Late in Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony today, the Republican surrogate questioner asked questions getting at whether anyone was funding her effort to tell her story about Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault, particularly if anyone was paying for her lawyers. In response, Blasey Ford mentioned that people had set up several GoFundMe accounts to fund her security detail but that she had not had time to figure out how they worked.
Soon after she mentioned the GoFundMe campaigns, the main one had raised $188,000, about 20% more than its 150k target. As I write this two hours later, it was over $350,000 and rising — obviously, plenty of people wanted to stand with her financially.
In a sense, this process is the internet protecting Blasey Ford from the internet: if it weren’t for social media and other digital channels, people would have had a much harder time threatening her safety in the first place. Bad actors could obviously have looked her phone number up in the past, but now her contact information can blast across the world in milliseconds. From Gamergate to your local middle school, digital tools allow flash mobs to form in minutes. Fortunately, as in Blasey Ford’s case, they also let people organize to help, not hurt. In less than six weeks, Americans who believe her will have a less virtual place to show their support: at the ballot box.