Today, the Republicans launched ActRight, their alternative to ActBlue, and tell us exactly how well it's going:
In the art of war, it’s supremely important to know thy enemy. So I ask you – do you know about ActBlue?
ActBlue is the technology platform created by some leftist tech gurus out of Massachusetts that has powered a transformational shift – in the wrong direction – of American politics. By being able to create a community of activists on the left, and engaging that community on behalf of preferred candidates and leftists causes, ActBlue has become a fundraising behemoth – raising nearly $500 million since its founding in 2004.
That’s right. Almost half a billion dollars.
Prior to ActBlue, the Democratic left was run in significant part by liberal elitists in Washington, New York, Boston and other centers of influence. They decided which candidates were favored. People named Kennedy. And Cuomo. Dukakis. And Kerry.
But ActBlue changed all that. By harnessing technology, the founders of ActBlue were able to create a community of donors on the left who could work together in support of candidates and causes important to them. For the first time ever, a donor to a city council member in Houston could learn about, and support, a liberal candidate for US Senate in North Carolina, or a ballot initiative in Maine, or a candidate for Governor in Minnesota.
This sense of community is the same factor that has resulted in the explosive growth of social media, including community sites such as Facebook and You Tube. And it’s inspired liberal philanthropy through the new phenomena known as “crowd funding.”
The Democratic Party is not the only party that once was controlled by insiders and elitists. That description fits the GOP as well. As a conservative activist, this frustrated me greatly. I grew tired of the same old establishment choices picked by elitists who went on to lose national elections.
Even when our candidates won, they often governed as if a liberal, ballooning the size of government racking up unprecedented levels of debt.
As I studied the transformation of the left being driven by ActBlue, I realized that we could use technology to do the same thing for the conservative movement. And that’s why I founded ActRight.
ActRight is the antidote to ActBlue. It’s a powerful technology platform – superior to the ActBlue platform in every meaningful way – that gives conservatives the opportunity to form a community of like-minded individuals and work together to support genuine conservative candidates and causes with real convictions.
ActRight is doing just that. In just our first year of existence, we’ve created a community of 200,000 activists and 50,000 donors who have grabbed an oar and raised nearly $7 million for true conservative candidates and causes. We’ve also been incredibly efficient. Every dollar spent on ActRight has generated four dollars being raised to support true conservative candidates. When was the last time an investment produced a four-to-one return?
If our growth rate continues, we have a chance to be a significant player in the 2014 elections, and potentially play a decisive role in the 2016 presidential election. Imagine if we as a community of conservatives had the clout to influence the election of a genuinely conservative candidate for president, and then to hold his or he feet to the fire when in office. Just as ActBlue has done with President Obama.
The trouble is, our growth rate can’t continue because we do not have the resources we need to grow. In fact, unless we raise some funds to support our operations, there’s a chance we could die on the vine.
The trouble is that we’re hogtied by a pitifully small operating budget. We barely have the money to make ends meet every month, let alone fund the activities that will allow us to grow like ActBlue did on the left.
Because we want every penny raised to go to the genuinely conservative candidates and causes we’re raising funds to support, we’ve kept our transaction fees incredibly low. In fact, they’re so low we have been losing money. The backend work to comply with campaign finance and reporting laws is so complex and cumbersome that every dollar we get from processing a contribution, and then some, is expended in accounting and legal compliance work.
I’m asking for your help. If you believe in the mission of ActRight – to become a clearinghouse for conservative action, taking power from the big corporations and the left and putting it into the hands of everyday Americans, then I ask you to make a donation of $20.
We’ll use that $20 donation to invest in the growth of this incredible technology platform. We’ve got a plan to add engineers, designers, writers and graphic artists to help us expand our reach. We’ll put your donation to use by exposing our platform to an increasing number of candidates and causes. And we’ll invest your donation in new tools to organize and coalesce conservatives across America to take action by electing champions for issues we care about, and then holding those officials accountable for achieving real results.
Can you imagine how different our nation would be if we had the ability to raise big money from the grassroots for true conservatives with real convictions like ActBlue has done for candidates and causes on the left? A fraction of a half billion dollars would go a long way towards emboldening officeholders to champion the conservative movement.
Will you help with a donation of $20?
ActRight is the only group that has an independent technology platform with the capacity to compete against the vast wealth marshaled against conservatives. We’ve accomplished so much on a shoestring. We’re poised for real growth and to help propel our candidates and causes forward – but only if we can raise the funds needed to invest in success. If we can’t, this great platform with so much potential could die of neglect, leaving ActBlue and the organized left free to continue to drag the nation down a ruinous path.
I wanted to snort outloud reading through this, realizing how bad at shaping a message these people truly are. ActRight? "Act Right" has long been a quick phrase for people to admonish others for being unruly, to harken up the idea that people can't behave or to highlight poor manners.
So, now, ActRight feels as though it can challenge ActBlue as a means to motivate their base to donate. OpenSecrets tells the tale:
They say they will find candidates who represent their view, fund them just like ActBlue does liberals.. but it doesn't take much digging to find this as their big effort:
As a result of additional IRS scrutiny, True the Vote, a Houston based non-profit, non-partisan charitable and educational organization, filed a complaint in federal court in Washington against the IRS, asking the Court to grant its long-awaited tax exempt status for which the organization filed in three years ago and seeking damages for the unlawful actions by the IRS in the processing of its application for exempt status. ActRight Legal Foundation represents True the Vote in the lawsuit.Remember True the Vote?
“True the Vote is dedicated solely to the protection of the integrity of the election process in our country”, said Catherine Engelbrecht, the President of True the Vote. “We are not partisan and we are not political. But the IRS nonetheless blacklisted our organization, along with hundreds of other citizens groups. We want the exempt status to which we are entitled, which the IRS has unlawfully delayed for more than three years. And we want to know the truth as to why it has been held up by the IRS and what exactly has been going on inside the IRS regarding our organization’s application,” she added.
As my colleague Laura Conaway reported last year, "True the Vote is a project of the King Street Patriots, a Tea Party chapter in Houston, Texas. One True the Vote leader tells volunteers their goal is to give voters a feeling 'like driving and seeing the police following you.'"So, I guess ActRight is more about the shaming method of funding efforts to keep people away from the polls, rather then find candidates worth voting for.
True the Vote's efforts became so controversial that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a longtime champion of voting rights, called for an investigation of the group's alleged voter-suppression techniques. "At some point, an effort to challenge voter registrations by the thousands without any legitimate basis may be evidence of illegal voter suppression.... If these efforts [from True the Vote] are intentional, politically motivated and widespread across multiple states, they could amount to a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights."
Or maybe it's about a rap song. Still haven't decided.