Since Ron Paul's campaign for president in 2008, the idea of the "Money Bomb" has become a staple fundraising tool of the tea parties, libertarians and liberty Republican candidates. A Money Bomb is a coordinated effort to raise money for a specific candidate on a designated day spread virally through the internet, passed on from person to person through Facebook and Twitter and direct email. They can raise impressive money, but they also do it in a way which attracts attention to a campaign, because they raise a lot of money in a short period of time which intimidates opponents and lets supporters flex their financial muscles. And when a Money Bomb raises a big number in a single day the media pays attention, which gets the candidate some free publicity as well.
The success of these Money Bombs is undeniable. They played a big role in the victory of the Scott Brown campaign in Massachusetts this winter and have helped propel Rand Paul to national prominence and a strong lead in the Kentucky senate race. They have created a unique ability for local candidates to pull in money from all over the country and for candidates with pro-liberty reform agendas to raise enough money to compete effectively with political insiders in a way which has never really been possible before. Dissatisfaction with establishment politics clearly plays a role in their success, but the methodology of the Money Bomb also seems to be very effective at identifying and promoting deserving candidates through the internet. They have proven to be a very effective alternative to the cold-call lists and fundraising mailings favored by the major party organizations.
Today a new organization called Liberty Slate is taking this idea to a new level by launching a particularly ambitious Money Bomb directed at promoting a whole slate of candidates in House and Senate races around the country. They are attempting to use the Money Bomb concept to do what groups like the Democrat and Republican Campaign Committees have been doing by more traditional methods for years. But instead of focusing on candidates by party or geography, they are specifically focusing on candidates who have a strong pro-liberty message and who have a realistic chance of being elected. They are essentially attempting to duplicate the fundraising success of the Ron Paul campaign for 32 similarly minded candidates all over the country.
Liberty Slate is the brainchild of Aaron Biterman, a sharp young political activist who has worked as a fundraiser and organizer for various groups including Americans for Limited Government and the National Council on Teacher Quality. He is also on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus and organized Liberty Slate to raise money for the kinds of candidates the RLC recruits and promotes in an aggressive and creative way, free from the strictures which limit the RLC's endorsement process.
The site for the Money Bomb looks good. It presents the 32 candidates with pictures which link to their websites and info on where they are from, along with the option to contribute any amount of your choice to whichever candidates you select. I ran into a couple of minor glitches when trying it, but ultimately I was able to sort things out and make my contributions. It also offers the option to make a series of monthly contributions, so you can pay just a little per month and it can add up to a lot.
I was very favorably impressed with the selection of candidates. Many of them I was already familiar with, but some were new to me and I did a little investigating. These are dedicated candidates who are running serious campaigns on principles of limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty. A few of them appear to be runing unopposed in the primary and are raising money for the general election, but most of them are raising money for Republican party primaries which will mostly take place this summer. One of them, David Ratowitz, has actually already won his very early GOP primary in suburban Chicago and is now raising money for the general election.
It will be interesting to see how far Liberty Slate gets with this Money Bomb. This is their first outing, so it would be unrealistic to expect too much, but even divided among 32 candidates if they have anything like the success of traditional Money Bombs, some of which have raised millions, it could make a big difference for some of these grassroots campaigns which are chronically underfunded. I suspect that if there is any reasonable success they will continue to raise money and hold more Money Bombs.
Even if they don't raise millions right away, what I think is most significant about this effort is that they have brought online political fundraising to a new level, taking the best ideas from the Tea Party and the Ron Paul campaign and the idea of consolidated donation from the old-style campaign committees to produce a great option for one-stop shopping for those who share their beliefs. It's certainly a big improvement over the cold calls to confused old ladies we used to make when I worked at the NRSC. So if you want to promote liberty in the Republican Party and elect candidates who will move the party and the nation in a more positive direction, take some time to visit Liberty Slate.