Act(Blue) On The Issues!

Let me do a little introductory dance here. I’m Adrian, and I work at ActBlue as our Deputy Communications Director. I’ve been a Kos reader for years, but this is my first trip to the big leagues, so to speak. Anyway, let’s get to it: we’re all familiar with what ActBlue can do during election years, I wanted to talk a little bit about what we can do together when it’s an off year.

As you’re all aware, there are a number of tumultuous issues roiling Washington D.C. these days: torture, confirmation battles present and future, and a high-profile party switch, to name just a few. ActBlue allows you to construct a visible narrative of support for the politicians who represent your views, months and even years before an election. Money talks, and the circular handshake of financial support and media attention is how political fortunes are made and broken. You can play a role in that process by supporting politicians who take positions you like, even when it’s not an election year. So how do you construct that narrative?

Well, you’d better believe that the next election is very much on the candidate’s mind, and a concerted fundraising push in response to a particular statement or position sends a message to the campaign that there’s a real support base out there. That encourages them to stick to their guns and adopt similar positions in the future. If you sustain that push via repeat giving or recurring donations, the media attention those numbers garner will amplify your influence.

In the weeks to come, I’m going to be posting entries about the issues of the day and how you can use ActBlue to influence them. And, just in case you don’t believe you can influence politics this way, I’ve included a step-by-step timeline of how your donations forced the NRCC out of the MN-06 race last year and brought the DCCC in, all over the course of a weekend!

Friday October 17th, 2008: Michelle Bachmann decided to channel McCarthy on Hardball. Prior to her comments, El Tinklenberg had raised $2k on ActBlue. Afterwards, the dam broke and as much as $200/minute came pouring through ActBlue.

Saturday October 18th, 2008: The firestorm ignited by Bachmann’s comments continued to grow, producing 120k for Tinklenberg on ActBlue. By late afternoon, Politico had picked up the story, bringing it to a national audience. The hits kept coming with a UPI wire report at 8PM. By 9PM, Tinklenberg’s ActBlue haul stood at $230k and growing.

Sunday October 19th, 2008: By the end of the day, Tinklenberg had brought in $270k through ActBlue, and had planned a major advertising blitz. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the largest regional paper in the area, had also picked up the story, bringing it to households throughout the district.

Monday October 20th, 2008: In the morning, the DCCC announced that it would jump into the race and run $1mil worth of ads against Bachmann. Later that night, the beleaguered Republican discovered that she had a write-in GOP opponent. Tinklenberg’s end-of-day ActBlue tally stood at $300k.

Over the next couple of days, the NRCC pulled out of MN-06, and Survey USA put out a poll showing Tinklenberg leading Bachmann 47% to 44%. Tinklenberg’s final ActBlue number: 8000 donations amounting to $313k, all over the space of a weekend.

Now, regardless of the ultimate outcome of that race, it was a triumph of broad-based Democratic fundraising. The quick response from outraged Democrats drove a days-long news story and pulled in the major national committee. And all of this while a historic presidential campaign was sucking up a lot of the bandwith and money out there. Underlying all of that was ActBlue’s flexible and responsive technology, which enabled people to open up a new tab in their browser and make their opinion known, not just in Minnesota, but across the country.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I take a look at the contentious issues in Washington, and outline ways to use ActBlue to influence them. As always, feel free to drop us an email with any questions. I can promise you that real humans (myself included!) read every email.