The billionaire Koch brothers usually bankroll Republicans, so why are they shelling out for two California Democrats in advance of the June 5th primary?
Carla Marinucci, senior editor for Politico's California Playbook, explains the strategy of the Koch brothers' LIBRE Initiative -- its Hispanic outreach arm:
The unusual thing about this, when you talk about the Koch Brothers, to many progressive Democrats those two words are synonymous with Satan. David and Charles Koch are sending out mailers helping two California Democrats -- House members Pete Aguilar, former mayor of Redlands, and Raul Ruiz, of Coachella. These are two Southern California pro-immigration Democrats, and they're probably as surprised as anyone to be given a boost by the Koch brothers network.
The strategy seems to be pro immigration. LIBRE supports a permanent, bipartisan solution that would provide certainty for dreamers and strengthen our border. That is a code word for not a border wall necessarily but border security. It is an interesting strategy because the Koch brothers have given lots of money to candidates that are hardliners on immigration.
Raphe Sonnenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State LA, explains the guiding principle of the Koch brothers mailers:
I think the Democrats are chum. They threw out some chum to get the attention of the media, which I hate to say has worked: the Koch brothers support Democrats. These Democrats neither need nor want their support. The Republicans need and want their support, and the guiding star of the Koch brothers network is keeping majority control of the House and Senate in Republican hands. They're consistent and they play a long game.
The idea is to convince Latino voters in some of these districts in Southern California with very large Latino populations that the surest way to get the dreamers protected is to keep these incumbents in office even though it would retain a majority in the House, and that majority would be unlikely to support the dreamers. These folks are really smart. This is a very subtle move by the Koch brothers, but the Democrats in this are a head fake.