Republicans Launch Mobile Donation Platform

Donald Trump - Rally - 2020 - Fundraising
President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd after speaking during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republicans launched a new mobile donation platform on Monday that they hope will rival ActBlue, the Democrats’ internet-based fundraising behemoth.

Called WinRed, it’s a play by the GOP to replicate Democrats’ success raising massive amounts of cash online from grassroots supporters who typically give just a few dollars at a time. ActBlue was instrumental in Democrats’ 2018 midterm successes, drawing in over $1.5 billion from a restive party base angered by Donald Trump’s presidency.

Trump promoted WinRed in a Monday morning tweet that included a link to donate to his campaign.

“This new platform will allow my campaign and other Republicans to compete with the Democrats money machine,” Trump said.

For years, Republicans were wildly successful raising money through direct mail campaigns, a format the party dominated. But they have lagged in the online era.

Despite fielding a number of for-profit platforms, the party has had far less success than ActBlue, a nonprofit that saves donors’ information and allows them to give with a few taps of a smartphone.

Developing a rival to ActBlue has been a priority for the GOP ever since its midterm shellacking.

The major Republican Party committees are transferring their online fundraising activities to WinRed, with the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee all shifting over. The hope is that will lead to a groundswell that brings others to the fold.

In recent years, the party has relied most on big-dollar donors, who have cut massive checks. Trump, however, has been an exception and was propelled through the GOP primary and into the White House in 2016 on a wave of small-dollar contributions.

Republicans now hopes WinRed will be the dominant one-stop shop that pulls small-dollar donors in — and then persuades them to give to other candidates who are farther down the ballot.

“WinRed is an important first step in leveling the playing field in the small-dollar donor race,” said Sen. Todd Young, chairman of the party’s Senate campaign committee. “A unified GOP fundraising platform will allow us to harness the enthusiasm for President Trump’s agenda, build a long-term small-dollar network and win in 2020.”

That may be easier said than done. ActBlue has existed since 2004, allowing it to build its foothold within the party over more than a decade and develop as fundraising shifted online.