It turns out that supporting extremists isn’t always good business. WinRed, the platform created as a red state, right-wing counterpart to the Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue, lost money on the midterm elections.
The midterms were a disaster for the far-right, with Donald Trump’s endorsement proving less helpful than proclaimed, Republicans taking a fraction of the number of House seats they’d hoped for, and Democrats gaining in the Senate.
Now it turns out that their fundraising platform also lost — to the tune of perhaps as much as $6 million.
The platform, introduced in 2019, differs from ActBlue in that it is a for-profit company, rather than a non-profit payment processing entity, but at this point, the profit is looking questionable.
This follows the RNC putting pressure on the platform to decrease its fees after it reportedly made a hefty $10 million profit during the 2020 election.
Over the 2022 election cycle, however, ActBlue is reporting almost twice the donations as WinRed, and the latter seems to have suffered.
The company isn’t responding to requests for information but does have — as their pinned tweet at the top of their Twitter feed — a boast from 2020 about outearning the nonprofit ActBlue.
“One Republican familiar with the privately held entity’s finances said it lost about $6 million over 2021 and 2022. A second confirmed the loss but believed the total was not quite that high. Both spoke on condition of anonymity,” HuffPost reported.
The company is also reported to have poured investment cash into alternative options in the event that credit card processing companies decided to cut ties, as they did with many right-wing entities after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The company’s practices were also called into question in its first year of existence.
Donors needed to manually hunt down a checkbox to turn off recurring donations, as one victim told The New York Times when his total intended donation of $500 turned into $3,000 before he learned of the setup and corrected it.
In fact, the RNC and Trump were forced to make refunds (for this and other reasons) totaling over $64 million at the end of 2020 — suggesting that a significant proportion of what was raked in during that early period were unintended donations.
WinRed’s tweet boasting of raking in $2 billion in its first year-and-a-half is still prominently featured at the top of its social media page.
"By contrast, ActBlue, the Democratic Party's main fundraising platform that preceded WinRed, reached the $2 billion milestone in 14 years between its founding in 2004 and 2018, Republican officials said." pic.twitter.com/CQISADYsZy
— WinRed (@WINRED) December 15, 2020
So far there has been no word as to how the for-profit WinRed will try to overcome its current deficit.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.