On July 20th, a Republican U.S. Senator lost his main financial backers for having urged Republicans to vote for Donald Trump instead of for Hillary Clinton.
The Koch brothers speak with their words, which can’t be trusted, but they also speak with their money, their investments, which are always honest expressions of their actual beliefs and desires. This time, the Kochs spoke with their money, just a day after that Senator spoke with his words.
They spoke with their investments on July 19th, when they yanked their money from a U.S. Senator whom they had always financially backed, until now; and they did it immediately after that Senator not only went to the Republican National Convention where Donald Trump was to be nominated, but he gave there a powerful argument for Republicans to vote for Trump.
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, from Wisconsin, told the assembled Convention (and the far larger number of people outside the Convention), on July 19th (and this is what the Kochs abandoned him over):
Let me repeat that — RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS — slaughtering and brutalizing their innocent victims.
So the question is, when will America actually confront this terrible reality?
We certainly won’t if Democrats win in November. …
Hillary Clinton is asking America to give her Obama’s third term.
The world is simply too dangerous to elect either of them [either Democrat Russ Feingold who is running to win the Republican Johnson’s Senate seat, or Hillary Clinton].
Instead, America needs strong leadership. Leaders who will jumpstart our economy, secure our borders, strengthen our military, and accomplish the goal President Obama set over twenty-two months ago [but failed to fulfill]: We must defeat ISIS, and then remain fully committed to destroying Islamic terrorists wherever they hide. …
It is a fight we absolutely must win.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence understand that these must be America’s top priorities. They will be strong leaders, working with Republicans in the House and Senate to achieve a goal that can unite us all: A safe, prosperous, and secure America.
Our future hangs in the balance. We must unify, work tirelessly, and together, save this great nation.
Unlike John Kasich, who had refused even to attend the Convention at all, or Ted Cruz, who did attend but refused to say anything at all in favor of Trump, Johnson was now actually campaigning for Trump against Hillary.
The next day, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel bannered “Koch brothers pull ad buy backing Ron Johnson”, and reported that, “A day after U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin spoke at the Republican National Convention, a group affiliated with the conservative Koch brothers pulled more than $2 million in ad time in the Badger State.”
In other words: immediately after one of their owned Senators campaigned for Trump, they cut off his main monetary lifeline.
This is a warning to any other Republican who might still be considering to campaign for Trump; it says, loud and clear: If you do that, you lose us.
The Koch-led contingent of Republican billionaires and centi-millionaires is one of two Republican financial-backer contingents. The other is led by Karl Rove.
The Koch-led network of billionaires (who rely upon hiring academia and media for manipulating voters), and the Rove-led network of billionaires (who rely far more heavily upon garnering Wall Street money and Evangelical clergy for manipulating voters), have long been the two financial mainstays of the Republican Party. The Kochs have now made unmistakably clear that they want Hillary Clinton to become the next President (and, thus, academics and the media will overwhelmingly support Hillary). Previously, there was question as to whether the Kochs would go so far as to help a Democrat; but, now, there is no serious doubt about it: they already do (though as quietly as possible, and not in their own — often lying — mere words).
The Rove-led billionaires’ faction are also strongly inclined to prefer Hillary, but can’t afford to alienate the Republican electorate, and so they will continue to support other Republicans but not Trump. (Consequently, Ron Johnson, for example, still can get their money.) They aren’t as emphatic about their backing of Hillary as the Koch-led faction is. They won’t withdraw their financial support from Republicans (such as Johnson) who campaign for Trump. They aren’t really pro-Hillary; but the Koch-contingent now are.
And then, of course, there’s Rupert Murdoch. On 17 May 2016, Gabriel Sherman headlined in New York magazine, “Why Rupert Murdoch Decided to Back Trump”, and he wrote: “According to one Fox News producer, the channel’s ratings dip whenever an anti-Trump segment airs. A Fox anchor told me that the message from Roger Ailes’s executives is they need to go easy on Trump. ‘It’s, ‘Make sure we don’t go after Trump,’ the anchor said. ‘We’ve thrown in the towel.’” However, Sherman also noted that Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal was supporting Hillary. Murdoch has long been fond of her; and, in the pages of the WSJ, he still enjoys the freedom to shape the ‘news’ to favor her (something that would lose him audience if he were to do it at Fox). (He also supports both Obama and the Bushes. In one photo at a lobbyists’ dinner, he’s surrounded at his left by Obama’s longtime aide Valerie Jarret, and at his right by Jeb Bush, all three smiling like friends; but, in any case, all three are supporters of that same far-right Republican lobbying organization. At the top in American society, there is real bipartisanship. Another photo displaying such bipartisanship is of Donald and Melania Trump, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, warmly socializing together. These people aren’t at all enemies of one-another; they just play that on TV, in print, and etc. Those are the roles they play, not really who they are.)
Even as early as October 2015, it was clear that the Republican Party’s mega-donors were already contributing more money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign than to Donald Trump’s. They also were contributing more than they were to Clinton’s campaign, to each of the Republican Presidential campaigns of: John Kasich, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and (the most of all, to) Jeb Bush. So, in the ultimate 17-candidate Republican field, Hillary was already getting more of the 2012 Romney donors’ money than was each campaign of Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, and (the least of all, they donated to) Jim Gilmore. So, if she were added to that 17-candidate Republican-candidate list, she’d have been #7 out of the 18 recipients of Republican money. (And that’s not even counting the money from Democratic-Party megadonors — virtually all of whom donated and donate only to Clinton.)
Perhaps Trump is hoping to get lots more contributions from Democratic donors than previous Republican Presidential nominees have. But he certainly won’t be able to come even close to matching Hillary’s campaign warchest, which is widely expected to break all previous records — and for good reason. (In fact, Hillary as the State Department chief, was, behind-the-scenes, ferociously assisting the Koch brothers, regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline project and other government-policy matters. She’s a proven dynamo for the super-rich.)
The question regarding Trump as President would be: would he sell the government (perhaps at low prices to his friends and at high prices to his enemies) for various prices (as Clinton already has done — sold it to both her friends and her ‘enemies’ — but which sales she now only needs to deliver on); or would he, instead, refuse to sell it, and actually try to run the U.S. government for and on behalf of the American public? He has no actual record in public office; so, there’s no way of answering that question, unless and until he becomes President. But if Hillary Clinton becomes President, then the outcome would be much more certain, because she already has a lengthy record in ‘public’ service. It’s one that the Kochs probably appreciate very much. (And especially Hillary’s record as the U.S. Secretary of State is informative about the type of President she would make. Her real priorities are clear by her actions, though not at all by her words. By contrast, Trump’s priorities are, and might long remain, a mystery.)
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.