Media Downplay Republicans’ New Digital Counterpart to ActBlue

The GOP has rolled out WinRed, a digital fundraising platform counterpart to the Democratic online GoFundMe ActBlue in an attempt to attract low-dollar digital donors. Will it work? Lefty media sources aren’t sure.

NPR, in collaboration with the George Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, questioned the latest Republican attempt to match ActBlue’s behemoth capabilities. “Republicans have repeatedly tried and failed to harness online political contributions as effectively as Democrats have with the ActBlue fundraising platform, which has been around since 2004,” NPR said.

In another article, NPR again dismissed the issue of current Republican low-dollar digital platforms to “something that other conservatives have tried in recent years without success.” NPR, unsurprisingly, thinks maybe the problem is conservatism. “Republicans’ main barrier to creating their own ActBlue-like platform hasn't been technology so much as ideology.”

NPR continued, “Republicans, who generally support free markets, have had several different for-profit fundraising platforms competing for a share of Republican political committees’ business.” The contending factor, NPR reports, is that ActBlue has a more consolidated donor market and almost every Democratic candidate uses it.

Democrats were able to rake in more than $1 billion dollars from ActBlue donations for the 2018 midterm elections.

Yahoo Finance, also skeptical of WinRed, projected its success rate as “unclear” due to previous conflicts with multiple  GOP party digital fundraising platforms competing with each other to attract donations. However, Yahoo conceded that both President Trump’s campaign and national GOP party committees “Have started to migrate their online fundraising operations to WinRed.”

The liberal media perspective seems to be that failed Republican efforts to reach low-dollar digital donors is because they didn’t (and probably still don’t) have the monopolistic processing platform capability that ActBlue maintained, specifically during the 2018 midterm election cycle.

OpenSecrets, however, qualified claims of Democrats’ digital campaign superiority concerning the issue of voter data sharing as an area where Democrats have comparatively struggled to Republicans. Up until February 2019, individual Democrat campaigns were using their own individual voter lists, before recently establishing their own voter-data-share conglomerate modeled after the Republicans’ Data Trust, “A data warehouse operation that allows GOP campaigns to share voter lists and other information without concerns about illegal coordination.” The Democrats’ new voter list operation came at the expense of severe party infighting in 2018.

In other words, the Democrats’ digital fundraising machine has not been invulnerable to Republican strategy.

The Washington Post reported that The Republicans’ WinRed platform is hoping to ride off the small-donor enthusiasm for President Trump exhibited in 2016, when small-donor contributions to his campaign peaked at an “unprecedented” $239 million.

“The ability to attract and sustain small-dollar donations has allowed the Republican National Committee to amass a war chest that far exceeds what the Democratic National Committee has been able to raise.”

In January, 2019, The Washington Examiner was also skeptical of WinRed but questioned the downplaying of Republican digital fundraising capabilities in comparison with ActBlue, “ActBlue isn’t causing the Left’s significant low-dollar advantage over its opponents. Democrats don’t process donations any better than Republicans. In fact, the Republican Party, through multiple processing platforms, has equal if not superior processing power.”

The Examiner traced GOP digital fundraising difficulties to other sources other than simple lack of monopolistic digital superiority, such as the Republicans’ lack of commitment in 2018 to low-dollar fundraising,

“Imagine if Republican super PACs invested a mere 10 percent of their roughly $290 million haul into the acquisition of low-dollar, digital donors, who also convert efficiently to voters. Unfortunately, they didn’t even spend 1 percent.”

Karl Rove, via The Wall Street Journal, was more optimistic, “WinRed will seek to simplify the giving experience for donors (think Amazon’s one-click purchase) and make it easier to give to multiple candidates.”

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