As Team WIN THE MORNING points out, in a post-Citizens United world, the Koch brothers have figured out the game more quickly than everybody else in either party and they’re playing it even more skillfully. Why bother with buying national party machinery when you can just bring your own people in to run things?
The Koch brothers and their allies are pumping tens of millions of dollars into a data company that’s developing detailed, state-of-the-art profiles of 250 million Americans, giving the brothers’ political operation all the earmarks of a national party.
The move comes as mainstream Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, are trying to reclaim control of the conservative movement from outside groups. The Kochs, however, are continuing to amass all of the campaign tools the Republican National Committee and other party arms use to elect a president.
The Koch network also has developed in-house expertise in polling, message-testing, fact-checking, advertising, media buying, dial groups and donor maintenance. Add mastery of election law, a corporate-minded aggressiveness and years of patient experimentation — plus seemingly limitless cash — and the Koch operation actually exceeds the RNC’s data operation in many important respects.
“The Koch operations are the most important nonparty political players in the U.S. today, and no one else is even close,” said a top Republican who has been involved in the last eight presidential campaigns.
Two years ago the Kochs worked with the Drive The All New Reince Priebus and ended up with Mitt Romney, somebody that even they didn’t have enough money to buy the White House with. This time around, the plans seems to be to just cut out the RNC middleman and exercise that free speech directly with your own party apparatchiks.
Heading into 2016, the Koch network — under the auspices of Freedom Partners — has in many ways surpassed the reach and resources of the RNC. And, unlike the party, it isn’t bound by rules requiring it to maintain neutrality in primaries. Though the network has yet to engage in primaries, that could be the next logical step in its progression from apolitical think tank consortium to aggressive privatized political machine.
The best president money can buy, tanned field-tested, and ready. Of course this is the logical endpoint of “private sector solutions to public sector problems” and all that messy democracy crap, right?