Democrats have a small donor problem, as Sanders aide warns of ‘fundraising crisis’

The Democratic Party’s small-dollar fundraising machine is in disarray and unable to compete with Republican efforts, according to a former money man for Bernie Sanders.

The former online fundraising manager for Sen. Sanders’ (I-Vt.) run for the Democratic presidential nomination last year has warned that while his party’s supporters may be motivated to vote, they are no longer donating with the same level of enthusiasm.

The overall picture one gets from the DNC’s emails is of a directionless, reflexive party that fails to ask Democratic supporters to do more than oppose Republicans, let alone work for a different vision for the future of the country,” Michael Whitney said.

People are motivated to act when they feel like part of something larger than themselves,” Whitney added.

In the first six months of this year, the Republican National Convention has virtually doubled the inflows of its Democratic counterpart — $75 million to $38 million.

And $33 million of that money came from small-dollar donors who gave no more than $200 over the entire election cycle.

By contrast, Democrats raised just $21 million from their smaller donors over that period.

That is a far cry from the record-breaking success of grassroots fundraising efforts for Barack Obama and Sanders.

Yet part of the reason why the GOP efforts have been so successful, Whitney claims, is because they have copied the tactics that caused Sanders to become the leading recipient of small-sum contributions in history.

Last year, President Trump raised $281 million from grassroots donors despite not actively soliciting them until June — and with most donations coming through fundraising emails, the messaging matters.

Just as Sanders supporters felt that their contributions would make or break his campaign, Team Trump has made his partisans feel the same way, something that’s likely to prove crucial to the outcome of next year’s midterm elections.

He’s become a more prolific small-dollar fundraiser than any Democrat precisely because he’s using empowering, movement-based language that specifically prioritizes small donations and treats online communications as relationships, not transactions,” said Whitney.

His campaign’s emails specifically speak about the idea that Trump can’t be successful on his own — that success is only possible if his supporters are with him.

And for now, the ability to coax a feeling of belonging — of being a part of an ongoing movement — is keeping Republican donations flowing so thickly that their opponents can’t keep up.

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