"When the free market doesn’t work, you try force"
July 29, 2019 9:22 AM   Subscribe

WinRed is a Trump-endorsed GOP competitor to ActBlue that launched in June. Republican candidates were not rushing to use it until the GOP 'strong-armed' them with a cease-and-desist letter to shut down the venerable fundraising platform give.gop--one consultant calls it a 'travesty'--and remove its domain registry (it has since been relaunched as right.us).

While right.us commission rates are lower (meaning a larger share of donations go to candidates), it's been up and running for ten years, and it already had relationships with thousands of candidates, WinRed offers the advantage of being a 'scammy' (Erick Erickson) for-profit corporation with a bad privacy policy owned by Gerrit Lansing, a former RNC staffer who left his White House job three weeks into the administration after failing an FBI background check. Processing fees will also be paid to Stripe, a company that has Jared Kushner's brother as a major investor. The fight over online fundraising is one of the last holdouts of the Republican establishment against Trump.
posted by box (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can I cheer for casualties?
posted by ocschwar at 9:29 AM on July 29, 2019 [7 favorites]


i love it when the expropriators start expropriating each other.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:30 AM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


It would be amusing if the GOP wound up losing the White House and Senate in 2020 due to this. If they lost, despite the gerrymandering, voter suppression, and likely vote tampering, because the GOP candidates fundraising was skimmed too much by WinRed and they weren't able to sustain even the voter levels needed to win with their thumb on the scale.
posted by jzb at 9:40 AM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Since when do GOP candidates rely on small grassroots donations? Maybe some do, but I would be surprised. All the GOP primary debate criteria in 2016 were based on polling. Nothing to do with small donations.
posted by jetsetsc at 9:42 AM on July 29, 2019


the right’s tendency to run grubby little scams on each other is the perfect mirror image of the left’s tendency to factionalize over small ideological or methodological differences.

but yeah losing a bit of small-donor money to skimming won’t cause them to lose any election anywhere, not while the kochs and the mercers and the waltons and the devoses and the rest of the big bourgeoisie live and breathe.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:51 AM on July 29, 2019 [21 favorites]


Can I cheer for casualties?
No, self-cannibalism hurts the left. On the right, it just consolidates everyone into a more and more fascist version of the party.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


> On the right, it just consolidates everyone into a more and more fascist version of the party.

the only thing that can save us is the fact that fascists are bad at everything. power is a drug that makes its addicts stupid, and fascists are addicts on a terminal bender.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:18 AM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Since when do GOP candidates rely on small grassroots donations?

Sheldon Adelson threatened to withdraw support in 2020 if Republicans didn't step up their online fundraising.
posted by box at 10:21 AM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


power is a drug that makes its addicts stupid
But it's also power. Money is a drug that makes its addicts stupid. But it's also power. Our president is in office instead of jail because of money, power, and idiocy.

I never much liked the old chestnut:"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." I feel like it ignores the possibility of bad men doing nothing. But Burke knew capitalism makes monsters if you let it. He was fine with it. He believed good people would be able to fight evil, even when it was amassing all the money. We better fight. Because money can be wrong all it likes and still win.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:30 AM on July 29, 2019


I don't know anything about GOP donations but it's amazing how much money ActBlue handles. I think they take donations for something like 90% of congressional candidates. The product works great for donors too, once you've signed up once it's very little effort to also donate to someone else. Almost too little effort, I wonder what their chargeback rate is like.

My impression is in general the GOP has much better IT infrastructure in the last decade. Particularly all the stuff funded by Kochs and Mercers, with companies like i360 (article from 2014). I'm surprised they hadn't consolidated and centralized the money processing earlier.

(BTW I'm a little sad to see Stripe characterized by the Kushner investment. I'm pretty sure most of the company's management and employees find Trump as appalling as the rest of us.)
posted by Nelson at 10:49 AM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


If our side shows up, we win. Unfortunately, our side doesn't do very much voting.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:23 AM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


our side does vote, even though (unlike them) we have to wait in line for six hours to do it. the problem is that our votes don’t count, because the system is and always has been designed to keep them from counting.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:35 AM on July 29, 2019 [7 favorites]


The product works great for donors too

If by "works great" you mean spammed into oblivion with more and more begs for money while your contact information is spread across the world, then yes. It works a treat.

I'd donate double if donor platforms had a "I am making a one-time donation that in no way should be used to further solicit me for more money, and is in no way an invitation to contact me again, ever."
posted by jzb at 11:38 AM on July 29, 2019 [10 favorites]


(BTW I'm a little sad to see Stripe characterized by the Kushner investment. I'm pretty sure most of the company's management and employees find Trump as appalling as the rest of us.)

Yeah FWIW I've always thought they were a typical credit processing company without a political agenda, and right-wing news site call them "liberal-leaning" because they're based in San Fran. BTW if you've ever used Backerkit, the site that Kickstarter projects use to finalize your backing and let you add on bonuses, they use Stripe as their processing company too.
posted by numaner at 11:41 AM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


If our side shows up, we win. Unfortunately, our side doesn't do very much voting.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:23 PM on July 29 [+] [!]


is this about the 3 million more votes Clinton got, were they not doing very much voting

Like voter suppression is real, and so is gerrymandering, and so showing up is harder for "our side" than for their side AND proportionately more of us need to show up. I'm not personally big on electoral politics although I absolutely do vote in every election available to me but this really elides a lot of important ways the current system is stacked against "our side".
posted by an octopus IRL at 11:53 AM on July 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


but yeah losing a bit of small-donor money to skimming won’t cause them to lose any election anywhere, not while the kochs and the mercers and the waltons and the devoses and the rest of the big bourgeoisie live and breathe.

Don't underestimate the ability of the mega-rich to get mega-scammed (maga-scammed?) though. A Bronfman heiress was all in on nixvm sex slave cult ($150 million), a less political Koch brother got taken by wine forgers for $400K and the DeVos family was all in on Theranos ($100 million). They just have more of a cushion to fall back on when they get scammed.
posted by srboisvert at 11:56 AM on July 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


WinRed sounds like a Windows 95-era trojan horse made by scriptkiddies, like WinRed.rar.
posted by adrianhon at 1:14 PM on July 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


there's a joke in here somewhere about how repub fundraisers are very perturbed by giving trumpists access to their donors' data, but totally on board with keeping him in the role of most powerful person on earth. like, if they're okay with the latter, the former would seem fairly inconsequential.

however, i can't bring myself to write this in the form of a joke because my sense of humor has been ground down to a fine powder by this point.
posted by wibari at 4:24 PM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Are there any rules against starting a secretive pac for right leaning donors and then giving all the money to dems?
posted by kaibutsu at 5:56 PM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Nope, and also in the reverse direction for that matter.
posted by M-x shell at 8:19 PM on July 29, 2019


>> Are there any rules against starting a secretive pac for right leaning donors and then giving all the money to dems?

> Nope, and also in the reverse direction for that matter.


alright mefi let's get scammin'.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:18 PM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


... it strikes me that this could also incidentally be the solution to the site's recent financial problems...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:21 PM on July 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


i love it when the expropriators start expropriating each other.

the right’s tendency to run grubby little scams on each other


GOP Will Eat Itself
posted by otherchaz at 8:00 AM on July 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


I do think there's some value to the idea of making the GOP eat itself sooner. of metaphorically spooning up parts of the GOP and feeding them to other parts, maybe saying things like "here comes the airplane!" while doing so.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:05 AM on July 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Sure there's Gerrymandering and suppression. But for instance— just take a look at the percentage of young people who vote. Or even SAY the they vote. It's pathetic.

And I guarantee there will be more than a few purity protests from the more-wokeful-than-thou crowd on the Dem side come election time. And issues about the Dem candidate not being exciting enough for the youth vote. How will those specifics will shake out is the question, not if or when. I'm hoping I'm wrong here, but my prediction stands.

"Well, the other side cheats" is not a meaningful response. "But the electoral college..." is not a meaningful response. Numbers are all that matter.

(And by the way, there IS a more-wokeful-than-thou side for the GOP... they're called conservative christians, and they voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. We can make it happen on our side, but I have no idea how)
posted by SoberHighland at 9:26 AM on July 30, 2019


Can't edit, so adding: I have a more-wokeful in my family. He was a huge Jill Stein supporter who spent the last election trashing Hillary Clinton. Sure he supported Stein, but the bashing of the not-sufficiently woke Clinton was the only part of his actions that made any kind of difference in the general election.

He is an older fellow, in his 60s who has a 10 year old son. I mentioned to him, post-election, that Trump will be stacking the courts—Supreme and otherwise— with hardcore conservatives, some of whom may outlive him. And this will have a profound impact for decades. Didn't mention his kid, but... did I have to? His response was "At least Clinton will never be president!"

And that's just one flavor the purity crowd comes in. Meanwhile, social-con xtians are getting everything they wanted.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:40 AM on July 30, 2019


I'd donate double if donor platforms had a "I am making a one-time donation that in no way should be used to further solicit me for more money, and is in no way an invitation to contact me again, ever."

Hear hear. My process is: ActBlue -> Donate -> Unsubscribe. Actually works pretty well, at least for emails.
posted by jetsetsc at 10:31 AM on July 30, 2019


@kenvogel:
NEW @FEC REPORT: @WinRed, TRUMP's solution to Democrats' massive @ActBlue
-fueled small $ fundraising advantage, raised a grand total of $184k since its launch in late June.

* By contrast, donors gave $249M through ActBlue in the first six months of 2017.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:35 PM on July 31, 2019


Politico: RNC chair defends GOP donor platform in tense meeting
posted by Chrysostom at 9:28 AM on August 1, 2019


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