It’s no secret by now that small-dollar donors are on fire this cycle and swamping Republican candidates with their cash push toward Democratic candidates. The New York Times crunched the third quarter numbers and found “Democrats outraised their Republican opponents in 32 of the closest 45 House races by a total margin of $154 million to $108 million since November 2016.” And even in the 13 races where Republicans held a fundraising advantage, it was only by $10 million collectively. In total, Democratic candidates have outraised Republican candidates $252 to $172 million.
One big piece of that advantage is provided by the Democratic fundraising conduit Act Blue, which already counts three times as many donors this cycle at 4.5 million contributors compared to 1.5 million contributors in 2014. Women also account for a higher portion of the giving than they did in 2014, contributing 61 percent of the overall haul this year compared to 52 percent in 2014.
As CNN’s Ronald Brownstein notes, this year Democrats cemented a response to the GOP’s high-dollar donors that used to be the province of only a few Democratic politicians.
The vision of mass small contributor online fundraising earlier pursued in presidential races by Howard Dean, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders has exploded from a niche opportunity to the default option for Democratic candidates this year.
If Democrats take back the House this November (along with making gains in the states), it will be at least partially due to the many, many small-dollar donors who used their collective power to give Democratic candidates a fighting chance.