Week One: May 21-May 25

This first week hasn’t been a full week, as I didn’t get the idea until Tuesday, but it certainly has been a full inbox! 104 emails have come in from 18 campaigns. Thursday was the busiest day of the week, with 24 emails (23%) and 68 of the emails (65%) came from campaign staff instead of the candidates themselves. 1 email came from a candidate’s family: John Delaney’s wife, April.

I don’t have any yellow in this chart…

Over the past week, each campaign has sent on average 4 emails (including those candidates who are playing coy and haven’t sent me anything!). Some campaigns have been especially needy.

Michael Bennet wins Most Bestest Friend of the week for sending me 11 emails in just 5 days. Fun fact (or perhaps not so fun for the Bennet campaign): everyone I have mentioned this to in person has given me a confused look and asked “Who?”

Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and Tim Ryan have each sent me 9 emails in 5 days. This strikes me as interesting, because Biden and Harris are considered some of the big names in this race, while Castro and Ryan are some of the underdogs. I feel like this says something, but I’m not exactly sure what it is saying just yet.

I deleted all of the Google inboxes except for Primary, Promotions, and Spam. The majority of the campaign emails ended up in Promotions, but 5 campaigns managed to land their emails in the coveted Primary inbox, while 9 campaigns were snagged by Spam. Interestingly, no campaign managed to land 100% in either Spam or Primary.

I’m just grateful Promotions doesn’t ping my phone

The Primary inbox winners included:

  • Joe Biden welcoming me to the mailing list.
  • Cory Booker welcoming me to the mailing list
  • Kamala Harris welcoming me to the mailing list
  • Andrew Yang welcoming me to the mailing list, talking about improving communities, and announcing new merchandise (3 emails!)
  • Tim Ryan asking if I agreed with his views on climate and if I wanted to see him on the debate stage (2 emails)

While it may have felt like there was a theme to landing in Primary, that wasn’t always the case. Plenty of welcoming emails ended up in promotion, and several even ended up in Spam, along with John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan, Steve Bullock, Julian Castro, Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, and Cory Booker. Mercifully, no one ended up in Spam twice.

I’m going to pretend nobody ever emails on a Sunday or a Monday.

Thursday was the busiest day of the week, with 24 emails. Friday was the second busiest with 23. Average daily emails is thrown off by the lack of Sunday and Monday this week, but for the five days of data I had, it averaged to about 21 emails a day.

It kind of looks like a hand…

54 emails were received between 11:00 AM and 4:59 PM EST (52%). Only 4 emails arrived after 9:00 PM EST. 2 were sent by Steve Bullock, while John Hickenlooper and Kamala Harris each sent 1. All three candidates are definitely further west than I am, so I suppose I can forgive them.

The art of a campaign is the art of the ask. It’s a rare campaign email that does not include some sort of ask from the reader. Many emails include multiple asks. Absolutely unsurprisingly, the most common ask is to Donate.

Less than 60% of emails were asking for money: this actually surprised me!

Signing up to volunteer or signing a petition were the next two biggest asks. Engaging with social media was requested in 9 emails, while the Other this week were two emails from Amy Klobuchar’s campaign asking me to sign her birthday card. I didn’t. That would be engaging with an email.

(Happy belated birthday, Amy!)

That little sliver of yellow was Michael Bennet’s request to split a donation between himself and the Kentucky Democratic Nominee Fund, the only campaign to ask that money go elsewhere. In light of his other emails, it was an absolutely shrewd move. Bennet is desperate to get to the 65,000 unique donors required for the Democratic debates next month, and he has been trying every trick in the book to get my money, including offering a FREE sticker if I donate $1 to cover postage. With his 11 emails, he really is pulling out all the stops.

I’m going to pause to offer Cory Booker a shout-out. His emails have been nothing unusual or desperate. They haven’t been a mish-mash of colors or a wall of text. There has been absolutely nothing *special* about his emails except for their unwavering earnesty.

I know, for some, $1 doesn’t seem like a lot, but it means the world to have your support.

For me, success isn’t defined by how many dollars we can raise, but by how many people raise their hands to be part of it. I’m going to be asking for your help, in all sorts of ways, in the weeks and months to come.

It is striking that we’re living in a time where a candidate actually listening to the people made news. (Seriously. It made headlines — check it out.) At the end of the day, we don’t live in an autocracy. The presidency belongs to the people. Listening to what people think shouldn’t be an anomaly — even if they’re not old enough to vote yet.

Every campaign says nice things. Every campaign has positive anecdotes. But Booker’s campaign is thus far the only one where every single email except the welcome one (provided there is more than 1 email in my inbox) has been signed by the candidate and every single email has the exact same tone. Booker has not gone negative once, not about his competition, about Republicans, about the challenges his campaign is facing… even as he talks about being the underdog, he finds a way to spin it positive. While it is nothing special, it is notable in its consistency.

But back to the other candidates. Mish-mash of color? There have been some major offenders in the color schemes this past week. Kamala Harris gets a pass for her use of color because they are all her chosen campaign colors and they play nicely together. Some candidates, though…

In today’s digital age, you’d think yellow highlighter would have faded…

A handful of candidates have been using yellow to highlight important parts of their emails, even if they’re already bold or underlined. Julian Castro is the offender above, highlighting a bold, underlined, and blue hyperlink, but Tim Ryan and Steve Bullock have indulged frequently enough for me to notice.

However, the hands-down winner of worst use of color this past week is Amy Klobuchar.

At least it’s not yellow?

With her logo already an unconventional green and an unusually light blue, Klobuchar has some bold color choices at her disposal already. Instead of continuing with this theme, she chose a purple highlight and a salmony button with a dark red drop shadow. While an argument could be made for a rainbow-esque gradient of colors, no rainbow starts with green. Personally, I would have gone with a blue highlight and green buttons myself, but I am no graphic designer.

Finally, to wrap the week up, I want to touch base with Kamala Harris’ fundraising. You may recall these charts from earlier this week:

Less than $50,000 on May 22, 2019. Image from Kamala Harris for the People
Maybe $75,000 on May 23, 2019. Image from Kamala Harris for the People

Her campaign has been slowly filling in that bar.

$100,000 on May 24, 2019! Image from Kamala Harris for the People
$135,000? May 25, 2019. Image from Kamala Harris for the People

The number is creeping up, but I’m not sure if it’ll make it before the end of May. The slow climb of this chart, the daily updates… this is the drama I have to look forward to now that Game of Thrones is over. Will Harris make it to her goal? Will Booker stay upbeat? Will I ever hear from Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Mike Gravel, Wayne Messam, Eric Swalwell, or Marianne Williamson? Will Biden come up with a different folksy greeting other than Folks? Who knows!? The primary season has only just begun!

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