The solicitations piled into voters’ email accounts — sometimes multiple times a day. And they carried alarming messages, often in blaring capital letters.
“We’re on the verge of BANKRUPTCY.”
“Our bank account is ALMOST EMPTY!”
“Trump is INCHES away from firing Robert Mueller.”
The catastrophic language yielded a fundraising bonanza for clients of Mothership Strategies, a little-known and relatively new digital consulting firm that raked in tens of millions of dollars from a tide of small donations that flowed to Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections.
The firm’s ascendancy as one of the highest-paid vendors of the election since its launch four years ago speaks to how lucrative the explosion of small-dollar donations has been for a group of savvy political consultants who saw the wave of cash coming — and built a business model to capitalize off it.
But its lightning-quick rise also has sparked consternation in Democratic circles, where Mothership is sometimes derided as the “M-word” because of its aggressive and sometimes misleading tactics, such as claiming in fundraising appeals that President Trump is preparing to fire the special counsel. Some critics call its approach unethical, saying the company profits off stoking fear of Trump and making the sort of exaggerated claims they associate with the president.