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Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In the 2020 election — and, for that matter, all the less talked about mayoral and local races that are taking place in 2019 — countless donations will be made not by paper checks, but via laptops, desktops and smartphones. Sen. Bernie Sanders is running a very high-tech presidential campaign; so is President Donald Trump. And Sara Fischer, in a report for Axios, details some of the ways in which tech has taken over political fundraising in the United States.

The U.S., Fischer reports, has seen an explosion of “small-dollar political donations” during “this campaign cycle,” and the things driving this trend range from “cheap ads” online to “easy-to-use online donation platforms.” Tech, she stresses, has “brought more Americans into the political donation process than ever before” and encouraged “a surge in fundraising for contributions under $200.”

“Where the real change has been happening over the past three cycles — and increasingly over this presidential cycle — has been on Google and Facebook as well as with online fundraising software,” Fischer explains. According to the Axios reporter, fundraising platforms such as “ActBlue for Democrats and now, WinRed for Republicans” will “be key to driving small-dollar donations” in 2020.

In 2016, Fischer notes, ActBlue “helped boost Bernie Sanders’ campaign against Hillary Clinton” — and in July, GOP launched WinRed, its own version of ActBlue, “with the backing of President Trump’s reelection campaign and Republican party leaders.”

Fischer observes that in the past, political candidates “relied mostly on e-mail and direct mail to fundraise, but those platforms didn’t make donations as efficient or easy for people to participate.”

Tara McGowan, founder and CEO of the liberal/progressive nonprofit ACRONYM, told Axios, “Platforms like ActBlue and Facebook have made a number of improvements that result in quicker checkouts, recurring donations and higher conversion rates. These fixes allow for a better experience for the user and a higher ROI for campaigns.”

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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