If you ran one of the largest free market political operations in the country, where would you want to meet and regroup this year? Might it be in the land of the liberal – just to stick it to them?
Heralding a renaissance of reform and prosperity, the Koch brothers and four hundred of the nation’s wealthiest right-of-center political donors celebrated victories and plotted ways to sweep the 2018 mid-term elections in Colorado Springs this past weekend. Gathering on the sumptuous grounds of the world-renowned Broadmoor resort, with a stunning view of Pike’s Peak, Koch et al. held their three-day summit behind enemy lines.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch’s powerful and effective political arm, has stealthily infiltrated progressive playgrounds such as Fort Collins, home to Colorado State University, and Colorado Springs, where the city’s official motto is “Light it up,” or, maybe it’s “Live it up?”
But I digress, and the real story here is how AFP is beginning to cause great concern for progressive activists in this swing state by winning races and referendums—small victories, but victories nonetheless. The Koch imprint is much larger than elitist liberals of Colorado apparently realized, and so their hackles are now up:
The Koch footprint in Colorado is bigger than previously known, including two centers on college campuses that promote free-market ideas and open dialogue; a nonprofit that focuses on outreach to minority communities to teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship; and a community organizing outfit that promotes conservative policies with phone banks and canvassing operations.
One of the most powerful assets, dubbed a secret weapon, is the Grassroots Leadership Academy, a six-week training program run through the Americans for Prosperity nonprofit foundation that teaches like-minded conservatives “how to be an effective activist.” “The program takes people who are passionate … and shows them how to do it,” said Chris Fink, one of the directors of the national program.
As midterm elections loom across the country, Colorado faces the task of replacing their governor, (Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is term limited) and several congressional districts are either up for grabs (retiring to run for governor), or hotly contested. Republicans are licking their chops at the prospect of snatching the top seat. Pundits and strategists all agree the governor’s race will likely shatter records in state spending. Of course, as we have recently witnessed, big money does not always guarantee a win. Just ask Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, soundly spanked by Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s special election to fill Congressional District 6, vacated by current Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price. Hollywood joined together in solidarity and poured $23 million into Ossoff’s campaign coffers, made commercials and offered to drive voters to the polls, in an attempt to show Trump that his orange glow was fast fading. Hollywood shed tears of bewilderment over Georgia’s lack of respect for their contributions, and the president is in all probability, still laughing his “Ossoff,” behind closed doors.
Titans of industry, billionaires with world dominion on their minds, will have cadres of troops, liberal and conservative alike, primed for battle. The Koch’s have promised to raise $400 million in outside money to bolster the efforts of the Republican Party and individual candidates, as Tim Phillips, head of AFP stated, “What we’re urging Republicans in the House and the Senate to do is to be bold, to go big. It gives them the opportunity to point to real accomplishments when they get to 2018.”
And AFP has gone big across the country. For a list of each state’s victories this year alone, click here and prepare to be amazed. It also serves as validation that one does not have to dress in all black terrorist attire, burn cars and start riots to succeed politically.
Colorado Democrats, although rattled by the steady increase of conservative discussions, are holding steady in their belief that Colorado will remain a liberal stronghold. In a recent interview with the Denver Post, Laura Chapin, a liberal activist, discounts the progress that the Koch’s and conservatives have made in her home state, “We are still a swing state, and Democrats win here more than Republicans do. The trend line is in our favor not theirs.”
Oh, Laura, did you take a toke and hold the smoke (and those of us of a certain age remember the rest of that little ditty)? That’s the same old, tired message we’ve heard since the autumn of 2016. That trend, as with all the others, is coming to an end.