16 people who shaped the 2016 election: Katie Packer

By Nov. 9, the votes will have been cast and counted, there will be a winner and a loser, and the country will begin a slow return to normal. Historians will have their say on the outcome, but all of us who have lived through this election will carry away indelible memories of a shocking year in American history: of a handful of ordinary people, swept up in the rush of history; of a series of moments on which the fate of the nation seemed, at least briefly, to turn; and of places on the map that became symbols of a divided nation. As we count down to Election Day, Yahoo News has identified 16 unforgettable people, moments and places.

Katie Packer has been involved in Republican politics at the state and national level since 1988, when as a college student she volunteered for George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign. She worked for both of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns, in 2012 as deputy campaign manager. After that loss, she became a Republican consultant, co-founding “an all–female consulting firm specializing in researching, targeting, messaging and winning women voters.”

Like many in the GOP’s professional political class, she was appalled at the rise of Donald Trump. But unlike most, she never allowed her ambition to overcome her disgust for the candidate. She won’t endorse, support or vote for Trump, even under the fig leaf of backing “the nominee of our party.” In January, she founded Our Principles, a super-PAC dedicated to defeating Trump, which launched a series of attacks on the then frontrunner at its (apparently now-defunct) website Trump Questions.com.

Former chair of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele, chair of Our Principles PAC Katie Packer and moderator Chuck Todd appear on

Former chair of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele, chair of Our Principles PAC Katie Packer and moderator Chuck Todd appear on “Meet the Press.” (Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

Her intransigence was partly ideological (“I don’t think he’s a Republican, I don’t think he’s a conservative,” she told Yahoo News), partly personal (she supported Marco Rubio in the primary and was dating his deputy campaign manager) and partly self-interested (her business “has been stopped dead in our tracks because our party nominated someone who I consider a sexist pig … so it’s been very difficult to punch through with a message for women”). And she stuck with it, surprising “the many in Republican circles that expected that I would just fall in line, even though I said repeatedly I would never be for this guy and here are all the reasons why.” Trump supporters showered her with death threats and what she described to reporters as “the most hateful vitriol that I’ve ever encountered in 25 years in politics.”

It has been a difficult year for her, and as Election Day neared she was still undecided, leaning toward voting for independent Evan McMullin “because he’s the only Republican on the ballot.” On the other hand, she personally has emerged from the anonymous ranks of political consultants to a sought-after news-show guest. And in the expectation of a Clinton win, she is well positioned to be one of those picking up the pieces of the party: “I hope after this election to say to women: ‘Look, not all of us fell in line. We recognize that this guy is all the things you think he is.’” — By Jerry Adler 

Top former Romney aide launches anti-Trump super PAC
With less than two weeks until the Iowa caucuses, a new super PAC has formed with the intention of taking down Donald Trump. >>>

Death threats, vitriol all in a day’s work to block Trump’s path to nomination
The veteran Republican strategist who is leading a super PAC aimed at blocking Donald Trump from winning the GOP presidential nomination says she wakes up to death threats every morning. >>>

The groups trying to stop Donald Trump
There are several groups behind the “Stop Trump” or #NeverTrump effort. Currently, the different forces are not coordinated, but here’s a look at all those forces at work, and the connections they do have. >>>

Republicans bristle at notion they failed to vet Trump
Campaign operatives who competed against Donald Trump in the Republican primaries are bristling at suggestions they failed to fully investigate the businessman during his march to the nomination. >>>

[embedded content]


Powered by WPeMatico