CRF Blog

A Model for Republicans

by Bill Hayes

In A Model for Republicans for the New York Times Book Review, reviews The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters by Karl Rove.

Writing six decades after the election of 1896 brought the retired Ohio governor William McKinley to the White House, the political scientist V. O. Key Jr. identified the Democratic defeat as “so demoralizing and so thorough that the party could make little headway in regrouping its forces until 1916.” The scale of this Republican success — a moment that ushered in a period of Republican Party ascendance that lasted until the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 — draws the attention of the prominent political strategist Karl Rove, who also views McKinley’s victory over the charismatic William Jennings Bryan as pivotal. Rove is in awe, rightly so, of McKinley’s political achievement, and his richly detailed, moment-by-moment account in “The Triumph of William McKinley” brings to life the drama of an electoral contest whose outcome seemed uncertain to the candidate and his handlers until the end. [more]