Keep Winning with WinRed? Online Fundraising Platform as the Party’s Public Good


We show that WinRed’s emergence as Republicans’ leading online fundraising platform proves how parties can evolve to help members achieve their ambitions (Aldrich, 2011). We document that despite mounting fundraising pressures, Republicans’ adaptation to online fundraising had been slow and disjointed until 2019, while Democrats already had a coordinated fundraising platform (ActBlue). We theorize that the Republican Party, internalizing the collective benefits of coordinating members onto a single fundraising platform, created WinRed to rival ActBlue and implemented a top-down approach to enforce candidate adoption of this platform. We find that, in contrast to ActBlue, WinRed’s public rhetoric extols its value to the party’s shared fortunes, and that Republicans coordinated their online solicitation strategies on WinRed. Furthermore, a panel matching design shows the promise delivered: candidates, especially women and those reliant on small-dollar donations, reaped significant fundraising benefits upon joining WinRed. We discuss how this centralization may transform the GOP’s future.


Supplementary material

Online Appendices
Online Appendices


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