Progressive Groups Are Basically Printing Money After the Health Care Vote

Republicans got the bill. But Democrats will pick up the checks.

<a href="">Keith Cooper</a>/Flickr

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Progressives got a hard lesson in math on Thursday when the Obamacare repeal bill narrowly passed the House with 217 votes despite uniform Democratic opposition. But while the bill’s effect will be far-reaching if it eventually becomes law, in the short term it has become an almost unprecedented fundraising magnet for left-leaning grassroots groups.

In the 24 hours since the House vote, Daily Kos, the 15-year-old Netroots stalwart that has experienced a renaissance in the Trump era, raised $800,000 from 17,200 readers. That money will be split evenly among 24 Democratic candidates. (Daily Kos is specifically targeting the 24 Republican congressmen who voted for the bill but represent districts where President Donald Trump received less than 50 percent of the vote.) The group’s political director, David Nir, says the group previously raised $400,000 in one day for Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, and the same amount for Elizabeth Warren over the course of a year. But he couldn’t recall a $1 million haul.

Swing Left, which grew out of the postelection “resistance,” has only been around for a few months and has a much shorter track record of big fundraising hauls. But it has raised $850,000 from more than 20,000 donations since the vote, for the purposes of boosting candidates challenging its target list of 35 Republicans who voted for the bill (there is some overlap between the two lists). Swing Left got a signal boost from Crooked Media, the podcast empire launched by a group of Obama White House veterans, which partnered with the group to raise money.

Notably, the money raised going to candidates Thursday and Friday won’t end up in the hands of a candidate for a long time. It’ll be held in escrow for the winners of Democratic contests in those House districts next spring and summer. Think of it as a small pot of gold at the end of the primary.

Update: Per a Swing Left spokesperson, the organization had raised $200,000 for those 35 districts since they launched the fundraising page April 13—so to put the haul in perspective, in one day the group raised more than four times what it had raised in the previous 20.


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