First, it makes it easier for new candidates to emerge. Now that getting set up on ActBlue is as simple as visiting our setup form, it’s easier than ever to start fundraising online, and fundraising ability is a key indicator of that hazily understood concept of “viability.” In short, it means more new voices, and as the BMG rules text reminds me, diversity is strength.
Low barriers to entry dovetails nicely with another of our organizational priorities here at ActBlue: growing the farm team. A few election cycles ago, Barack Obama was a state senator from Illinois. Talented, and impeccably credentialed, he could’ve chosen more or less any vocation. He chose politics, and it seems to have worked out for him. Many other talented folks choose to pursue other paths, and part of that decision is the onerous burden of fundraising. By doing our part to make fundraising a little less overwhelming, we hope to make it easier for talented folks to pursue a career in politics.
The other side of that coin is that it’s now easier than ever for people to participate meaningfully in downballot races. The obvious test case is Wisconsin, where a state issue became part of the national conversation, and Democrats collected almost $2 million in donations through ActBlue. By allowing national organizations and state parties to coalesce in one place, we helped fuel 14 days that may put control of the WI state senate back in Democratic hands.
Finally, candidates with a broad base of support are harder targets for special interests. In Federalist #10, James Madison argues that a large polity makes it harder for a single faction (read: interest) to prevail. We’re talking about fundraising here, but the logic is the same. If candidates rely on donations from a large pool of donors, they’re less likely to be swayed by the actions of the powerful few.
All of this is to say: if you know a Democrat running for state office, or local office in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Newton, Scituate, Ayer, Southbridge, or Malden, they should get listed on ActBlue.
I’ll be checking comments, so feel free to ask questions below, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org