Five of the Republican candidates for president will be heading to a luxury hotel in Southern California from August 1st to August 3rd, to present their case for support, to the Koch brothers and other billionaire GOP donors. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz will all be attending the event. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, will also be there, although she is currently not polling in the top ten among GOP presidential hopefuls.
The GOP hopefuls will be attending the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce (a Koch umbrella group) event, in the hopes of courting mega-donors like David and Charles Koch, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer.
The Freedom Partners held a previous event in January of 2015, where the donors were impressed by Marco Rubio’s performance, but turned off by Rand Paul’s speech as well as his attire. Paul wore a blazer, blue jeans and cowboy boots, which apparently was too casual for the stuffy billionaires’ club.
The Kentucky Senator has not committed to attending the August gathering, leaving the groveling opportunities for fellow Republican Senators Cruz and Rubio, as well as Governor Walker and ex-Governor Bush. The Koch brothers have pledged to spend an obscene 889 million dollars during the 2016 election cycle, so GOP candidates are falling all over themselves trying to demonstrate their fealty to the Kochs and other wealthy mega-donors.
Notably, the Kochs did not extend invitations to populist demagogue Donald Trump, or to religious fundamentalists Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. The billionaire puppet masters probably fear that Trump is too hard to control. Huckabee and Santorum are perceived as being too invested in divisive social issues to focus the proper attention on aggressively promoting the Kochs’ economic agenda.
How each candidate plans to appeal to the billionaires in attendance remains to be seen. However, for the millions of Americans who aren’t super wealthy, the very fact that many of the leading Republicans candidates are spending so much effort courting billionaires, should be reason enough for concern.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.