As the 2024 presidential election draws closer, the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch’s donor network is gearing up to make its mark on the primaries. In a memo to affiliated activists and donors, the network, now known as Stand Together, laid out their plans to “turn the page on the past” in a thinly veiled rebuke of former President Donald J. Trump. This could be a major shift in American politics, as the Koch network has never before supported candidates in presidential primaries and has been one of the most influential forces in American politics over the past 15 years.
The memo, written by Emily Seidel, chief executive of the lead nonprofit group in the network, Americans for Prosperity, and an adviser to an affiliated super PAC, states that the Republican Party is “nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles” and that the American people are rejecting them. It also says that Democrats are responding with “policies that also go against our core American principles.” The memo emphasizes the importance of the “loudest voice in each political party” setting the tone for the entire election, and says that the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter.
Americans for Prosperity’s super PAC spent nearly $80 million during the 2022 midterm elections, and that is likely just a fraction of the network’s overall spending. If the network were to unite behind an alternative to Mr. Trump, it could give that candidate a tremendous boost, given the resources at its disposal, which at times have rivaled — and even surpassed — those of the Republican National Committee.
The network has had ties to former Vice President Mike Pence, who is taking steps that could lead to a presidential campaign. And some major donors have expressed interest in Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who is also weighing a potential campaign. But if Mr. DeSantis enters the race, he is likely months away from doing so.
It may be easier for the Koch network to decide to oppose Mr. Trump than to agree on an alternative. In past election cycles, the ideological diversity of the network’s donors, as well as the Kochs’ commitment to their own ideology, have been impediments to uniting behind a single presidential candidate.
The Koch network’s potential involvement in the 2024 presidential primaries could be a major turning point in American politics. The resources and influence of the network could be a major game changer in the election, and could lead to a dramatic shift in the Republican Party and American politics. Will the Koch network unite behind an alternative to Mr. Trump, or will they remain on the sidelines? We will have to wait and see.