31 Mar 2008

Karl Rove Advises the Democrats

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In Newsweek, Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s political strategist supreme, pitches in to help out the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

It will be a contested convention, Karl predicts.

After the last Democratic primary is held in early June, neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will have enough votes from delegates elected in caucuses or primaries to be declared the nominee. Obama would have to win 76 percent and Clinton 98 percent of the 535 delegates that are at stake in the final eight contests. Neither will happen.

How do you win one of those?

Control the Convention Mechanism. If you set the rules, decide who votes, organize the event and control what is said, it’s almost impossible to lose. So while Democratic National Committee chief Howard Dean is ostensibly in charge, both candidates would be well advised to gain control of the levers of the convention.

Three committees are key. The Rules Committee is where trouble can begin. Someone will come up with a smooth-sounding rules change that will give one candidate the advantage or the appearance of having a majority of the delegates. There will be an early test vote: the key is to pick what it is and win it. It’s likely to be obscure—the election of a temporary chairman, say—or contrived. But it will establish who’s in charge.

Read the whole thing.

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