rove: Democrats and Biden need a reality check over midterm performance

Karl Rove
Republican strategist Karl Rove speaking in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Karl Rove: Democrats and Biden need a reality check over midterm performance

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Former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove claimed on Thursday that the Biden administration and Democrats needed a reality check about President Joe Biden’s role in the midterm elections last month.

Citing a memo from White House senior adviser Mike Donilon that was sent to Washington, D.C., email boxes last week, Rove rejected the premise that Biden and his agenda were the reason that Democrats fared better than expected in the midterm elections.


“There are problems with the narrative,” Rove wrote in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. “The midterms had more to do with Republican missteps than with Biden administration successes.”

Democrats who separated themselves from the Biden administration actually fared better in the elections, Rove pointed out. For example, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) won a close reelection after highlighting opponent Herschel Walker’s “character and competence” rather than focusing on the president. Arizona Democrats, including gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs, focused on local issues rather than Biden, and Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) actually blamed Biden for the issues on the southern border.

Despite the examples Rove addressed, Rove said three factors led to the end-of-year rhetoric. The first is wanting to drop the narrative that fallout from Roe v. Wade, or “lousy” GOP candidates, led to Democratic successes. The second is signaling to the U.S. that Biden will focus on reelection in 2023 “instead of governing.” The third is that reelection would be easy for Biden, and that the U.S.’s “dark” days, such as inflation, are in the past.

“May I suggest a New Year’s resolution for White House aides? Stop trying to portray Mr. Biden as a political colossus,” Rove wrote. “He’s an 80-year-old with a 43.5% approval rating. Some two-thirds of Americans think the country is on the wrong track on his watch. Only 19% want him to run again.”

Rove added that former President Donald Trump would be the only candidate that would be “easy” for Biden to beat.

“Maybe Team Biden should develop another narrative, one based in reality, and devote next year to doing what the president promised in 2020: uniting the country and restoring a sense of normalcy,” Rove concluded.


Rove also highlighted Republican successes in the midterm elections, such as the dominance of the GOP in Ohio state offices, including the governor’s. The Ohio Senate seat also went to Republican J.D. Vance. Floridians and Georgians were also not swayed by Biden and the Democratic Party, Rove said. Warnock was the only major victory for Democrats in Georgia, but it helped them keep control of the Senate.

Republicans, however, did flip the House of Representatives, winning a total of 222 House seats, compared to 213 for Democrats. The new Congress will be sworn in next week, on Jan. 3, 2023.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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