On "Morning Joe" Monday morning, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough expressed disbelief that any New Yorker could hate the Koch brothers. “[Demonizing the Koch brothers] doesn’t even work in Manhattan where people thank God for David Koch,” Scarborough said. “I mean, they do.… If you have cancer, you’ll be thanking David Koch. If you love the arts, you will thank David Koch. You will thank the Koch Brothers.”
Clearly, Scarborough doesn’t think the Democrats’ strategy of tying GOP candidates to the Koch brothers will work. But this is a ridiculous way to examine that strategy. New Yorkers may support David Koch’s charitable contributions to local hospitals and art institutions. That doesn’t mean they like his politics or all of the money he and his brother are dumping into campaigns across the country. New Yorkers overwhelmingly favor Hillary Clinton in a presidential election. Do you think they’ll appreciate the Koch brothers spending millions of dollars to defeat her in 2016?
Whether or not the Democrats’ strategy will make an impact in the midterm elections is unclear. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has spent much of the year criticizing the Kochs on the Senate floor and to the media. He wants to make them a household name. There are signs that the plan is working. In Michigan, for instance, one poll found that 56 percent of voters have heard of the brothers, with more than twice as many holding an unfavorable view of them. Will that make a difference in the Senate race there? Maybe. Unlike Scarborough, I wouldn’t rule it out.