The Koch family's effort to sink Donald Trump's third re-election campaign is more of a last gasp than a return to form, according to insiders.
Americans for Prosperity are pledging $75 million to "turn the page" on Trump in the 2024 Republican primary, sources told Semafor, but some former staffers and allies inside the Koch network say the political machine that once rivaled the RNC no longer has much relevance within the conservative movement.
“I really think they lost focus, they lost drive," said Frayda Levin, a former AFP board member and a member of Club for Growth’s board. "It wasn’t clear anymore what they wanted to achieve. I really wonder what their mailing list is these days. My sense is that there’s not a whole lot of energy, that they’re trying to recreate something that isn’t there.”
The GOP has shifted away from AFP's positions on a variety of topics, including immigration, since Trump's rise, and some question whether the organization will survive remaining founder Charles Koch when he retires or passes away, following the 2019 death of his brother David.
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AFP has tried to cultivate a post-partisan brand in recent years, while still lobbying for economically conservative bills in GOP state legislatures, but the changes Trump has foisted on the Republican Party has undercut their influence -- despite protests from organization leaders.
“AFP was more effective on every measure than it had ever been: more activists, more effective and successful policy engagement, including economic issues, and greater financial stability,” said former AFP president Nancy Pfotenhauer. “It’s remarkable what they have done in the states. And as you know, states lead federal efforts on the policy front.”