Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Is Karl Rove doomed to irrelevance?

That's certainly the implication of The New York Times' analysis of Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, which for several elections has been "among the most powerful forces in national politics, a shadow party that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, data, and opposition research to help elect candidates." And while you can certainly never count out a political operative who's been as successful as Rove has, the Times makes a compelling case that the mighty may have indeed fallen.

The nonprofit arm of Crossroads is facing an Internal Revenue Service review that could eviscerate its fund-raising. Data projects nurtured by Mr. Rove are being supplanted in Republican circles by a more successful initiative funded by the Koch political network, which has leapfrogged the Crossroads organizations in size and reach.

And the group faces intense competition for donors from a new wave of "super PACs" that are being set up by backers of the leading Republican candidates for president, who are unwilling to defer to Mr. Rove's authority or cede strategic and fund-raising dominance to the organizations he helped start. [The New York Times]

The Times rattles off other factors, too: the death of Bob Perry and Harold Simmons, two of Crossroads' biggest donors; the losses of ever-so-many Crossroads-backed candidates in recent elections; the departure of top fundraisers like Ed Gillespie and Haley Barbour; Rove's rather unfriendly relationship with Jeb Bush; and on and on. Read the whole thing here.