Donating directly to candidates vs. donating to DSCC
September 20, 2020 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I have a small amount of money that I'd like to donate to help Democratic candidates running for the US Senate. What's the most effective way to do this?

Is it better to donate to individual campaigns, or better to give to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)?

Also, should I set aside some money to give to the Biden campaign, or should I direct all of my funds to senatorial races? The larger goal here is to defeat Trump and convert the Senate to a Democratic majority.
posted by akk2014 to Law & Government (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
There's a group called Get Mitch or Die Trying that's splitting all donations between the tightest Senate races.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:27 AM on September 20, 2020 [8 favorites]

An option is to donate to the Great Slate, a set of less-well-funded House campaigns in states with competitive Senate races.

The idea is that the House races, which are not very well-funded so donations matter somewhat more, will turn out Democratic votes for themselves and help the Senate races in the process.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:39 AM on September 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

Arizona is without a doubt the most vital Senate race going. Donating to Mark Kelly's campaign could help save the Supreme Court. You can donate online.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:57 AM on September 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

In addition to the Great Slate, you might consider giving to the State Slate, which features state-level races. As vogon_poet mentioned, the idea is that the federal races are often saturated and can't usefully spend more money, while the state-level races are often underfunded and can help increase turnout. This article has more on this idea: In addition, most of the laws that affect folks on a day-to-day basis (2020 redistricting, ACA expansion, cornonavirus policy, schools (including reopening), university funding, housing policy, some types of police reform) are done on a local level, where Republicans have historically dominated even in places where they've had some losses at the federal level. Part of this has been due to a fundraising advantage. Giving to state races helps ameliorate that.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 12:46 PM on September 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

If you don't know which candidate to donate to, or can't choose, I'd give it to the DSCC.

If you do want to give it to a single candidate, I'm going to go ahead and ask you to please not donate to Mark Kelly if you only have a little money. Kelly is absolutely flush with cash at the moment and is polling anywhere from eight to 17 points ahead in Arizona, depending on what polls you read. You get a lot more bang for the buck with donations to places like Alaska and Montana (cheap media markets) and Iowa, where the race is competitive. Same goes for Georgia, where Jon Ossoff barely lost his last race; also, helping him will help get out the vote for Rafael Warnock in his race against the awful Kelly Loeffler. And Mike Espy in Mississippi is polling relatively well against that horrible woman who made jokes about lynching earlier this year; some cash to his campaign could really help.
posted by holborne at 12:48 PM on September 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

Not the OP, but was wondering the same thing and I ended up going with GetMitch. Thanks for the recommendation, as frankly this has been getting confusing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:58 PM on September 20, 2020

Response by poster: To clarify my question: Groups like DSCC and Get Mitch doubtless have some overhead (payroll, rent, utilities, etc.). So my question is whether it's more effective to bypass the bureaucracies and donate directly to the campaigns -- or whether there is some reason why it still makes more sense to donate to those groups.
posted by akk2014 at 5:14 PM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don’t know the answer to the original question, but Get Mitch donations go 100% to the listed campaigns.
posted by songs about trains at 6:47 PM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't know about DSCC vs direct, but do focus donations towards the Senate races that are the most competitive/close right now - I keep refreshing various polls to find out. Note that Mark Kelly has enough $ and Amy McGrath doesn't stand a chance, so even though lots of well meaning people are pushing both on social media I don't think it's the best use of funds right now.
posted by CancerSucks at 7:58 PM on September 20, 2020

I've been donating to SwingLeft, which focuses on races where they have a good chance of flipping the seat. Right now, they're targeting a number of Senate races, and a bunch of state legislative races.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:14 PM on September 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

We gave our donation to the DSCC, assuming they'd be best prepared to spend money where it would be most useful at any given time. The Get Mitch list, despite its great name, seemed a bit too unfocused to be useful. Compare their list of campaigns with, say, the Cook Political Report, Five Thirty Eight, Vox, or the Washington Post, and you can determine whether more spending in Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, or Texas seems worthwhile to you or not.
posted by fedward at 8:23 AM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

akk2014, I should note that SwingLeft channels 100% of donations to campaigns, and doesn't take any of the money for its own overhead.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:25 AM on September 22, 2020

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