Small Donations Are Filling Democratic Piggy Banks

October 1, 2014  |  

If you’re on a Democratic mailing list, chances are you’ve received some pretty frantic emails the past few days. Tuesday night was a fundraising deadline and the party wanted to make sure to get every cent it could. That includes Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and President Obama himself. Or at least their party reps.

Make no mistake; Republicans are doing it too. But Dems are in danger of losing much-needed seats come the midterm elections. So there’s some urgency there. Most importantly, fundraisers in the party say the deluge of emails work. Researchers The Washington Post spoke with say that telling people a negative event will happen if they don’t act is more likely to spur people to action that telling people about a positive outcome of their actions. And emails that “come from” President Obama will get the biggest response.

And by big response, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. Analysis from the National Journal finds that Democrats are out-raising Republicans, on average, by more than $100,000 in small donations in political races around the country. The average Democrat raises $179,300 in donations of less than $200. The average Republican, just $78,535. In total, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised $41 million more than the National Republican Congressional Committee during this election cycle. Some experts on the Republican side say it’s harder to raise money for new candidates, others say it’s a failure on the digital side of things.

The Democrats also have a powerful weapon on their side: women. The aforementioned Rep. Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, and the woman herself, First Lady Michelle Obama are among the people in high demand for fundraising events. In fact, FLOTUS and the Clintons are the people that one Democratic committee member said would be his dream fundraising event.

“With her 61 percent approval rating and a talent for connecting with women and minority audiences in particular, she is uniquely able to go into states where even the president and vice president struggle to motivate voters and donors,” The Daily Beast said of Michelle Obama.

On the Republican side, women are generally not faring as well, in part experts say because there’s no high-profile woman to generate excitement. Republicans need women leaders that will get people to pull out their wallets if they’re going to try and match this Democratic female firepower.

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