Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
It’s not yet clear just who will be the ultimate beneficiary, but someone in the Republican Party is in line for a massive inflow of campaign money.
Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group backed by billionaire Charles Koch, sent a memo to staff on Sunday outlining the organization’s intention to back a Republican candidate in the 2024 race.
CNN, citing a highly placed source within Americans for Prosperity, reported later in the day that AFP had no intention of backing former President Donald Trump, whose name was not mentioned in the original memo.
“AFP Action is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our country forward, and who can win [the general election],” Emily Seidel, CEO of Americans for Prosperity, wrote in the memo.
The majority of criticism in the memo was of the self-reflective variety as Seidel said the organization had failed to push enough quality candidates soon enough in the electoral process to get the results they wanted.
“If we want to elect better people, we need better candidates,” Seidel wrote. “And if we want better candidates, we’ve got to get involved in elections earlier and in more primaries.”
Seidel also shared two “hard truths” under which the AFP was operating. Specifically, Republican candidates had deviated from the desires of American voters and Democrats were seeking to make America, not America.
“The Republican Party is nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles. And the American people are rejecting them,” Seidel wrote. “The Democratic Party increasingly sees this as a political opportunity. And they’re responding with more and more extreme policies — policies that also go against our core American principles.”
She added, “This means the country is in a downward spiral, with both parties reinforcing the bad behavior of the other.”
AFP’s memo did not indicate precisely which type of candidate the group wants or what specific desires of the American people were being overlooked.
It is important to note that Koch and AFP could be misreading the American people. In 2016, a common criticism of Trump from the right was that he was too far afield for a general electorate.
Indeed, Koch is among the people Trump might now label “Republican in Name Only (RINO).” CNBC reported last August that the Koch brothers were quietly backing Liz Cheney in her bid to be reelected to Congress in Wyoming, an effort that failed spectacularly thanks to a groundswell of support for eventual winner Harriet Hageman and authentic displeasure at Cheney for joining the Jan. 6 committee.
Trump has not yet commented on the matter — and it’s a 50-50 proposition if he will even accept CNN’s reporting as factual — but he is no fan of establishment Republicans.
The former president’s lack of affinity for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is well documented, as is his aversion to men like former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a moderate-to-center-left Republican.
When news emerged last week that Hogan was mulling a run for president and had been noncommittal on supporting Trump if the former president wins a third consecutive Republican nomination, Trump responded with venom.
“Let me make it easy on RINO Larry Hogan, who is not going anywhere, ZERO chance, whether he announces for President, or not,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “I don’t want Larry Hogan’s endorsement, and won’t accept it if it is given to me. Is it possible to say it any simpler than that? Thank you!”
But, Trump and his supporters would be foolish to discount the potential impact of a national AFP effort to get someone else into the general election.
Wyoming was a definitive win for Trump, but the rural state is not even typical of red states, much less the country.
Jettisoning Liz Cheney is a comparably easier task than besting a well-funded Republican opponent with broad appeal.
And the one thing no one can accuse any Koch-backed enterprise of being is short on cash.
“Our country must move past the current political situation — we’ve got to turn the page on the past several years,” Seibel wrote, later adding, “Lots of people are frustrated. But very few people are in a position to do something about it. AFP is. Now is the time to rise to the occasion.”