The Daily Kos is a news website and blog focusing on progressive, liberal, and Democratic Party politics created by Markos Moulitsas. Moulitsas created Daily Kos hoping to turn its readers into left-wing activists, to influence elections in favor of liberal political candidates, and to support liberal think tanks and interest groups.
The Daily Kos influences elections by generating financial support for more liberal Democratic candidates. The Daily Kos has endorsed hundreds of Democrats for office and has raised millions of dollars for liberal campaigns. In the first 10 months of 2017, Daily Kos raised a total of $4.2 million for its endorsed political candidates.
Moulitsas has often faced criticisms of pay-to-play blogging, in which he allegedly writes blog posts in support of candidates for office after they have paid him or his business partners substantial sums of money. This trend has become so clear that the Howard Dean Presidential campaign (through staffer and future left-wing politician Zephyr Teachout) admitted that the campaign sought to secure favorable coverage for Dean’s campaign by employing Moulitsas and a colleague.
In 2006, Daily Kos organized and funded the first annual conference of “netroots” internet activists then known as the Yearly Kos, named after Moulitsas. The event, now renamed Netroots Nation, is described as a staple of the Democratic political circuit and has been attended by such noteworthy Democrats as then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).
Markos Moulitsas “started Daily Kos —a weblog focusing on progressive, liberal, and Democratic Party politics—on May 26, 2002.” Moulitsas has said that he created Daily Kos to oppose the Bush administration’s aggressive foreign policies, especially the Iraq invasion of 2003. Daily Kos is operated by Kos Media, LLC, headquartered in left-wing Berkeley, California.
Moulitsas expressed hope that the Daily Kos would turn its readers into liberal activists and influence elections in favor of liberal political candidates. Moulitsas said that he hoped to “foment a universe of liberal think tanks, media outlets, leadership courses and a coalition of interest groups marching in lockstep for the progressive cause.”
In its first year, Daily Kos attracted over 1.6 million unique visits and about 3 million page views. As of 2018, Daily Kos claims that it receives 2.5 million unique visitors per month and has 250,000 registered users.
In 2008, Time listed Daily Kos as its number 2 top blog of the year. However, the following year, 2009, the magazine called it one of its most overrated blogs. Time wrote that without the George W. Bush administration to use as a foil the blog “lost its mission, and its increasingly rudderless posts read like talking points from the Democratic National Committee.”
Daily Kos is described as a “liberal blog.” Media Bias Fact Check indicates that it is moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes that may “publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage liberal causes.”
Moulitsas has characterized the Daily Kos as a partisan Democratic blog seeking “electoral victory” for Democrats. By 2010, Moulitsas said that the “site is CERTAINLY NOT for all Democrats” and he specifically pointed out that the site did not cater to moderate Democrats such as former Democratic vice presidential nominee and U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas).
The blog is divided into two main news content sections. The first is the site’s front-page general news coverage provided by staff writers, contributing editors, and featured diary writers. The elections page provides a left-leaning take on current electoral campaigns. Its labor issues page largely promotes the actions taken and issues supported by labor unions. The Daily Kos Liberation League page focuses on issues relating to identity politics issues and liberal perceptions of race and gender-based injustice. The front-page also includes a section for liberal satirical comics and Daily Kos Radio.
The second news content section is the Daily Kos community, which is a collection of user diaries. Users are allowed two diary posts per day. The blog also includes posts from a number of notable Democratic politicians and liberal leaders including “Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and dozens of other senators, congressmen, and governors.”
Moulitsas has said that one of the intended goals of the Daily Kos is to influence elections “by creating buzz for little-known races and pressing the mainstream media to report on untold stories.” He has said that he views the Daily Kos as an activist organization and not a journalistic website. 
Beginning with a House of Representatives special election in 2004, Daily Kos has “regularly endorsed, written about, and raised money for worthy Democrats running in races across the nation.” The blog only endorses Democratic candidates and has attacked moderate Democratic incumbents and candidates in favor of their more left-wing Democratic challengers.
Daily Kos refuses to endorse any candidate that does not support abortions.
In 2004, the Daily Kos raised $500,000 for 15 Democratic candidates, most of whom lost. In 2006, it raised $1.4 million for 17 Democratic candidates, perhaps most prominently Ned Lamont (D), candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut. Lamont won his primary campaign against the more moderate incumbent Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who became an Independent and defeated Lamont in the general election. 
In 2016, Daily Kos endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for President and raised over $1 million for its endorsed candidates.
In the first 10 months of 2017, Daily Kos raised a total of $4.2 million for its endorsed political candidates. Much of this money went to fund Democrats in U.S. House special elections. The blog raised $400,000 for unsuccessful candidate Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia) and $166,000 for unsuccessful candidate James Thompson (D-Kansas).
For 2018 Daily Kos has announced a number of endorsements of state and federal legislative candidates, including Jacky Rosen for U.S. Senate in Nevada and Gina Ortiz Jones for U.S. Representative in Texas.
Daily Kos also advocates for various issue campaigns. In 2018 the blog supported 20 different issue campaigns either targeting prominent Republicans or addressing liberal issues.
Daily Kos’ campaigns call for gun control, environmentalist supported energy incentives, investigations into President Donald Trump, and increased labor union privileges.
As part of its 2017 fundraising, Daily Kos raised $1.5 million to target Republicans who voted to repeal Obamacare.
The Columbia Journalism Review wrote that evidence suggested that Daily Kos was involved in a “pay-for-play scheme, in which Kos […] has been hyping political candidates who pay [Jerome] Armstrong for his services.”
In 2005 The Wall Street Journal reported that former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign paid Daily Kos owner/blogger Markos Moulitsas and his political consulting business partner Jerome Armstrong $12,000 “as consultants so that they would say positive things about the former governor’s campaign in their blog posts.”  The Wall Street Journal cited Dean’s former head of Internet outreach Zephyr Teachout, who claimed that while the Daily Kos bloggers never formally committed to supporting Dean for the payment “it was very clearly, internally, our goal.”
Similarly, New Republic writer Jason Zengerle called attention to the fact that Daily Kos began promoting former governor Mark Warner (D-Virginia) only after Jerome Armstrong was hired as a consultant for Warner’s presidential campaign. Other critics alleged that Daily Kos did the same thing for other Armstrong clients, including then-U.S. Representative Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
Slate criticized the Daily Kos for failing to disclose which political candidates had previously paid Moulitsas and noted that Moulitsas had previously criticized this exact same type of action on the when it was taken by conservative bloggers. 
Moulitsas has denied these allegations. 
Moulitsas has been widely criticized for frequently making incendiary comments on the Daily Kos blog.
In 2004 after four American contractors were killed in Fallujah, Iraq and their bodies hung from a bridge, Moulitsas was widely panned for writing on the blog, “I feel nothing over the death of the mercenaries […] They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.”  In response to Moulitsas’s comments, the blog lost three sponsors and then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry removed a link to the blog from his campaign website. 
Yearly Kos/Netroots Nation
Also see Netroots Nation (Nonprofit)
In 2006, a group of bloggers organized the first annual conference of “netroots” activists. The gathering was named the Yearly Kos (later Netroots Nation) as a tribute to the Daily Kos and its founder Markos Moulitsas.
Daily Kos was influential in the funding and organization for the first Yearly Kos convention providing free advertising and web hosting for the new conference. Daily Kos also served as the unofficial information page for Yearly Kos activists.
Eventually Netroots Nation would grow to become a staple of the Democratic political circuit and described as the largest liberal gathering in the country. It has featured speeches from major Democratic politicians including then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts); involved a wide array of other notable liberal politicians; and has been sponsored by a long list of left-of-center organizations including Planned Parenthood, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, and Moveon.org.