Ahh, mid-November. Elections are over, leaves are off the trees, pies are cooling on the stove, and recount funds* dot the landscape. With 435 house races whittled down to six, all the fundraising action is driven towards these races. Soon after comes the media attention from POLITICO – who is bankrolling who, what this candidate wants from that one – we've seen it all before.
What we haven't seen before is what is happening in New York, where freshman Rep. Dan Maffei and longtime Congressman Tim Bishop face recounts. Rather than just writing checks, the Democratic congressional delegation has taken their backing to the next level. Amongst others, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and even Rep. John Hall - who lost his own seat earlier this month! – are all asking their supporters to help fund these recount committees. ActBlue not only helps Dems build networks of grassroots donors for their own elections, we make sure that same structure is available for these leadership building moments: Weiner, Gillibrand, and Hall all have built very successful low dollar donor programs that they've dispatched to help their colleagues.
Note the difference between how these leaders are acting and how POLITICO reports it. In their world, Republican congressmen give $5,000 and some phone numbers for their wealthy friends and hope for an ally in their quest to dole out favors to those same wealthy friends as a committee chairman. In other words, wealth => power.** In our world, Democrats – even those who lost! – are asking their grassroots supporters to join them through ActBlue in supporting their colleagues. With us, people => power.
Why the difference? Well, for one thing, since anyone can fundraise for a candidate listed on ActBlue, it is even easier for these Democratic leaders to ask their grassroots supporters to donate directly to their colleagues than for them to cut a check. You know that we've helped teach Democrats that their grassroots donors are the backbone of their success. Now, Democratic leaders are learning that grassroots donors are there to help build the party, too, and our infrastructure is there to continue that lesson.
Democratic leaders aren't rolling over after 11/2, and neither are we. Where money comes from means a whole lot more than folks let on, and we make it easy for the National Stonewall Democrats, for DailyKos, and for you to let your champions know that you have their back, even in their toughest moments – be it a recount or a leadership fight. ActBlue's tools and techniques are not just for the election season. It's a whole new way of practicing politics.
*Recount fund: Money used to pay for legal fees incurred by the complicated recount procedures in races that come down to a thin margin. In Republican circles, recount funds are called Ben Ginsberg's Luxury Suite Funds.