Two hours after January’s earthquake struck Haiti, a texting donation campaign, “Text HAITI to 90999,” was up and running. After three days the effort had raised $5 million for the Red Cross, and “Text” and “90999” were in the top-10 trending topics on Twitter. Nine months later, more than $40 million has been donated by people sending as little as $5 to $10 from their cell phones.
To right-wing activists, President Obama’s every move is a chance to champion an alternative cause. And the tactic appears to work even when Obama doesn’t budge, at least when the issue is gun-related. Obama campaigned on a modest set of control policies (like reviving the assault-weapons ban), and he hasn’t taken action on any of them, recently earning an F from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Yet gun-rights advocates have managed not only to open their wallets—gun applications leaped by nearly 50 percent in Obama’s first week in office—but to spur legislation.