I think it's a darn strange thing for political activists in the United States to be using Guy Fawkes Night as an excuse for a special event in a Presidential campaign, but that's just what some Ron Paul advocates have done.
Perhaps echoing the traditional childrens' request for "a penny for the guy" to buy fireworks, these advocates-- without the support of the official Ron Paul campaign organization-- have been exhorting other supporters to make $100 donations to the campaign today. The donations are going through the regular channels (a donation page on the campaign's website), so this isn't a scam, but I still think it's pretty weird. In fact, I said so a few times when people asked me about it. I think it isn't entirely appropriate to be connecting a legitimate political campaign with a 400-year-old act of insurrection.
But I guess a lot of other people think it's okay, because the donations have been pouring in. As I write this, we're still nine hours away from the end of the day here in California, but the day's total is already in excess of $2.7 million, and donations continue to arrive at the rate of $200,000 per hour.
(As an aside, the fact that these figures are available at all says a lot about the integration of computer technology with political campaigning. The Ron Paul organization offers a live feed of donation records which is summarized in real time on ronpaulgraphs.com.)
The campaign itself seems a little unprepared for this whole thing; in a blog post earlier today, campaign fundraising director Jonathan Bydlak didn't even mention the Guy Fawkes connection. But he did say that the amount raised so far is already a record for Republican online fundraising, and it looks like the day's total will exceed what Bydlak says is the all-time record for single-day fundraising: $3.1 million.
It's all pretty amazing, anyway.
[Update: the graph showed just over $4 million as of midnight East Coast time, but the Ron Paul campaign told the Associated Press that the actual figure is somewhere in excess of $4.2 million from over 37,000 individual donors. Apparently there's some data loss in that real-time feed...]