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The Koch Brothers' Plan to Prevent Future AOCs
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49583"><span class="small">Luke Darby, GQ</span></a>   
Tuesday, 11 June 2019 12:32

Darby writes: "Charles and David Koch are probably, justifiably, the richest conservative bogeymen in the U.S. Collectively, they're referred to as the Koch brothers - though that excludes their less notorious brothers Frederick and Bill."

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (photo: Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (photo: Getty Images)

The Koch Brothers' Plan to Prevent Future AOCs

By Luke Darby, GQ

11 June 19

The billionaire activists are going to get involved in Democratic primaries to help protect incumbents.

harles and David Koch are probably, justifiably, the richest conservative bogeymen in the U.S. Collectively, they're referred to as the Koch brothers—though that excludes their less notorious brothers Frederick and Bill. Charles and David are worth an estimated $50 billion each, thanks to Koch Industries, the sprawling business empire that covers petroleum, chemical manufacturing, timber, ranching, finance, the list goes on. They're hardcore libertarians and influential behind-the-scenes political activists, providing money for so many right-wing think tanks, political organizations, and PR campaigns that investigative reporter Jane Mayer wrote a 500-page book, Dark Money, about their shockingly successful efforts to reshape American politics. Their funding helped to drive the faux-grassroots Tea Party movement and established the libertarian Cato Institute, the think tank that crusades against progressive causes like health-care reform and environmental regulation. And now, the Kochs are turning their attention to the Democratic Party.

In a memo obtained by CNBC, Emily Seidel, CEO of the Koch-affiliated political-action committee Americans for Prosperity, announced that the organization would be backing incumbent Democrats against progressive primary challenges in the upcoming congressional primaries. The memo laid out AFP's new objectives, including:

Support the primary election of lawmakers, regardless of political party, who stick their necks out to lead diverse policy coalitions. The threat of being primaried prevents policymakers from leading on difficult issues and driving principled policy reforms. AFP or AFP Action will be ready to engage contested U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state-level primary races, including Republican, Democrat, Independent or otherwise, to support sitting legislators who lead by uniting with others to pass principled policy and get good things done.

Those "good things" include, for example, the Republican tax cuts from 2017, which slashed the taxes for Koch Industries by as much as $1.4 billion a year. Considering that the Kochs contributed $20 million to getting the bill passed, the return on investment is pretty good.

The twisted part of the claim that primaries keep politicians from "leading on difficult issues" is that the Koch network, as Mayer documented in her book, regularly funded primary challenges against incumbent Republicans who didn't stick closely enough to Koch-endorsed policies. And since they're known for cynically calculating decisions, it should raise all sorts of alarms that they now want to get involved in Democratic primaries. By bankrolling incumbents, they can potentially shut out future progressive upstarts like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, both of whom beat long-sitting congressmen in 2018. The most ominous part of this plan is how much it dovetails with the objectives of the Democratic establishment, like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, ostensibly dedicated to electing Democrats to the House of Representatives. The DCCC, which is consistently to the right of the party's voters, recently announced that it would blacklist any consultants or vendors that worked with candidates running against Democratic incumbents.

The Kochs and other libertarian billionaires have probably realized by now that centrist Democrats—self-described liberals who support tax cuts, deregulating industries, and privatizing public services—are more reliable allies than ambitious and popular progressives with a concrete political agenda. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, has only been in office for six months but has helped make Medicare for All and the Green New Deal—which would be a particular headache for Koch Industries—national issues during a presidential primary. The Joe Bidens of the party are much more sympathetic to the plight of the super-rich than the Elizabeth Warrens, after all. And since today's Republicans can't go farther right than they already have, it makes good business sense to now start pulling Democrats in that direction.

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+27 # librarian1984 2019-06-11 15:51
It wouldn't be as much of a problem if the D-establishment wouldn't take Koch money, but we know they will.

No one can defend this party anymore. They. Are. Not. Democrats.

They support war, free trade agreements, deregulation, pipelines, fossil fuels, tax cuts, Big Pharma and Wall Street. They do not support unions or the people or schools or acting against climate change.

A few years ago I'd have said that continuing to vote for these DINOs only prolongs our collective pain, but now you'd have to say that enabling them virtually guarantees catastrophic climate events.

The Kochs are toxic, and the Democraps are salivating to take their money. And why do the Kochs want them? Because they know they are really Republicans.
+7 # randrjwr 2019-06-12 10:20
Right on!! An excellent summary of our problems and perils. Thank you, librarian1984.
+7 # LionMousePudding 2019-06-12 00:47
I want to scream and tear my hair out.
+6 # HDSMTS 2019-06-12 07:22
They also know the "centrist" Dems (most of whom would have been Republicans ten years ago) are terrified of losing their cushy, well-paid, well-insured, well-pensioned positions. They'll take whatever money they can get and, like Republicans, ensure the rules favor their interests.
+6 # Paul Bunion 2019-06-12 12:44
One correction: Republicans can and will move further to the right
+7 # tedcloak 2019-06-12 13:00
The only way I can see to bust this is to make money much less important to winning elections. Heavy duty grass roots organizing and small amount donating for progressive Democratic challengers could do it. Follow Bernie's model!
+3 # lfeuille 2019-06-12 20:53
We need public financing of elections. The small donor bit just wont work when you have every congressperson and senator hounding every registered democrat for donations 3 or 4 times a day. No one can respond to that. It only works if the solicitations are kept local for the most part but the pols aren't willing to do that.
+4 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-06-12 14:58
The Kochs were behind Tea Party taking on incumbent Republicans. Now they want to keep incumbent Democrats. Obviously the incumbent Democrat are already taking Koch money. They are Kochsuckers.
+5 # Diz 2019-06-13 07:53
We may perhaps take some solace in noting that the Koch Brothers were not able to stop the nomination and eventual election of Donald Trump, and thus they may not be able to prevent the future election of more AOCs.