Behind the closed doors of the Republican National Committee, things aren’t going so smoothly. So far, six House Republicans have decided to retire in the past two weeks, rather than serve in the minority, where there isn’t much hope of passing legislation that will solely benefit them. They’re also reluctant to run in the shadow of the least popular presidential candidate in history as he runs for re-election in 2020, but now they have a new problem on their hands that doesn’t even directly have to do with Donald Trump.
The online small donor platform ActBlue is used almost exclusively by the Democratic Party and generated millions from grassroots supporters to raise money for political candidates. It’s been credited with last year’s big congressional wins, and the brutal aftermath of the midterms has forced the GOP to admit it’s long past time they implement a similar system if they want to catch up. They launched WinRed this summer to compete – but so far haven’t had much luck. According to a Politico report, WinRed has only raised $184,000 since late June – compared to ActBlue, who raked in $249 million for candidates in the first half of 2019.
While Donald Trump and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel have called on WinRed to be the Republican Party’s official small donor platform, a number of Republicans aren’t on board with it. Some would-be donors have even gone so far as to call the RNC “socialistic,” while questioning who profits from the platform. This has led some party officials to look into whether or not McDaniel and her inner circle have any financial connection to WinRed’s vendors, something McDaniel vehemently denied during the RNC’s three day summer meeting in Charlotte, NC, this week.
The size of the GOP has shrunk considerably, due to its growing acceptance of bigotry and increased willingness to roll over for Donald Trump. If the GOP is to have a platform with the same success as ActBlue, McDaniel and others warned they would have to almost universally adopt that platform. People like Republican Party digital strategist Paul Dietzel aren’t so comfortable with a platform that won’t line their own pockets. Dietzel has continued to operate a rival platform called Anedot, despite being sent a cease-and-desist letter.
Republicans will likely still enjoy their usual surge of dark money during election season, but their efforts to simply appear that they’re grassroots continue to be a disaster. The meager contributions they might net from small donors could drop even further if Dietzel continues his feud.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making