This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Republican strategist Karl Rove said he expects Donald Trump will fall short of winning the party's presidential nomination, setting the stage for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or possibly Ohio Gov. John Kasich to emerge from the Cleveland convention as the Republican nominee.
In television interviews and print columns, Rove has castigated Trump, saying it is imperative that the party keep him from winning the nomination.
"I'm a conservative, and his record is not that of being conservative, and I could enumerate a large number of positions … where his views are distinctly not conservative," Rove said.
Rove was deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to President George W. Bush. The strategist said Trump supported Bush's opponent, Sen. John Kerry, in 2004 and complained that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn't try to impeach Bush during her time running the House.
Secondly, Rove said, Trump's lack of policy knowledge is astonishing for example, a recent claim that he could wipe out the country's $19 trillion debt in eight years without cutting entitlements like Social Security and Medicare or other mandatory spending.
"His lack of knowledge about what needs to be done and how it ought to be done is simply jaw-dropping," Rove said. "He's not a principled Republican and, finally, he just doesn't know what the heck to do."
Rove said it's unlikely Trump will win 62 percent of the remaining delegates he needs to win the nomination going into the July convention. He anticipates the candidate will come up about 130 votes short, meaning a brokered convention.
Rove was in Utah on Wednesday, campaigning for Gov. Gary Herbert, meeting delegates at an event at Vivint Smart Home Arena, praising Herbert's "exemplary record as governor" and extolling the economic growth the state has experienced.
Rove downplayed any potential fallout for other Republicans in Utah if Trump is the nominee, saying that Herbert at the top of the ticket could help rally the party.
"I think Gov. Herbert is a strong enough candidate at the top of the ticket [that] he'll be okay," said Rove, who attended Salt Lake City's Olympus High, "and Utah is a strong enough conservative state and the antipathy to Hillary Clinton is enough that we'll be okay. The coarseness and vulgarity with which [Trump] campaigns is distinctly not Utah."
Herbert said Rove volunteered to come to Utah to campaign after Herbert ran into him at a Republican Governors Association event.
The governor said he isn't worried about the down-ticket impact a Trump nomination or a contentious political battle might have on the November election.
"I think all politics is local, so I don't think it will have much impact one way or the other, frankly, on what happens in Utah," Herbert said.
On the electoral map, Rove said Trump would struggle to win any states that Mitt Romney lost in the 2012 election, with the possible exception of Florida. Cruz, he said, is more electable and could add Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado and New Hampshire to the Republicans' column.
But it is difficult to see how Cruz would fare better than Trump in those states. Trump beat Cruz by more than 20 points in Florida's Republican primary. Kasich and Trump both got twice as much support as Cruz in Ohio, and Trump got double the support of Cruz in Virginia. Trump beat Cruz by 24 points in the New Hampshire primaries.