Karl Rove: Trump’s bluster, Cruz’s thunder and Hillary’s ‘woman card’ misstep

FILE -- April 27, 2016: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up after giving a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

FILE -- April 27, 2016: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up after giving a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Every Monday, Fox News contributor Karl Rove wraps up the last week in politics and offers an inside look at the week ahead.

Bending the trend line

Donald Trump won Tuesday’s Acela primary with 110 delegates, seven more than Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com forecast were necessary to put him on a path to a 1,237 first-ballot victory and 16 more than the path to 1,155-1,159 on the first ballot.

Bending it back

How important is Indiana on Tuesday? So critical that even Ted Cruz admitted in a fundraising email on Friday that if Trump wins, the nomination battle will be over.

Not only must Cruz win Indiana, but he must win it big enough to bend the arc of the race back to a contested convention. The size of Trump’s Acela haul suggests Cruz has to win Indiana’s 27 winner-take-all delegates and 15 to 18 more delegates by carrying five or six of Indiana’s nine congressional districts, leaving Trump with nine to 12 Indiana delegates.

Self-funding or payback?

Donald Trump boasts he’s self-funding his campaign, but if that’s true, why do his Federal Election Commission reports show he has personally loaned his campaign $35,926,174 and donated only $317,471? Is he expecting Republicans to repay him if he wins the GOP nomination?

And while he has $9,234,831 in un-itemized contributions (many likely for purchases of campaign swag), he also has $3,010,066 in itemized donations (many of them in round amounts and therefore unlikely to be hat purchases). If he’s serious about self-funding, maybe he could return the contributions and ask the donors to give the money to the GOP?

… And for the Democrats

When Trump attacked Hillary Clinton, saying if she “were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote,” she responded with “Mr. Trump accused me of playing the ‘woman card.’ Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the ‘woman card,’ then deal me in.” That seemed to me like an answer for the Democratic primary, not the general election.

First, her too-cute new phrase, “Deal me in,” invokes the image of a blackjack dealer, with green eyeshade and cigarette dangling from one corner of her sneer. Second, why play into Trump’s argument? She should have broadened the argument to all his insults with a slap back – “That’s the kind of demeaning insults we’ve gotten far too many of from Mr. Trump” – and moved on.

In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama never explicitly emphasized he would be the first African-American president. Why didn’t Hillary follow his model?

The Democratic Party’s House of Lords has spoken

The New York Times reports that as of Sunday, 520 of the Democratic superdelegates are for Clinton, and 39 are for Sanders. That’s 93 percent to 7 percent. Sounds vaguely reminiscent of an Eastern European election result in the 1980s.


Clinton will win the nomination, but an interesting question is: What Does Bernie Want? He can’t claim to have started a political revolution and then let it die. So what does he extract as a price for party unity? Maybe he demands the end of superdelegates or platform planks binding the party to some of his Democratic-Socialist world view. Or does he – and his movement – go away? Inquiring minds want to know.

Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel as a political contributor in February 2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads. His latest book is "The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters" (Simon & Schuster, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @KarlRove.