No Koch for Me Thanks 🥤

Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT/Getty Images

Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT/Getty Images

Divided GOP?

Yesterday, President Trump sharply criticized the “globalist Koch Brothers” for not supporting his policies - renewing the debate that the GOP is more divided than ever. The Koch brothers' donor network and personal wealth (estimated at $41 billion each) have been critical in guiding the Republican Party to success and promoting certain libertarian ideas, reduced regulation, and free trade. So why against Trump? The Koch's have global businesses and tariffs hurt.

Reaching a boiling point

Less than 100 days to the 2018 midterm elections, it is surprising that a Republican president would pick an open fight with one of the party’s most powerful donors. The Koch brothers famously did not support Trump during the 2016 elections and were openly critical of the president’s protectionist trade policies. The question is: Will this in-house fight implode the party?

The right commends President Trump for departing from private interest donors and sticking to his core beliefs. Trump’s image as a "man of the people" seems to go well with such an abrasive attack on one of the wealthiest people in the country. While the tone these outlets use to criticize the Koch brothers vary, it is still remarkable that most conservative outlets are now willing to criticize one of their major donors.

The left emphasizes that this divide is extremely dangerous to the GOP so close to the midterm elections. They depict the Koch brothers as the world’s most unlikely underdog that is being bullied by the Trump wing of the GOP. Interestingly, many outlets highlight that certain Koch associated organizations are reaching out to the Democrats as a viable free-trade/cosmopolitan alternative (some doubt as to whether this would actually work).

A genuine dispute regarding ideology

While on the surface this fight may seem like nonsensical politics, it actually accurately represents the hidden divide in the GOP. President Trump and the Koch brothers stand on opposite ends of the party with one side being the maverick America-first block against the traditional conservative free-trade block. For now, the maverick side has the upper hand with Trump. The midterm elections will be a make-or-break scenario in which a significant election loss could spark a rift in the GOP.

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