INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (Reuters) – The conservative Koch network spent its annual donor conference celebrating policy victories under President Donald Trump such as the tax overhaul, but the elation was tinged with anxiety over November’s congressional elections that could pose a risk to its agenda.
To that end, the network plans to spend what would be unprecedented sums for the Kochs to maintain Republican majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, while trying to sell voters on the benefits of the newly passed tax package, according to network officials who briefed reporters on their strategy during the conference this weekend in Indian Wells, California.
Historically, the party in power loses seats in congressional elections after a new president’s election. This year, Republican angst is compounded by Trump, whose tumultuous presidency helped galvanize Democratic and independent voters to go to the polls in special and state elections last year.
“It’s going to be a very challenging environment,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots political group that is part of the Koch network. “The left is energized. There’s no question about that.”
The network is prepared to spend up to $400 million on the congressional races – a 60 percent increase from its investment in the 2016 election, officials said.
Energy magnates Charles and David Koch have long been outsized players in Republican politics, but they never warmed to Trump during the 2016 campaign.
With Trump in the White House, however, they have seen several policy goals realized, including the tax legislation and cutting federal regulations.
But the Koch network still diverges from the Republican president on issues such as immigration and trade. The Kochs strongly support legislation that would protect “Dreamers” – people brought illegally to the United States as children – from deportation.
Two Koch operatives, Daniel Garza and Jorge Lima, were at the White House on Friday to try to help broker a deal with Congress over the Dreamers. The network issued a statement on Friday disagreeing with a proposal in Trump’s immigration blueprint that would set new limits on legal immigration.
On trade, Phillips and other Koch operatives are deeply concerned about the administration’s moves to impose tariffs on some imports and ardently support the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, which is being renegotiated and that Trump has threatened to abandon.
Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, was an attendee at the Koch event, a measure of the network’s deep ties to conservatives in Congress and an example of the leverage it would lose should Democrats take control next year.
Of the $400 million the network is looking to spend, $20 million will go toward promoting the tax law, which passed Congress in December and included big cuts in corporate tax rates along with tax reductions for many individuals.
Polls at the time of passage showed Americans divided about the bill’s merits, but Phillips said he believed that would change as voters see increased paychecks. Democrats condemned the tax measure as favoring corporations and the rich.
Americans for Prosperity is positioned to be a ground-level force in the congressional elections. Its largest presence is in Florida, where Democratic Senator Bill Nelson may face a fight from Republican Governor Rick Scott. The group also has offices in Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin, among other states, all of which are expected to see highly competitive Senate races.
Phillips said his group would likely stay out of Republican primaries.
One variable hanging over the Kochs’ effort is Trump. Republican losses in a special U.S. Senate election in Alabama last month and a governor’s race in Virginia in November were attributed in part to discontent with the president.
In 2010, Republicans seized on voter worries about Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, known as Obamacare, to capture the House and thwart Obama’s policy goals.
For the Koch network, the challenge will be to avoid having every local race become a referendum on the president, which could propel a Democratic wave.
Neo-Con & Israeli Puppet Dan Crenshaw Lies About America First Patriots, Just Like He Did About Trump
Dan Crenshaw continued an onslaught of attacks against Nick Fuentes, Michelle Malkin, and America First patriots by labeling them “vehement racists, antisemites, & ethnic nationalists”. This is a far cry from the truth. He also went on again to call America First patriots as ‘antisemitic’ in a response to Michelle Malkin blocking him. Dan Crenshaw also supported Red Flag laws, something that also got him a lot of flack. He also criticized Donald Trump in 2016 on top of coming out in favor of same-sex marriage, all of which that has been questioned and exposed of Mr. McCain, oops, we mean Crenshaw.
It is very apparent Mr. Crenshaw has nothing but an ‘Israel First’ policy, constantly making linear conclusions between conservatism and support for Israel. Making his own opinion that if you don’t support Israel, you don’t support America. A very sick and warped view of America Politics in general, some would say traitorous. Dan Crenshaw represents the worse the establishment can offer so far, he must be unseated, exposed, and further more shammed from the conservative movement, along with all the other conservative grifters and Conservative Inc. types.
Matt is correct. They use slogans like “America first” to get conservatives to sympathize with them. But after personally dealing with them, it’s pretty obvious they are vehement racists, anti-semites & ethnic-nationalists.
Conservatives need to know the difference. https://t.co/9PHwWumnU0
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 19, 2019
I guess it’s offensive to point out that conservatives are 100% different than these misguided alt-right anti-semites?
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 19, 2019
Dan on Red Flag Gun Laws:
It’s clear that there has been some confusion about what conservatives would support when it comes to laws that try to better protect our communities. Let’s address this directly. Watch. pic.twitter.com/TRYjPIclEm
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) August 10, 2019
Dan’s Facebook Post from 2016 denouncing Trump’s “hateful rhetoric”:
Conservative Inc. Coordinates Attack on Nick Fuentes and Michelle Malkin for being America First Patriots
Since the ‘Groyper War’ Phase 1 was a decisive victory following the November 14th ‘Change my Mind’ rip-off Charlie Kirk attempted to pull off, this late weekend we’ve seen a new onslaught of attacks from many mainstream Republican pundits, attacking Nick Fuentes and Michelle Malkin for their American First allegiance. Conservative Inc. is scared of the true conservatives exposing them and their big donor’s motives & hypocrisy. Even YAF (Young Americans Foundation) who even recently hosted Michelle Malkin, disavowed “holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists”. A slew of other clips and comments were made by Guy Benson, Michael Knowles, Stephen Miller, Bradon Tatum,Jordan Schachtel, & Matt Walsh.
Twitter threads about Fuentes and Malkin
There is no room in mainstream conservatism or at YAF for holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists.
Our full statement below: pic.twitter.com/b5EB7P53v3
— YAF (@yaf) November 17, 2019
The Cancel culture is alive & well—Michelle Malkin is their latest victim. If conservatism dies it’s not because of Trump, the alt-right or a faux Russia collusion. It’s because it’s filled with cowards who enable the delegitimization efforts of the Left https://t.co/1GfpDugUsV
— Denise McAllister (@McAllisterDen) November 18, 2019
Michelle Malkin identified a Holocaust denier & open anti-Semite, whose history she was well aware of, & repeatedly proclaimed to crowds that she would not disavow him. She then falsely ID'd him as a leader of a mainstream movement. Her conduct is insanely harmful & inexcusable.
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) November 17, 2019
‘Groyper’ leader on segregation:
“Enough with the Jim Crow stuff. Who cares? ‘Oh, I had to drink out of a different water fountain.’ Big f—ing deal…oh no, they had to go to a different school…And even if it was bad, who cares?…it was better for them, it’s better for us.” pic.twitter.com/ZJ7LqpTHgL
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 18, 2019
Wait a second…
Are you telling me the guy who publicly supports Jim Crow, marched with Richard Spencer, says the Holocaust didn't happen, called for executions at CNN, and refers to people as "shabbos goy race traitors" might have a problem with certain racial minorities? https://t.co/BrOxub1r0y
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) November 18, 2019
Problems like that fucking green screen nerd Fuentes usually solve themselves. If Malkin wants to choose to be flushed with that turd, so be it.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) November 18, 2019
No, I went back and watched your shows. You come across as a racist. If this video is edited, post the unedited version were you don't sound like a white supremacis.
Don't complain about @charliekirk11 when you send your people after him.
— Brandon Tatum (@TheOfficerTatum) November 18, 2019
Hi @michellemalkin. Fuentes called me a "race traitor" and "f*ggot" because I "work for Jews." He also said that black people who complained about segregation needed to "grow up." How do you feel about these statements? And in what way are they "America First"? https://t.co/fz8qcXrRCl
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) November 18, 2019
Tweets Supporting Fuentes and Malkin
The Keepers of the Gate have spoken. #AmericaFirst is not "mainstream." My defense of unjustly prosecuted Proud Boys, patriotic young nationalists/groypers & demographic truth-tellers must not be tolerated. SPLC is cheering. https://t.co/yYyqocx1T5
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) November 17, 2019
When Ben Shapiro wrote his column advocating ethnic cleansing of Arabs, he was about the same age as Nick Fuentes is now.
Yet Shapiro, who expects a pass for his quasi-genocidal columns, offers no decency to those who have said the same type of fucked of shit he was saying.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) November 17, 2019
— The Hill (@thehill) November 17, 2019
Do you hear that? It's the sound of Kirk screaming. pic.twitter.com/vcT3ISeS6a
— Mister AntiBully (@MisterAntiBully) November 18, 2019
No Nation Is An Idea
The concept that “America is a timeless placeholder of ideas” is a common talking point that has been in circulation from both Conservative Inc., and the broader American Left for many years now. This saying is typically used as a divergence from addressing important policies as they pertain to mass immigration. Often, it is also used to stifle the growth of an American National Populist movement. Clearly, the unelected elites calling shots around the Western world seek to undermine valid and critical debate of the role of National Populism. Rather than emphasizing the importance of health, stable families, community, housing, and wages, our leaders have an obsession with growing GDP, doing the bidding of predatory crony capitalists who are constantly pushing to import cheap labor, and retaining power for generations to come.
The fact of the matter is, Americans (and humans in general) seek more than cheap, 4k television sets, quirky tupper-ware for last night’s leftovers, and salad shooters that break after a few uses. We are innately spiritual beings who long for community, order, and social cohesion. The United States of America is not an idea… actually, no nation is an idea. As further disorder ensues among the population, the elites have made sure to use their corporate-funded foot soldiers as a means to promote a very new, Neo-Liberal agenda. This agenda is the concept that the beautiful mountains, forests, and lakes of our Nation would mean absolutely nothing without this arbitrary term of “ideas.” The blood, sweat, and tears American workers shed producing automobiles in Michigan, the early mornings for the farmers of Iowa, and the dedicated fishermen of California, all mean nothing if this is but a plot of land where the British came to talk about the importance of small government.
Although we can appreciate the writings of philosophers like John Stuart Mill, John Locke, and Adam Smith, the “marketplace of ideas” means absolutely nothing to people who see the world completely different than you. It is apparent that the philosophy of our ancestors and founding fathers have changed the world. In an American context, the very concepts of things like liberty, freedom of speech, and the right to bear arms should be held in the highest regard. Among Conservatives and the American Right, these values are not even up for debate. Unfortunately, much of Conservative Inc. (who are just liberals who want to keep more of their money) do not recognize (or are blatantly ignorant to) the sacrifices made by the ones who came before them.
To put this into perspective, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk previously stated, “I have loyalty to ideas.” Kirk says, “Of course I love the Grand Canyon. I love the Rocky Mountains. And I love Boston. And I love Chicago. But if all that disappeared, if all I had was ideas, and we were on an island, that’s America. That’s Israel. And that’s what people have to realize, America’s just a placeholder for timeless ideas. And if you fall too in love with, oh, the specific place, and all this…that’s not what it is.” What Kirk fails to recognize is that the physical reality of a Nation is what manifests those very ideas he holds so dear.
Nations are unique, with celebrations and folktales that those who inhabit the land feel relation to. Nations are made up of a people. Nations are traditions. Nations are land, resources, and landmarks. Nations are history – the good, the bad, and the ugly. No Nation is an idea.