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The Koch Brother's Network Does Not Want Donald Trump to Be the GOP Nominee

Everyone is so used to hearing about the "Koch brothers' network" that it is hard to drop the term even though brother David Koch died in 2019. We didn't hear much about the other brother, Charles, in 2020. He kind of stayed on the sidelines. In 2022, he focused on downballot races. In 2024, he plans to rev up the network for the purpose of making sure the Republican Party does not nominate Donald Trump again.

There are multiple reasons for this decision. The most recent one was Trump's role in the Jan. 6 coup attempt. One principle libertarians, like Charles Koch, think is pretty important is the rule of law. Without the rule of law, you can't run big businesses. Can you name any world-class corporations from Somalia? Nope. Probably you can name a fair number from Switzerland (e.g., Nestle, Novartis, Credit Suisse, etc.), which has half the population of Somalia

Another is that Trump doesn't like free trade, another key libertarian principle. He likes tariffs, which libertarians think distort free markets. Their motto is "let the market decide" not "let the politicians decide."

Also, Trump didn't stuff his cabinet with lots of top business executives. Yes, there was Rex Tillerson at the State Dept., who did act like a business executive and travel around the world trying to make deals with foreign leaders. Trump didn't like that and fired him. Steven Mnuchin had plenty of business experience, but was never the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Wilbur Ross is a billionaire, but like Mnuchin, never ran a Fortune 500 company.

Libertarians generally believe in small government and a balanced budget. Trump was never interested in either of those. He signed a giant unfunded tax cut that caused the national debt to spike.

It is not clear how much Koch really cares about the non-economic issues that libertarians care about, but from a libertarian perspective, Trump is wrong on just about all of them. They believe that abortion, same-sex marriage, gender confirmation surgery, the evil weed, the role of religion, censoring books, and much more are none of the government's damn business. People should be free to make their own decisions without the government being involved.

Koch didn't say yet who he plans to back for president. He probably hasn't decided. Most likely he wants to see what the field looks like and who has the best chance to stop Trump. That won't be known for at least half a year, maybe more. It could be a tough call because candidates Koch likes on the economic issues may be anathema on the cultural issues. For what it is worth, before he was secretary of state, Mike Pompeo was the congressman from Wichita, KS, where Koch Industries has its headquarters. Koch knows Pompeo very well and financed his congressional campaigns. But Koch also supported Ron DeSantis back when he was in Congress and a standard-issue conservative, before he became a culture-warrior. (V)

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