Skip to main content

It's been a spectacular few days for political fundraising on Daily Kos. After Joe Wilson of South Carolina uttered those reprehensible words to President Obama, "You lie," the response by this community was immediate, almost visceral: such gross disrespect and blatant untruth should be punished.

Naturally, our first thought was to get him and his big mouth out of Congress. Once we discovered who he was and what seat he held, we checked to see whether he had a Democratic opponent. Not only did he, but the guy running against him, Rob Miller, was the same guy who held Wilson to just under 54% of the vote in 2008. Our course was clear: make Wilson pay by giving the Democrat running against him money.

Within 15 minutes of the speech being over, there were already posts with links to Miller's website and his ActBlue donations page; by 9:45pm, Eileen B had set up a kossacks4miller ActBlue page, and the money began to flow.

Political fundraising has been part of Daily Kos practically from the beginning. The diary was first getting started during the 2002 campaign (didn't have time to check for any during that year), but Markos got an early start in the 2004 campaign in late spring 2003 by setting up a link to the DNC's new on-line ePatriots fund for the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee, and urging folks to donate. When $15,000 was donated in short order, the DNC took notice. Over the next year, the DSCC, the DCCC, and (once nominated) John Kerry also had their own donation links, and there were occasional fundraisers from the front page.

Daily Kos also supported two major Democratic special election pickups in 2004: Ben Chandler's KY-06 victory on February 17, and Stephanie Herseth's on June 1. Between the two campaigns, over $100,000 was raised.

At the beginning of June 2004, a new Daily Kos program was started: the dKos 8, and six House and two Senate candidates were selected and fundraisers held. The links were directly to the individual candidate websites. Almost $150,000 was raised in the first month; actual totals are listed here. This fundraising model would be expanded to more candidates starting at the end of August 2004 and gradually moved over to ActBlue, but that will be covered in a future diary, along with the 2006 and 2008 cycles. Today, let's concentrate on the

On July 19, 2004, MrLiberal made a fateful post to the Daily Kos front page: Breaking News: GOP Congressman Greenwood (PA-08) Leaving Congress This Year. Contributions of $10.01 through $100.01 flowed in, brahn of the newly created ActBlue (introduced to the community by MrLiberal three weeks before) stopped by to urge use of his site for tracking purposes, and four and a half hours later, Markos reported in a Ginny update that $14K had already been raised in 4 hours from DKos and other sources. That amount would become $30K over the next two days. In September, Ginny was added to the Kos Dozen (eight was not enough), and picked up another $35K via the program's new ActBlue page by the November election.

The next year, Paul Hackett was running in a special election against Jean Schmidt for the OH-02 seat that Rob Portman had vacated to work for the Bush administration. The election was August 2, and two weeks before that day was July 19, 2005, a year to the day after the outpouring for Schrader began: Blogosphere Day. What better time to give the Hackett campaign a fiscal shot in the arm.

It turned out to be a cannon. $100,504.47 from 1842 netroots Democrats was the final ActBlue total, reported by Bob Brigham as an update to the same diary as posted on the front page of Swing State Project at 11:59pm; another post there had hourly totals from that day. This was also the day that John Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court; it wasn't as if there wasn't other news to attract our attention. SSP kept posting updates to the fundraising as the money continued rolling in day after day: July 21 midday, $129,805.92; July 22 midday, $137, 024.02; July 24 midday, $147,350.59; July 25 midday, $175,669.59; and July 26 midday, $228.231.58.

Joe Wilson's is hardly the first GOP moran whose words started a wave of donations for an opponent. Sometimes the wave trickles out, and sometimes it's huge. On April 14, 2008, Geoff Davis of KY-04 said about Barack Obama, That boy's finger does not need to be on the button. I was one of those who donated to his opponent, Dr. Michael Kelley, but it was an emotional donation. Kelley had raised under $4,000 at that point—he hadn't even raised enough to have to file an FEC report in some quarters—and the money donated in the first four hours almost doubled his $600 take on ActBlue. Kelley ended the campaign with $4,520 from ActBlue and barely three times that from other sources, spending $16,492 for 37% of the vote vs. Davis's $1.81 million for 63% of the vote. Kelley had no track record, and little fundraising ability. The community clearly didn't feel this was an investment worth making.

Six months later, on October 17, 2008, Michele Bachmann went on Hardball and went beyond the pale, demanding a media investigation of every member of Congress to determine who was "anti-America" and who was "pro-America". The netroots hadn't paid much attention to Tinklenberg at that time—according to theseisnospoon's diary cited above, his ActBlue page had all of $2,500 in donations at the time (6pm EDT). That changed.

The special ActBlue page linked to in that diary had a goal of $10,000 on it; At 9pm, brownsox was reporting on the front page that all of ActBlue was up to $30,000, and "climbing by the minute." Tinklenberg himself posted to Daily Kos at 2am, thanking us for the "deluge of support". Total donations from ActBlue were at $100K after 15 hours, and from ActBlue and elsewhere was $438K after 24 hours from when Bachmann first said her words (4:05pm EDT), and that number increased to $640K from 13K donors another 24 hours after that.

By the time of the election three weeks later, $129,774 had been given to that one ActBlue page in 2,770 separate donations. But Bachmann's revolting words had gone viral, and donations came in from across America; my brother got an email from a friend, and donated to Tinklenberg's main ActBlue page: across ActBlue, $361,235 was raised through 8,723 donations.

The response for Rob Miller has outstripped even that. The kossacks4miller page started with a $100,000 goal, which I thought was extremely ambitious. I'd forgotten what happens when something goes viral, especially given the tens of millions of people watching and listening to the speech.

For the first twelve hours, the Kossack-created page was taking in a bit over half of the Miller donations on ActBlue. Given an arbitrary starting point of 9:30pm, shortly after the speech ended, total ActBlue donations at 10:10pm were $5,400, at 10:40pm were $15,623, and had just about quadrupled to $59,238 at 1:00am, increasing to about $72K at 2:30am. Eight and a half hours later, at 11am, the total sat at about $150K, and the rate was spiking: 12pm saw $200K, 1pm, $265K; 2pm, $316K, 3pm, $362K; 4pm, $400K, 5pm $442K. The rate was slower through the evening of September 10, but the 24 hour total at 9:30pm was $608,973 raised across ActBlue from 16,811 individuals. The Kossack page had brought in $208,180 from nearly 6,000 donations. The total exceeded $800,000 by midday on the 11th.

As I write this, the Rob Miller donations have slowed to a trickle. $905,739 in total, with the rate of increase now a few hundred an hour. The Kossack page has 7,610 donations for $267,074, after having blown through the $100K and $200K goals; the current goal is $275K, which may be reached in a week or two, if ever. Miller has raised well over a million bucks, and has the resources he needs to defeat his yahoo of a Republican opponent. Thanks to us, to the rest of the netroots, and to all those who were outraged by Wilson's actions and resolved to do something about it. That's people-powered fundraising on the internet, Kossack style. Sometimes top down, sometimes (as in this case) bottom up, always with people giving in the hope of making this country better.


The Top Comments mailbox was quiet in the past 24 hours; this makes two Sundays in a row, and no impending Labor Day for a reason to rest early. Fortunately, this week there was one last-minute submissions to our gmail address before the 9:30pm Eastern Time deadline, which got us to an even four. The address of our mailbox for top comments submissions, in case you want to push the deadline, is:

TopComments AT gmail DOT com
(change " AT " to "@" and " DOT " to ".")

Any Kossack can send great comments to our address. Be sure to include the direct link to a comment—the URL—which is available from that comment's date/time; we need that to find your choice. Please always include your Daily Kos user name in the body of your message, so we can credit you properly. As I say every time, both link and username are important. If you also include a writeup, we are able to include that, too, though we reserve the right to edit if necessary; should you only provide the link, then you have to take whatever writeup we create...and we can be excessively creative. Today, I was only creative with my own nominations...

From lineatus:

Fiddlegirl sums up the loony right perfectly.

From PvtJarHead:

I nominate this comment by luckylizard in spider webs unite's diary Please save the pitchforks for the real enemies.  I also hope the diary is rescued.

From Lava20:

Why Kossacks are so wonderful?  Because of threads like this one started by Deoliver47.

From asimbagirl:

Well, this from cowboyneok pretty much says it all wrt wingnut hypocrisy....

From sardonyx (tonight's diarist):

Lava20 finds a certain irony in the faked photos of yesterday's teabag demonstrations.

wmholt recalls a Tea Party moment that the baggers probably wish never had happened.

GreenSooner thinks there's a problem with using election campaigns as an organizing model.

Finally, today's top mojo using my revision of the cskendrick-devised mojo-to-Excel process.

First, Top Mojo excluding search-identifiable tip jars and first diary comments:

  1) I love this pic, it nails it all by MinistryOfTruth — 347
  2) Bush was just the rash indicating the disease. n/ by Fiddlegirl — 169
  3) These racists will never "get over it"--but it's by collardgreens — 157
  4) Repbublican paths to health care by Lefty Coaster — 147
  5) You know Pythagoras was a cult leader by A Mad Mad World — 111
  6) Have you seen the "We're number 37" video? by CitizenOfEarth — 110
  7) As Maureen Dowd Wrote by JekyllnHyde — 110
  8) (3) Have a boat load of cash by indycam — 105
  9) "this president is the ultimate civil rights ... by understandinglife — 105
10) 37%? ???? by dkmich — 100
11) (6) Stop whining. by Lazar — 98
12) President Obama has been on a roll all week by Jeff Y — 91
13) Maybe Jesus was there multiplying fish and loaves by Democratic Tribune — 91
14) Thank you, dopper0189, for by blue jersey mom — 91
15) 7. by Lava20 — 90
16) Yes, it does by oxfdblue — 85
17) Calling out fakes is fun by Mro — 84
18) it's the Jim Cro-Magnon Era by Karl Rover — 82
19) Does this seem unfair to you? by Angry Mouse — 76
20) Get a hip replacement while you are there by Kristina40 — 73
21) A friend of mine founded Neighborkeepers by Eileen B — 73
22) Andrew Sullivan has been comparing Obama by dlh77489 — 72
23) It really was something else by dlh77489 — 70
24) Addison Graves Wilson, Sr., our friend Joe... by BobTrips — 70
25) It makes me angry to see the racism that by SallyCat — 69
26) I believe by aaraujo — 69
27) There is already a White Kos on Daily Kos by AndyS In Colorado — 69
28) Please by Lava20 — 68
29) I'm sure the placement of the flag by Kudos — 66
30) Why don't we have a white president? by Angry Mouse — 64

Top Mojo with No Exclusions:

  1) Tips and other momentos by oxfdblue — 530
  2) You want proof? Here it is. by LaFeminista — 513
  3) Tip Jar by oznick — 511
  4) Tip Jar by robertacker13 — 507
  5) Tips so cooler heads prevail by dopper0189 — 425
  6) Tip Jar by Guinho — 424
  7) I love this pic, it nails it all by MinistryOfTruth — 347
  8) Tip Jar by AnotherMassachusettsLiberal — 295
  9) Las puntas para España y la regla de la ley by MinistryOfTruth — 293
10) Tip Jar by Zwoof — 264
11) Tip Jar by slinkerwink — 211
12) Tip Jar by coquiero — 206
13) Bush was just the rash indicating the disease. n/ by Fiddlegirl — 169
14) Tips for Campaigning on Health Care by Muzikal203 — 162
15) These racists will never "get over it"--but it's by collardgreens — 157
16) Tip Jar by calchala — 149
17) Repbublican paths to health care by Lefty Coaster — 147
18) Tip Jar by whoknu — 146
19) You know Pythagoras was a cult leader by A Mad Mad World — 111
20) Have you seen the "We're number 37" video? by CitizenOfEarth — 110
21) As Maureen Dowd Wrote by JekyllnHyde — 110
22) Tip Jar by Meteor Blades — 108
23) (3) Have a boat load of cash by indycam — 105
24) "this president is the ultimate civil rights ... by understandinglife — 105
25) 37%? ???? by dkmich — 100
26) (6) Stop whining. by Lazar — 98
27) Tip Jar by darthstar — 95
28) Maybe Jesus was there multiplying fish and loaves by Democratic Tribune — 91
29) President Obama has been on a roll all week by Jeff Y — 91
30) Thank you, dopper0189, for by blue jersey mom — 91
31) Thank you for reading by kid oakland — 91

© sardonyx; all rights reserved
All quotes are the property of the original authors or the websites that held them

Originally posted to sardonyx on Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 07:11 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site