where do we go from here?
As the Koch brothers' advocacy network has watched Donald Trump's nosedive primarily from the sidelines, some donors and staffers are now wondering where they went wrong.
Disagreements over an alternative to Trump prevented a conservative counter-movement in the primaries from ever getting off the ground, and the Koch network has since shifted its attention — and money — to research and think tanks. "[T]here are mounting questions about whether [the Kochs'] vaunted political and advocacy operation may have peaked," Politico writes. "The answer could resonate well beyond Nov. 8, since the Koch network would otherwise be expected to play a major role in the post-Trump rebuilding of the conservative movement. "
Plus there is the fact that some Koch insiders feel like they're partially responsible for the whole Trump mess in the first place:
By helping to empower the anti-establishment tea party protests in 2009 and 2010, these people say, the Koch network inadvertently laid the groundwork for a movement that turned towards a strain of anti-immigrant protectionism that is anathema to the Koch's ideology, and that proved fertile ground for Trump's nationalist brand of populism.
"We are partly responsible," said one former network staffer. "We invested a lot in training and arming a grassroots army that was not controllable, and some of these people have used it in ways that are not consistent with our principles, with our goal of advancing a free society, and instead they have furthered the alt-right." [Politico]
"What we feel really badly about is that we were not able to educate many in the tea party more about how the process works and how free markets work," a donor added. "Seeing this movement that we were part of creating going off in a direction that's anti-free-market, anti-trade, and anti-immigrant — many of us are really saddened by that. Unfortunately, there is little in the short term we can do about that." All that's left to do, then, is look ahead — read more about how the Koch network plans to do that, at Politico.