As I mentioned last month, Wisconsin is the story of 2011 so far. In late February, Republican Gov. Scott Walker attempted to undermine a core Democratic constituency by revoking the right of public workers to bargain collectively, ostensibly for budgetary reasons. When Democratic state senators fled the state to deny him the legislative quorum required to pass a budgetary measure, Wisconsin Republicans declared that it didn’t impact the budget and passed the law without warning in a five minute session. Recently, a Wisconsin judge blocked the law’s implementation. Talking Points Memo has a useful timeline of events.
The immediate result of Gov. Walker’s overreach was a huge surge in Democratic fundraising and the initiation of recall proceedings against vulnerable Wisconsin Republicans. As Greg Sargent noted, the first completed recall petition tied the record for the fastest recall petition in Wisconsin history. The momentum on the ground is more than matched by the fundraising numbers. In March alone, ActBlue processed $3.7 million worth of donations to Wisconsin Democrats and allied groups. Add in the numbers from February and the total climbs north of $4 million. That’s a lot of cheddar, and its impact is reflected in our March fundraising numbers:
|Number of contributions||143,034|
|Average Contribution size||$40.93|
|Committees receiving money||673|
|Fundraising pages receiving money||731|
As you’ll see below, the donations in Wisconsin were primarily by grassroots donors, who drove huge growth in the number of contributions and lowered our average donation size.
|Mar 2007||Mar 2009||Mar 2011||Change|
|Pages w/ Money||164||412||731||77%|
And here are the five top committees, by number of donors, for March 2011.
|Democratic Party of Wisconsin||Organization||43,598||$1,099,121|
|Democracy for America||Organization||41,323||$462,030|
|PCCC Recall Committee (Wisconsin)||Organization||25,483||$267,944|
|MoveOn.org Political Action||Organization||24,191||$364,237|
The fact that March fundraising was driven primarily by organizations is a reflection of how big the stakes are in Wisconsin. Gov. Walker’s attack on collective bargaining isn’t just about undermining a core Democratic constituency (though it’s about that too); it’s about redistributing wealth (and thus political power) upward, away from workers and public servants and thereby diminishing their voice in the political process. Organizing and funding resistance to that overriding Republican goal is too big a job for any one candidate, so state and national organizations stepped in to help shoulder the load.
At ActBlue, our mission is to give grassroots donors a powerful voice in our democracy, so we were happy to put our tools at their disposal. We’re about democratizing power, and this is how we do it.