One more sign pointing to the potential for a blue wave in November’s midterm elections: the surge in people making small-dollar donations to House Democratic candidates. According to a Tuesday analysis by The New York Times, the percentage of money Democrats are raising from small donations—defined as less than $200—has shot up from previous years and dwarfs the Republicans’ fundraising on the same front.
Notably, Democrats aren’t just pulling in much more from small donors than Republicans this year, they’re also outperforming the Republican Party in 2010, when the GOP rode a historic electoral wave driven by the Tea Party (a grassroots movement helpfully underwritten by big donors like the Kochs).
“A good share of Democratic small donor enthusiasm is a response to Trump,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics, told the Times. Small-dollar donors are Americans who likely feel newly engaged with politics, she said, and because they’ve already donated money to their candidate of choice, it’s more likely that they’ll actually turn out on Election Day.
One disadvantage to this approach that the Times points out is that in many competitive House races, leading Democratic candidates are left with less money than their Republican counterparts because they have to spend money running against members of their own party in crowded primary fields. But if anything should strike fear in the hearts of the GOP, it’s not just that Democrats candidates are out-raising them—it’s that they’re running more grassroots campaigns that are mobilizing voters. Couple that with a Republican Party running without a strong message and terrified of what their president will do to screw things up and you’ve got a party running scared.