Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Trump Acolytes Build Ecosystem of Think Tanks so Trumpism Lives On

 Here is more from Bloomberg:

Allies of Donald Trump have built an ecosystem of think tanks, fund-raising outfits and professional development organizations designed to push his populist agenda for years to come whether or not the former president ever seeks office again.

With Trump-like branding, a number of the groups are named after his America First philosophy and serve to challenge the conservative orthodoxy of groups like the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute whose ideas have guided generations of Republican politicians.

The aim is to develop the former president’s unorthodox policy preferences into a coherent program, ready-made for a new generation of politicians to adopt and carry out. No fewer than six new organizations so far are devoted to carrying on his policy legacy.

“There were fights that weren’t being fought,” said Russ Vought, Trump’s last director of the Office of Management and Budget. He started the Center for Renewing America, a think tank with a Capitol Hill office, and a companion grassroots advocacy organization, Citizens for Renewing America, about a week after leaving office in January. His policy shop has eight paid staffers, including Vought, but he wouldn’t release figures on its fundraising or finances.

 Stephen Miller, a former White House senior adviser and anti-immigration hardliner, is leading America First Legal, a nonprofit to preserve Trump’s policies on immigration and other issues. Jenna Ellis, who represented Trump and his campaign in some of its attempts to overturn last November’s election results, is chairwoman of the Election Integrity Alliance, which is focused on state voting laws. The group is part of the American Greatness Fund, a nonprofit set up by Brad Parscale, Trump’s former campaign manager.

And there’s the America Alliance, run by Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Trump’s campaign, which is a new network of big donors who pledge to give at least $100,000 a year for candidates who support Trump’s agenda, and to his causes.

The biggest of the organizations is the America First Policy Institute, dedicated to advance what would have been Trump’s second-term agenda. The think tank has nearly 45 employees and a $20 million budget for its first year. It’s working out of an office building in Arlington, Va., with an eye toward moving to Washington. Its roster includes Pam Bondi, who defended Trump in his first impeachment trial, and former White House adviser Scott Turner.


As noted in the piece, it is unlikely that these groups are diverting money from more traditional conservative think tanks like Heritage, AEI and the Hudson Institute.  While former Trump officials have started their own think tanks and think tank-like entities, many have chosen to instead join the already-established traditional think tanks. 

Here is more about which think tanks former Trump officials have landed at.