by John Hawkins | April 24, 2007 9:11 am
There has been a lot of discussion in the political wonk circles of late about why the left is outperforming the right in fund raising online.
Well, at the end of the 2006 election cycle, I created Rightroots, and with the help of some dedicated people (Mary Katharine Ham, Rob Bluey, Erick Erickson, Ed Morrissey, Patrick Hynes, & Lorie Byrd) we managed to raised north of $275k in about 3 months, even though we were trying to figure out what we were doing as we went along. After that, I can tell you exactly why the left raises more money than the right…
#1) They ask more.
#2) They have a bigger audience.
Now, let me break that down a bit.
When I say that they have a bigger audience, I mean that the left side of the blogosphere is a heck of a lot bigger than the right and the lefty blogs don’t have a problem with asking their readers to contribute money to Democratic candidates. The Rightroots recruited bloggers started out smaller to begin with and percentage wise, a lot of the bigger blogs didn’t want to ask their readers to contribute.
So, it’s not hard to see why the left can raise more money. If you have an audience of 1000 people and ask them 20 times to give money, you’re going to raise more money than someone else with an audience of, say 350 people, who asks for money 5 times.
Next, we have to ask ourselves why the left side of the blogosphere is bigger than the right. I’d give two reasons for that…
#1) The left has been angry because they’ve been out of power and have sought out liberal information sources to find out how to get back into power. The same thing happened on the right in the Clinton years.
#2) The right is structured differently than the left, in part because talk radio has captured a significant part of the conservative audience.
That means that if we want to compete numbers wise with the left, we either have to wait for the Democrats to take over and wait a few years for the audience in the blogosphere to really take off — or talk radio and the big non-blog sites are going to have to make up the gap in size between the left and right side of the blogosphere in fund raising.
And, if you think about it, why couldn’t they? Why couldn’t Rush Limbaugh, Lucianne, Free Republic, Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, National Review, etc., etc., raise money for the GOP?
Now, this is important, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here: I’m not criticizing these conservatives with big audiences for not raising money or trying to tell them what do with their radio shows/websites, but what I am saying is that the game has changed.
For a long time, there was a strict divide between punditry and fund raising for a political party, but Kos and Company changed that. Yes, they are willing to raise money and guess what? They’re good at it, their audiences don’t seem to mind, and it has increased the amount of power they wield in the Democrat party.
So, why couldn’t Rush Limbaugh, Lucianne, Free Republic, Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, & National Review do the same thing? Why shouldn’t all the big conservative radio hosts and mags get involved? I mean, you can talk about conservatism all day long, but at the end of the day, if you don’t get conservative Republicans elected, conservatism loses — and a big part of getting conservative Republicans elected is money.
I understand that people may be reluctant to shake the cup, but it’s becoming part of the game and if the left is willing to play the game while the right isn’t, well, we’re going to continue to fall behind in this area.
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