I don’t like doing fundraising posts all the time, and I don’t think readers like them much either, but I think it’s one of the most important things we can do here right now. Likewise, I don’t like those Daily Kos puff posts about candidates — I always hated the way they were trying to turn Darcy Burner into America’s sweetheart — but I think we might want to start doing some of those here too at some point. They don’t have to be quite as fluffy.
Here’s what I’m thinking of doing: first raising money for “district funds” like Kos is doing. The idea is the Democratic nominee gets the money whoever that person is. It’s a good way to incentivize running for office in the district. If someone *knows* their campaign is getting a big cash infusion in summer 2018, they are more likely to run. And at this point in the cycle, candidate recruitment is the most important thing.
Once candidates start to emerge, in say early 2018 (a lot of races won’t have primaries at all), I thought maybe you readers could help us publicize good candidates and raise money for them.
I’m under no illusions that we can make a huge difference this way, but if we can raise 100K for House races, that’s something, especially if a good proportion comes in during 2017 and helps with candidate recruitment.
What does everybody else think? And what sorts of things should we as a blog be thinking about doing?
Y’all might as well dance while givin’ away your money.
That’s a good idea. I’m on the $50 a week plan for ActBlue and I’m not unhappy about that, but I’d like to do something else that feels more personal if you know what I mean.
I’m in. Our Swing Left group is watching CA 10, and thanks to the interest in the district, 4 Dems have shown interest in running, which gives us lots of choices. Jeff Denham, the incumbent, faced a tough town hall lately, though he’s quite popular in general. We’ll work to get the vote out even in the primaries, then contribute to the winner of the Dem primary. Will keep you guys posted.
Give to a broad group. I have a feeling that Democrats are going to be running in all 435 districts come 2018, and we need to give them the support so we can play offense everywhere we can.
We need the House back in 2018, or things are going to get worse. It will take a miracle to NOT lose seats in the Senate, no matter how badly Trump is doing IMO.
And the sounds that you’re hearing are only the sounds of the low spark of high-heeled boys…
My thoughts too.
There’s a huge danger to this, which I saw from the inside. Once you commit, you’re almost inevitably sucked into a bubble in which even doing something as simple as having a healthy rethink of your position wrt a given candidate becomes nearly impossible. More than likely, you will sooner or later end up backing some real stinkers…not just in terms of their politics and ideology, but also a few phonies or frauds or crooks. It can damage your blog’s credibility with your readers if you continue to back candidates that some of your readers know to be a bad bet or just plain bad news.
If you’re going to raise money in a serious way, you ought to think that problem through in advance and have some rules or systems in place to cope with the issues when they come up.
ETA: Also, there’s the issue of whether you can afford to get behind a longish-shot candidate who’s really good on policy/politics, given that losing in too many races where you’re encouraging donations can cause readers to become more wary of donating in the future.
As a retiree, I am really constrained as to how much money I can give. When I was working I always used to donate the maximum allowed by law, but that level is way out of my means now. I try to make it up in time — when I had the $$ I didn’t have the ??? and vice versa, but at least I can volunteer now as a door-knocker, phone-banker, and poll-watcher.
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
Darcy Burner is a hellva drug.
It took THREE CONSECUTIVE bitter defeats before they flushed the pills down the toilet.
Yeah I agree completely. I can live with a few frauds if they know how to win elections and caucus with Democrats once elected.
Not a jungle primary in CA districts?
That’s even better.
I would personally like to see the blog get back to its roots and explore when exactly it was that we hit Peak Wingnut, and what that episode tells us about our current era. Because Trump is not Wingnuttia. I don’t think we even know what to call Trump loyalists yet.
I’ve been seeing some tweets from Swing Left on phone banking, like https://swingleft.org/special-election-house-parties . Maybe toss some organized phone banking posts in (which I understand can be done from anywhere if you’ve got the right software/banks set up?) along with the donations blegs? I know not everyone who reads has more money to give.
I agree. If wingnuttia was the second Miles Davis quintet, we’re now firmly in the On The Corner/Get Up With It phase.
@sivapith: There is no Peak Wingnut. There is only Zuul.
@sivapith: what’s wrong with plain old racists definition?
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest was
The low spark of high-heeled boys.
@smintheus: These are good points. I think the blog should do it, but this discussion should probably happen.
The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys? Fantastic. Not many songs out there that ran a saxophone through a guitar distortion pedal.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: Whither Paul Hackett? Where are the Bill Halters of yesteryear?
@Doug!: Those kinds of frauds, sure. I guess I was thinking more of the lining-their-pockets-with-donations kinds of frauds though, who (with the exception of Trump) never seem to win.
Oh yeah, those are different and definitely something to be avoided. A lot of them lose primaries though, so one advantage of district funds.
Gin & Tonic
@Doug!: I think On The Corner has held up very well.
I am giving already to Chris Murphy in Connecticut, because I like him a lot and the NRA will be coming after him with guns blazing for daring to remember Sandy Hook.
What I really want is Acorn back. I donate to Jason Kanter’s Let America Vote, and OFA, and Vote Riders, and they do a lot of education and all, but it still feels like talking the talk and not walking the walk. I want actual boots on the ground, people who can give rides to the one office that provides the ID, and has an ARMY of LAWYERS to file the lawsuits against the Nancy Davises who won’t let black people register because it’s against their twisted version of religion.
This is the real battlefield. Democrats can recruit a thousand Barack Obamas, but they won’t win if Republicans bring Jim Crow back like they are trying to. The head of the Census just quit and it’s not getting the ink because Trump’s doing his “Look, Squirrel!!!” act with Comey and crazy tweets and our media is obsessed with that.
Drooling, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, racist flying monkeys pretty well does it for me.
Steve in the ATL
This is quality work.
@Gin & Tonic:
Yeah me too. But it’s pretty different from ESP and Miles Smiles.
And likewise, I think that for sheer craziness, the Trump presidency well hold up well.
@Mary G: I want ACORN, also too. I wonder how we ask people to resurrect that org? I’ll be happy to donate.
I am very down on distant as opposed to local phone banking because of my experiences with the Clinton campaign. Caller ID makes it useless. People see an area code they don’t recognize and they won’t pick up, Can’t blame ’em, I do the same thing myself.
I don’t know that it’s better. I like to think that it’s at least as good. Or useful. Or valuable. Whatever the current metric is.
Apart from local races, I’m also prepared to spend time in neighbouring districts/states in 2018, helping to GOTV. Have started looking at Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and Alabama to see where I might be most helpful next year.
@SatanicPanic: Thanks. Maybe worth adding that another possible issue with raising serious money is you have to decide eventually whether to supply it to candidates with or without strings attached. Each can have advantages/disadvantages in terms of just fielding a candidate who can win.
It would appear that John McCain and Lindsay Graham are finally doing something about the psychotic despot wannabe – they (and Susan Collins) actually voted against the repeal of the methane emission regulation. Under the Congressional Review Act, that would have only required 50 Republican votes and it failed 49-51. McConnell expected it to pass and Pence was there to break the tie, but McCain (Graham and Collins had already announced their no plans) changed his expected vote to “No” on the Floor after arguing with Cornyn for a few minutes and it failed. Plus, tomorrow is the last day that the Congressional Review Act applies to late regulations promulgated by the Obama administration, so it looks like it won’t actually happen. If they keep this up, it’s possible that they could put some legislative pressure on the traitorous slimeball.
Yup. I hung up on mrs efg’s best friend since grade school the other day because the ID said “US Cellular” and an area code/number I didn’t recognize. She got a new phone, is all.
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
I’m all for this.
Really? Here’s hoping this becomes a Thing.
So happy Trump fired Comey. Like Jack Reacher in the bar fight scene, now we’ll know who is who.
Bill E Pilgrim
@Doug!: I’m trying not to have a visceral reaction to using Miles Davis editions as parallels to white extremist wingnut movements, but I understand what your point was.
If the blog got back to its roots it would be rooting for Bush and the Iraq war by the way, so be careful what you wish for y’all. Just saying. It’s all in flux, always. Man.
I’m going to be working in Wa. 5, McMorris Rogers’s seat. It’s an uphill climb, but she has never been all that popular in the district. Former Spokane councilman Ben Stuckart announced his run ages ago, when it looked like she might be tapped for Interior. He was preparing for a special election if necessary. He calls himself a progressive which doesn’t mean much to me anymore, but I saw him at an event in a small town not for from my home and he was impressive. He was twice named Spokane’s most effective Councilman, and he is enthusiastically supported by Spokane democrats which might be a turn off to certain types around here because Spokane means “establishment” ya know. But that’s where the money is and she can’t be really challenged if the city folk are being ignored by the opposition which is generally the case with democratic nominees. It was Tom Foley’s seat before the Reagan revolution and he was a Spokane guy, so they ain’t all bad.
@Bill E Pilgrim: The post-phylloxera roots.
Bill E Pilgrim
I’m now thinking that Bill Evans was William F Buckley, in the you know Bizarro World framework of this whole premise.
mai naem mobile
@Mary G: this. I thought they were doing pro-bono and other paperwork fees and stuff to help people get the appropriate ids. I wonder if there is a way to get a law school involved if it’s legal work.
Also, I had this idea when I took my mom for early voting in AZ and the lines were ridiculous . I ended up just taking her again during regular voting. Anyhow, I don’t know if it’s legal but can you have somebody wait for somebody else in line until it’s close to the front and you can call the person who you are standing in line for. I wonder if it would be worth paying people or have people volunteer to stand in line for other people if the lines are ridiculous.
@trollhattan: Yes. Methane emission is actually a little more pronounced in the Four Corner states than elsewhere and McCain released a statement that was actually somewhat pro-environment. It’s not a huge deal but it is actually a legislative victory – the reports were speculating that the notoriously prickly McCain was really doing it in a pique over the Comey firing. And it was the next-to-last day that the CRA allows merely a 50-vote majority for the repeal of regulations, so it’s kind of unique. But it happened (much to Cornyn’s regret)
@sivapith: I just call them fucking assholes. But that’s just me, for some no-good reason the meme hasn’t gone viral…. yet.
I’m generally in favor of broad-based donations – putting your eggs in all of the baskets is better than limiting the number of baskets.
mai naem mobile
On a personal level, I think if each of us tries to work on 5 to 10 people in oir lives who are regularly non voters to actually go vote, it would make a huge difference. Even in blue states, it might help downballot.
@Bill E Pilgrim: Wait, then who is Scott LaFaro in all this?
@mai naem mobile:
Probably the best suggestion on this thread.
@efgoldman: I wonder, since it is so long until election time, if a real old-fashioned approach might work. Handwritten letters. If someone gets a personal letter urging them to vote, it might have something like the effect of face-to-face campaigning. If instead of giving $50 I spent the money on 100 plus stamps for letters, it might not be a crazy investment.
@mai naem mobile: Yup. The easier and better solution. At some point, the money train is gonna run out of steam, either due to fatigue or due to fuckitall despondency.
I sure don’t have any answers, here, but I know I was also hoping for a weekly(1) TookAnAction Chat(2) or something along those lines. (1) Weekly: means occasional visitors like me know which day to look for this, just like you’ve been doing when you’re helping campaigns. (2) “TookAnAction” – I have no idea whether it would work better to have rotating topics, e.g. BLM/phone banking/immigration/etc or just let people talk about what they’ve done… inspires doing more.
Peak Wingnut is like The Mustard…There is no Peak Wingnut.
@efgoldman: You’re right. The primary will be a jungle one. But with that district – Denham (R) beat Eggman (D) by 5 last year there – the two advancing will probably be Denham and a Democrat. Unless we do something like run 25 Democrats. It’s the closest R district to the SF Bay Area, and I think a lot of us are looking over the hill and licking our lips.
I like us keeping active and thinking about 2018 and where we can make an impact there.
But, as you know and have reminded us in some cases, there are several other important elections in 2017:
Gov and State Legislature: Virginia, New Jersey
US Sen: Alabama
US House: CA-34, GA-6, MT, SC-5
Terry Mac is the only thing that has kept Virginia from turning into East Brownbackistan, so – living in NoVA – the race for governor has much of my attention (if not much of my $, yet). It is absolutely critical that Democrats hold the Governor’s mansion in Richmond, and that we flip as many seats as possible. My figuring out who to donate to for 2018 will have to come later.
People who live in New Jersey should be all over the NJ race. They’ve seen what a disaster Christie has been – will they support someone who will change his policies (e.g. on the Hudson Tunnel)? There seem to be 6 Democrats running, including the obligatory guy from Goldman Sachs. Will they unite behind someone who can win and move the ball forward?
I’m not saying that we should all donate to all of these races, but if we can flip some important ones it will make things easier in 2018. Success breeds success. Trump having no coat-tails in 2017 will make him weaker and will speed his departure.
And the folks who talk of the glory days of the “50 state strategy” should be on board with the importance of these off-year races. Right? ;-)
@?BillinGlendaleCA: FWIW I bought mustard last week and I know where it is – let me just make sure; yep, bottom rack in the ‘fridge door – now what?
Reason why doesn’t matter; the vote does.
OTOH the one vote better not turn him into the mavericky media darling again.
@Another Scott: I hope they elect the one with the guts to mention that private prisons are basically a continuation of slavery.
did you see this?
Sorry not finding link. it was on RawStory and I’m just too bleary-eyed to find it right now…
Isn’t the federal funding gone? The chances that this congress will bring it back are between none and Shirley, you jest.
Alain the site fixer
I think winner based funds is a good idea and I’d like to add some sidebar functions to help with this, perhaps even a dedicated page with much more detail and info? I’ll check this post tomorrow to see what’s said and add to my list if there’s good stuff. Thanks Doug!
@efgoldman: Donnie tried to kill it, but lost (as usual).
Presumably there will have to be NJ and NY funding as well, so the next NJ governor is going to have the opportunity to mess it up again like Christie did. (Elections have consequences, people!!)
That’s about all I know.
I’m in for some organized donations to help with recruitment. District donations seem like a great idea to get around the time constraints in picking a candidate for early donations.
There is the question of what happens in jungle primaries. My district was Dem-on-Dem for the general in 2016. Perhaps send donations for such districts to some Democratic party organization?
@Bill E Pilgrim:
That’s kind of what I was thinking too. Anyone can enjoy My Funny Valentine just like anyone can enjoy Buckley’s accent and manner.
@Alain the site fixer:
That sounds great Alain!
@mai naem mobile:
@Alain the site fixer:
I think I will talk to ActBlue about putting together a district funds donation scheme for us tomorrow.
@Lyrebird: I’m not up on NJ politics, but I found this RollCall story:
Crowdpac looks interesting on a quick skim, but I don’t know how useful it actually is for donors who have the inclination to do their own research.
I’m hopeful that MN-03 might be flippable for 2018. Erik Paulsen was a mostly-below-radar (fake?) moderate Republican before the US, and lately MN, GOP went full bugfuck nuts (our MN legislative session is a doozy this year, I think in part because people like me who usually pay more attention in St. Paul are looking in horror at the daily depravity circus in D.C.).
His AHCA vote has hopefully woken some folks up, and a local vodka magnate (semi-randomly, I believe he is the grandson of Dear Abby) is expected to announce as a first-time candidate as a local Dem going for MN-03. I hear privately that Andy Slavitt, formerly of the Center for Medicare Services under Obama, is excited that Dean Phillips is stepping up.
I hope to get in on the campaign soon, assuming it happens, as a volunteer.
Unless there’s a really, really strong preference for one Dem over the other, there’s no reason to send general election money to such a district at all.
@Another Scott: I did a Crowdpac donation for Dan Wood, a guy who has the stones to run against Jeb Hensarling. Dude set a goal and hit it within a few weeks, I was happy to be in on the ground floor, even though I haven’t lived in Texas for 22 years, and never live in TX-05.
This is a quixotic run, I’m sure. But I just appreciate that someone wants to stump and fight for the next 18 months against such a heinous bastard. Give ’em hell. The $25 given early was no skin off my nose, no other candidate is getting less because I did this little thing.
I’m not sure I’ll be a Crowdpac regular, but that one caught my eye.
Most political money is donated at the last minute, when it has the least chance of making a difference.
The highest-leverage, most effective contributions come very early.
The EMILY’s List’s acroname is both clever and true :
Early Money Is Like Yeast (it raises the dough)
Shave the cat’s ass, take off all your clothes, mop the bathroom floor…. Sheesh, do we have to hold your hand for everything??
@SiubhanDuinne: I have no cat. I do not mop.
Would love to have, as others have suggested, a twice weekly (on specific days) updates on a set list of endorsed races/candidates. Don’t spread the interest too thin, and yet we have to be willing to move on if we see no chance of progress.
The NJ and VA races are going to be an important belweather. But it should be all about flipping the house in 2018 and stopping the GOP from gutting the government anymore than it has, as well as a public investigation into Trump (assuming nothing happens in the intervening years).
@SiubhanDuinne: do we really want to be in the same room much less holding his hand while he does this?
@David Anderson: Look, mate, I ain’t doing any of it. So you are safe.
Here’s a bit of cheer from WNY. The originator raised the funds for it on gofundme in a couple of hours I hear. http://www.wkbw.com/news/anti-collins-billboard-pops-up-in-hamburg
Death Panel Truck
@Ian G.: Saw Traffic at the Gorge at George during their 1994 reunion tour. It was pretty apparent Winwood hadn’t performed the song in quite a while. He muffed the lyrics at least twice that I remember. It was a good show otherwise.
@Death Panel Truck:
Love The Gorge.
Just got a text from my sister that the guy I mentioned upthread who’s challenging McMorris Rogers got 200 new donors in the last 24 hours.
@SiubhanDuinne: In her interview with “Pod Save America” this week, Kemala Harris talked about canvassing in neighboring districts. “When they ask, ‘Why are you here?’, tell them: ‘Because the decision you make affects me, too.'” Harris said a lot of good stuff in that podcast.
Anyway, I’m up for the raise-money-for-the-general-election candidates scheme like Kos has here for 24 flippables who voted for AHCA.
As has been mentioned, some of the general organization groups (Jason Kander’s Let America Vote, Organizing for America, Democracy for America, but I don’t know enough about those organizations to pick among them).
Hillary won my district here in Kansas-03. The Dem candidate didn’t do too badly – 51-40 with a third party candidate. Sidie is running again. He made me nuts because he had these signs that had a big bird and the word Jay, with his last name in tiny letters. As much of a political junkie as I am, I had trouble remembering the name of my candidate, because, even though he had lots of signs, they didn’t have his NAME ON THEM! How elementary is that? Jay Sidie’s signs had JAY! And a picture of a bird on them. Sometimes it’s the simple things we have to start with. I don’t know whether he was a weak or a strong candidate, and he did pretty well, but let’s get a candidate who puts his name on his signs.
People here are pretty pissed at Yoder voting for the health care repeal and lying about what it does, so there may be a chance here this time.
That’s true, but you don’t know how the jungle primary will come out if you’re donating in advance. So you have to decide what happens if the primary coughs up a non-partisan election. You get surprises – this is not an particularly D district, but there were 2 significant Democrats and 4 Republicans, and Dem #2 squeaked by Rep #1.
https://contribute.itstarts.today/2018 in case anyone is interested.
I like your fund-raising posts. They make it convenient to donate and save me time that I would spend researching whom to donate to (if I weren’t too lazy to do that for myself).