Phones down, wallets out.
That was the credo of Democratic “resistance” activists Thursday following the narrow passage of Trumpcare in the House of Representatives despite hundreds of thousands of phone calls and angry town halls denouncing the health care bill. In less than 24 hours, Democrats raised at least $4 million for campaigns and groups challenging Republicans in the 2018 midterms, according to a VICE News analysis of various progressive groups.
ActBlue, the fundraising platform used by most progressive groups and the Democratic Party, recorded $4,223,401 in donations Thursday from 123,145 contributors spread across 1,200 different campaigns, organizations, and funds. The DNC said it had its strongest fundraising day since March, and MoveOn.org’s Washington director, Ben Wikler, told VICE News that the fundraising text message sent immediately after the vote was its most successful ever, pulling in over $40,000 (and counting).
At least $2 million went directly to Democratic campaigns challenging Republicans in the House through ActBlue’s “nominee funds,” which save the money for whoever the Democratic nominee ends up being next year. DailyKos, Swing Left, and ActBlue all set up nominee fund accounts yesterday that quickly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Hillary Clinton, who is expected to launch a political PAC next week, also promoted Swing Left’s efforts on Twitter:
While many Democrats are now privately nervous that the Republicans could succeed in repealing President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, many believe that the vote yesterday could be the key to reclaiming a majority in the House in 2018. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seemed to almost relish the vote yesterday, warning Republicans, “You have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark.”
Before the fundraising became public, Cook Political Report shifted its ratings Friday morning to give Democrats better chances in 20 more seats in 2018 because of the vote on the unpopular Trumpcare legislation. Of the 217 Republicans who voted for the bill, 14 are from districts that Clinton won last November and are top targets for Democrats next year.
No issue has galvanized Democrats in the Trump era quite like health care. Tens of thousands have attended Republican town halls, hundreds of thousands have called their representatives. Daily Action, a group born after Election Day that has made calling a congressman’s office easier than ever, tracked over 100,000 calls to congressional offices about health care since February, 43,000 of which were just in the last week. Before the vote yesterday, Daily Action users made 14,506 calls to congressional offices.
But the bill passed anyway, and many progressives are realizing the last lobbying option left to them is opening their wallets to help replace the Republicans next year.
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