Liberal hysterics over Trump a windfall for activist causes
It's a fact that tapping into people's fears for the future is a far more potent fundraising weapon than appealing to the better angels of their nature.
That said, the unprecedented outpouring of hysteria on the left over the election of Donald Trump makes any previous appeal to the fears of ordinary voters by either party pale by comparison.
Since election day, we have seen liberal meltdowns all over the media as commentators try to outdo each other predicting Armageddon because of Trump's victory. The consequence of this is that many activists have heeded the call that there's an emergency of unprecedented proportions and the country can be saved only by giving cash to liberal organizations.
From smaller local organizations to household names such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, nonprofit organizations across the US reported fundraising tallies many magnitudes higher than in previous years as they approached their end-of-year donation drives.
“This is always our big time of year, but this year it’s huge,” said Loretta Prescott, development director for the Immigration Legal Advocacy Project in Maine. “Instead of giving gifts, people are making donations to causes they believe in.”
Progressive causes in the US saw a spike in donations immediately after the election on 8 November from voters dismayed, outraged or even frightened by the outcome. In the weeks since, this wave of strategic giving has compounded.
Planned Parenthood has received more than 300,000 donations in the six weeks since the election, 40 times its normal rate. Around half the donors were millennials and 70% had never given to the family planning organization before, a spokesman told the Guardian.
Women’s reproductive rights are considered under threat on many fronts from an incoming Trump administration. Vice president-elect Mike Pence has such a reputation for being anti-abortion that since the election, 82,000 of Planned Parenthood’s donations have been from pro-choice supporters making gifts to them in his name.
The ACLU donations web page crashed the day after the election as visitors increased by 7,000%, and in the next five days it raised more than $7m from 120,000 donors. Now it says it has raised almost $23m from more than 300,000 individual gifts in just online donations.
Advocacy consulting group 270 Strategies – created in 2013 by veterans of Barack Obama’s two presidential election campaigns and which specializes in advising progressive causes on grassroots organizing – said many of its hundreds of clients were reporting a surge in support.
“We work with gun safety groups, environmental groups, immigration and voting rights organizations, unions pushing for a higher minimum wage, supporters of public education and women’s reproductive rights, and many are seeing an extraordinary uptick in support both by way of donations and volunteers,” said Hari Sevugan, a director of 270 Strategies based in Chicago.
A new website encourages people to make donations to liberal causes not just in honor of Trump or Pence, but for some of their wildly controversial senior staff and cabinet picks.
Exaggerating the fears of women and minorities is the left's stock in trade. For decades, liberals have managed to convince black Americans that electing a Republican will mean a return to the "Jim Crow" era of "separate but equal." You would think that most ordinary people wouldn't be taken in by this nonsense, but the fact is, the tactic works like a charm every time.
The attack on Trump and conservatives is even more preposterous when it comes to women's reproductive rights. While most Republicans hope Trump will name Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, that act alone won't stop abortions. Since that famous court case, other decisions have solidified a woman's right to choose abortion, although a conservative court could restrict the practice significantly.
But the charge against Trump and conservatives that's most giggle-worthy is that the GOP will seek to ban oral contraceptives and other birth control methods. Only a tiny fraction of Republicans support that position, making the left's hysteria over the issue a matter of clear fundraising rather than any serious concern.
Filling the coffers of liberal organizations by ginning up hysteria over what Trump and the Republicans may or may not do is nothing new. But the scope of the effort and the passion of activists is unprecedented. Conservative groups should not sit on their laurels. They should try to match the opposition dollar for dollar.