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Anti-Trump wave? Fired-up liberals raise $1 billion

Anti-Trump wave? Fired-up liberals raise $1 billion

The record fundraising on ActBlue’s online platform offers one sign that the liberal activism fueled by President Trump’s election isn’t slowing down.

WASHINGTON – The online fundraising platform ActBlue this week surged past the $1 billion mark in contributions to Democratic candidates and causes in this election cycle.

The fundraising milestone, shared first with USA TODAY, offers a sign that the liberal activism fueled by President Donald Trump’s election isn’t slowing down.

The group predicts donations will top $1.5 billion by year’s end, double the amount the fundraising clearinghouse processed in the 2016 election cycle. By comparison, it took ActBlue nearly 12 years – from its founding in June 2004 until March 2016 – to raise its first $1 billion.

The average donation this cycle: $34.

About 13,000 candidates and groups raise money through the platform, up from about 5,400 in the 2016 election cycle. They range from liberal icon and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren to groups helping migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Small-dollar donors are funding the resistance,” Erin Hill, ActBlue’s executive director, said in an interview. “People initially said ‘This can’t be sustained,’ but it very much is.

“Donors are coming out for all sorts of issues. They aren’t just anti-Trump. They are excited about the new crop of candidates that are running for the first time.”

Helping fuel the growth: women, who now account for 61 percent of ActBlue’s 3.7 million contributors this cycle. That’s up from 54 percent in 2016 and 52 percent in 2014.

The rise of donations from liberal female donors comes as the number of women running for office soars.

A record 476 women have filed to run for the U.S. House of Representatives this year, topping the previous record of 298 set six years ago, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Democrats make up nearly three-quarters of this year’s female House candidates, the center’s tally shows.

Whitney Wilson, 43, a college professor who lives outside Boston, said she hadn’t paid close attention to politics before the outcome of the 2016 election.

“I think I just assumed Clinton would win,” she said. “I was one of those naive folks.”

These days, she  pays lots of attention, largely to the Trump administration’s moves on education, abortion rights, immigration and LGBTQ and transgender issues. She’s also a regular contributor on the ActBlue platform.

Since Trump’s inauguration, Wilson estimated, she has donated several hundred dollars, giving $20 or $30 at a time to candidates such as Warren or groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, which is aligned with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Wilson said donating helps her feel empowered in the midst of disturbing events such as mass shootings.

“You can be reading Twitter on your phone, get mad, click on a link and you’ve donated again,” she said.  “It’s very easy anger management.”

[USA Today]

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