This isn’t necessarily a big surprise but the Huffington Post’s DC bureau chief and senior politics editor are reporting that the Kochs would be delighted if Republicans stole the nomination from Donald Trump and handed it to Paul Ryan.
Koch believes Ryan would be a “shoo-in” at a contested convention, should the campaign get to that point. Though Koch’s wealth gives him significant influence within the Republican Party, it does not necessarily translate into skill in political prognostication. Still, he and his brother David are fond of Ryan. As a source close to the brothers told The Huffington Post, they appreciate the agenda he has pursued as speaker, including opposition to tax extenders and heightened warnings against corporate welfare — positions that contrast with the admittedly vague portfolio pushed by Donald Trump.
This is perfectly in line with what we already know.
We already know Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has no intention of altering the party’s agenda in Congress even if Donald Trump becomes the nominee because, in his Ryan’s words, Trump does not represent true conservative values. Those values, we can infer, include an unquenchable thirst for cutting and ultimately dismantling Medicare and Social Security; programs Donald Trump has vowed to protect.
Paul Ryan has followed the Koch Brothers’ agenda to the letter for most of a decade so why wouldn’t they want him to be president? Trump is running on a populist and nationalist platform that is, in many ways, antithetical to the Koch’s Randian agenda.
This almost makes it sound like Donald Trump is the good guy in this story, but he’s not. They’re all bad guys. Trump’s populism stops at the water’s edge of race and promotes the idea that minorities have deprived white people of the good, subsidized life they deserve and which they supposedly stand to lose if they fail to elect Trump. The story, the way Trump tells it, is that Democrats and even a soft wing of the Republican party have taken their money and handed it over to those people so that none is left for them.
The Koch Brothers, on the other hand, want to dismantle our entire system of governance and social support structures for all races, including white conservatives, so that all voters are completely dependent on, and subservient to, corporations and men like the Kochs who have fleeting, self-aggrandizing aspirations for altruism.
They’ve done so for their own selfish reasons, but white Republican primary voters have insofar rejected the Koch Brothers’ and Paul Ryan’s vision for America. They were told the system would be there for them when they need it but the party elites want to dismantle all of it.
This is a topic for another time, but I did not recognize the dangers of extreme populism prior to this election cycle.