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November 6, 2007
Paul Supporters Pony Up
In a remarkable demonstration of the power of internet fundraising, supporters of Ron Paul raised more than $4 million in one day in a coordinated on line campaign that has the professionals with mouths agape:
Historians and British schoolchildren remember Guy Fawkes as the Roman Catholic, anti-Protestant rebel who on Nov. 5, 1605, tried to assassinate King James I by blowing up the Parliament. Only Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have raised more money in a single day. Truly remarkable considering that Paul is only at 5% in the national polls and given little chance to come anywhere near the front runners.
Supporters of the Republican primary campaign of the libertarian Representative Ron Paul may remember Fawkes as a wildly successful fund-raising gimmick. On Monday, a group of Paul supporters helped raised more than $4.07 million in one day — approaching what the campaign raised in the entire last quarter — through a Web site called ThisNovember5th.com, a reference to the day the British commemorate the thwarted bombing.
Many fans of Mr. Paul know of the day primarily through a movie based on the futuristic graphic novel “V for Vendetta,” by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, in which a terrorist modeled after Fawkes battles a fascist government that has taken over Britain.
Ed Morrissey has some interesting thoughts on the phenomenon:
The libertarian impulse may have stronger legs than anyone recognizes. It certainly seems more individually vibrant than the "values voters" segment of the Republican Party, which hasn't even produced a candidate in this election, let alone this kind of impromptu grassroots effort. Getting beyond the haters and conspiracy mongers will be the problem. But there's no doubt that the excitement generated on line by the Paul campaign will have the pros looking very carefully at ways they can maximize their fundraising through the internet.
It could also complicate the primaries if Paul manages to turn this fundraising into actual poll strength. And, of course, it means we have to hear Paul again in the debates, which will dent all of this marvelous momentum he's generated. Beyond Paul and his flaws, the Republicans had better start paying attention to these voters.
Like it or not, they represent a passion that seems to have left the GOP in recent months, and even if they skew young and may not vote as promised this cycle, they will eventually.