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Donald Trump Has a Powerful New Enemy

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

It seems the mighty Koch network is trying to jump into the 2024 GOP Presidental primary and will back one candidate.

The kicker: the candidate won’t be Donald J. Trump.

And that is a really big deal. 

From CNN this AM: 

“The deep-pocketed network associated with billionaire Charles Koch is preparing to throw its money and weight behind a single Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential primary – in a move that could significantly reshape the GOP field.

Americans for Prosperity Action, the main political arm of the Koch network, “is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our country forward, and who can win,” Emily Seidel, the CEO of Americans for Prosperity and a top adviser at AFP Action, wrote in a memo released Sunday.

The memo does not mention Donald Trump, but an official with AFP Action confirmed to CNN that the network is not planning to support the former president’s White House bid.”

Could the Koch network have the money and influence to beat Donald Trump?

A short answer: no. And even if they did, it could backfire – bigly. 

I say that because Donald Trump transformed the Republican Party from being a pro-business, low taxes party to a MAGA-centric populist party.

While the Koch network and MAGA share some similarities – they both want a restrained foreign policy (there are some exceptions for sure) and share some libertarian commonalities – that is where the similarities end. 

Where the Kochs and Trump diverge in a major way is trade. Team Koch was very much against China tariffs and is very much for free trade across the board, with no exceptions – like the GOP was before Donald Trump ran in 2015. 

The challenge for the Koch Brothers is Donald Trump brought in so many new voters into the GOP that those voters are uniquely tied to him. Even if Koch could sway the 2024 GOP primary and somehow hand the election to, say, Mike Pence or Mike Pompeo, MAGA voters would be enraged. It could even be enough to get Donald Trump to go Teddy Roosevelt and form his own version of a Bull Moose Party and run as a third-party candidate. 

Tred carefully, mighty Koch brothers. 

Written By

Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive and serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. He served on the Russia task force for U.S. Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz, and in a similar task force in the John Hay Initiative. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree in International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization. Kazianis also has a background in defense journalism, having served as Editor-In-Chief at The Diplomat and Executive Editor for the National Interest.



  1. Thomas T Holmes

    February 5, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    Trump can’t win. Over 60% of the American people consistently tell pollsters they won’t support Trump. Why should the GOP commit hari-kari for Trump?

  2. Steven Naslund

    February 6, 2023 at 4:42 am

    Where have you been? The Koch’s never supported Trump in the first place. Also, the influence of the Koch brothers is just about zero among most Republican voters. If you dig into Trump’s campaign finances you will see that they are very largely populous small donations. He also needs a lot less in campaign funds since every thing he says makes news. Even though a lot of it may seem like negative coverage, it is positive for his base since he looks more and more correct about media bias (true or not).

    I also find it amusing when decidedly biased left reporters tell Republicans what is wrong with their party while the Democratic party just lost control of the House, Biden’s approval is at historic low, and even Dems do not want their incumbent President to run for office again. You can take all the shots you want at Trump and if you succeed in eliminating him from the race you are leaving DeSantis to take up the torch. Good luck with that strategy.

    Isn’t it funny that this site’s politics section features FOUR negative Trump stories and not one regarding the current President?

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