The Koch brothers have long been trying to return the Republicans to the White House, having spent some $400 million in 2012 supporting Mitt Romney. While this attempt failed the Koch brothers began to look ahead to both the 2014 mid term elections and the 2016 elections.
Charles Koch is well known as being part of the Koch brothers who currently own and operate Koch Industries which is the second largest private company in the United States. Charles and his brother David have long supported Conservative Republican candidates through various Super Pacs that they have founded and supported the largest of which is called Americans for Prosperity. During the 2016 Presidential election cycle the Koch brother supported Super Pacs are expected to put approximately $900 million into supporting their candidates.
When Donald Trump first emerged as a candidate the Koch brothers did not view him as a serious candidate that had a chance of capturing the Republican nomination and, like many others, were surprised by his popularity in the contest. The initially were planning on sitting out the primaries as there was no clear cut candidate who fit their views. However the emergence of trump who they view as dangerous to both the nation and the party have led them to begin to speak out about these concerns.
The Koch brothers are now considering any number of responses to the rise of Donald Trump. While they were previously firmly committed to supporting the republican nominee they would apparently be willing to sit out the election rather than to support Trump, even if this led to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders being elected. The Koch brothers seem to be even considering negative ads against Trump and to throw their support to any other candidate even if they are not ideal.
Outsiders and political commentators are beginning to see that perhaps the Super Pacs don’t have as much control over the election cycle as previously thought. While this may be difficult for the Koch brothers to understand it does show the role that populism has in an election.
For his part, Donald Trump has been critical of the impact that Super Pacs have on election cycles, though there are reports that Trump reached out to the Koch brothers requesting their support. Only when he was rebuffed by the Koch brothers did he begin to be critical of them and the funding that they provide to candidates who share their views.
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