Roe v. Wade: Democrats raise $80 million after decision


In the first week after the Supreme Court stripped women of their constitutional right to abortion, Democrats and affiliated groups raised more than $80 million, a tangible early sign that This ruling could empower voters.

But party officials say donors are giving most of that money to national campaigns and causes rather than running for state office, where abortion policy will now be shaped by court decisions. That’s where Republicans wield disproportionate power after more than a decade of pouring money and resources into important but often overlooked contests.

The fundraising disparity provides an example of how a lack of long-term planning can lead to both a structural disadvantage and an exasperated Democratic base. Lacking the votes to pass legislation through a narrowly divided and thwarted Congress, abortion rights now appear to be the latest issue to be largely ceded to the states. That was after Democratic efforts failed to expand voting rights, limit gerrymandering, and significantly tighten gun laws.

“We can no longer let Democrats systematically ignore favorable voting races – not,” said Gabrielle Chew, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. when Republicans eagerly interfere in our healthcare, bedroom, and marriage decisions.” help fund state legislative races. “This should be a wake-up call.”

The massive $80 million fundraiser was recorded by ActBlue, the Democratic Party’s online fundraising platform, which has a code that shows in real time how much money is going through the organization. ActBlue raked in more than $20 million in the first 24 hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade’s 1973 ruling, defining abortion as a constitutional right. By Tuesday, the team had processed more than $51 million in donations, and by Friday, the total had reached $80 million.

In fact, all of the major Democratic campaign committees reported an increase in contributions after the ruling, including those working in state as well as federal races. The same goes for planned parenting. But few are willing to roll out the hard numbers.

WinRed, the online fundraising portal for the Republican Party, has not responded to questions about the party’s fundraising since the court’s decision.

Funding disparities are nothing new between Democratic groups working for state candidates and those focusing on national issues after a defined time. For example, ActBlue raised more than $71 million in just 24 hours after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a fraction of which went to groups working on state campaigns.

Consider the case of Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, who in 2020 broke fundraising records in a long-running bid to oust Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and move forward. to Congress in Washington. Harrison finished the race with more than 10 points. He raised more than $57 million in the closing months of his campaign, including a 24-hour period in which he raised over $1 million.

But for the state? The Democratic Governors Association announced it had raised $200,000 following the court’s decision last week. The organization said Thursday that it is on track to raise $1 million before the start of the long weekend of July 4, which other committees focus on less of a national race.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which raises money for state races across the country, declined to say how much it has raised since the court decision. But its past fundraising figures show how low the team is in supply.

DLCC raised $650,000 in 48 hours after a leaked copy of the court decision surfaced in May. Earlier this year, it celebrated when it announced it had raised nearly $6 million in the last three months of last year.

Its GOP counterpart, the Republican State Leadership Committee, has more than doubled over the same period last year.

“When Democrats (spend) 1-1 with Republicans in meetings,” said Greg Goddard, a Florida Democrat who raises money for national and state campaigns. legislative race, we will beat them. “But when it’s 3 on 1, or 4 on 1, we’re at a loss.”

Amanda Litman, co-founder of the group Run For Something, which recruits candidates to run in races for school boards, city councils and the legislature, said Democrats have a Bad track record investing in caucus races that also build a bench. of future talent.

“The worst laws will come from the reddest states, and they won’t stay within the borders of that red state. So what will you do to minimize the harm?” Litman said after the abortion verdict. “I’d love to see Joe Biden raise funds for the DLCC and the DGA.”

The Democrats’ fundraising eco-system often rewards social media stars who appear on popular freelance shows, like Rachel Maddow or online viral candidates. That’s extremely difficult for candidates in races that don’t attract much attention at home, like most legislative contests.

Meanwhile, big-dollar donors have been donating to national candidates, or groups focused on the presidency or Congress.

However, some Democrats oppose the idea that favorable voting races are not getting enough attention.

Sam Newton, a spokesman for the governors’ union, said they have their own success story to tell. Democratic candidates in key states have seen large increases in donations following the court decision, he said. The group also closed the 2-to-1 fundraising gap with Republicans that existed less than a decade ago, reaching the same level last year.

Planned Parenthood is part of a joint effort with abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List, an organization that helps women run for office, which plans to spend $150 million on midterm election ballots this year. 2022, said Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes.

Governors races will be a major focus, she said, citing especially Michigan and Wisconsin, where decades-old laws banning abortion are still on the books. (Michigan’s law dates from 1931; Wisconsin’s to 1849.) Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, both Democrats, are facing tough re-election battles.

“Those governors stood before Republican legislatures who wanted nothing more than to ban abortion and they said no,” Lawson said. “These governors are on the front lines, and we need to protect them.”

But others doubt that the effort will trickle outside the prestigious races.

Litman said some donors in the party are warming to the idea of ​​launching secret ballot contests. But there is still a culture in the party, especially among giants, of the pursuit of “bright, shiny objects,” she said. Meanwhile, Republicans see political giving as a “business investment – you get the judges and the tax cuts” and “you spend your money patiently knowing it pays off,” she said. .

“We have to balance our short-term short-term electoral goals with our long-term mission of getting these seats back,” said Litman.

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