Karl Rove writing book about 1896 presidential election and why it still matters

Republican consultant Karl Rove, when not advising the super political action committee he helped found or commenting on politics, has been researching a presidential election that has long fascinated him.

The co-founder of American Crossroads and former top aide to President George W. Bush has a book coming out in November about the 1896 race between Democrat William Jennings Bryan and the man who defeated him and became the 25th president of the United States, Republican William McKinley.

Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Thursday that the book is called “The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters.”

Rove said during a recent telephone interview that he had been working on the book for a couple of years and accumulated many bins of archival material.

“It has violence and betrayal and ambition and great integrity, and really cool nicknames,” said Rove, who seemed to have encyclopedic knowledge of the race, telling detailed stories about the parties’ platforms, strategies and power brokers.

Since at least 2000, Rove has spoken of the 1896 election as a turning point that ended years of deadlock in Washington and led to a generation of Republican prevalence, an outcome to which he aspired while working with Bush and obviously desires for 2016.

Rove credits McKinley with running the first modern primary campaign and first modern campaign during a general election.

“Anybody who takes politics seriously will come across this election,” said Rove, citing such parallels to 2016 as the debates over immigration and economic inequality.

McKinley served from March 1897 until his assassination in September 1901.

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