Week Three: June 2-June 8

This is the first full week since I started tracking with no obvious or official deadlines. I ended up with a total of 151 emails from 20 campaigns, which averaged to just over 7.5 emails per campaign, or a little more than 1 per day.

If you’ve read this blog long enough, you already know that no campaign has managed to hit that mythical 1 per day.

This is a familiar spread.

With 15 emails in 7 days, Cory Booker wins “Most Eager to not be Forgotten.” Honorable Mentions go to Joe Biden, Steve Bullock, and Tim Ryan, with 14 emails each.

1 “Other” goes to Joe Biden asking me to sign a birthday card for his wife.

The overwhelming ask this week, as it always is, was for donations. However, the campaigns weren’t focused on the monetary amounts. The overall average ask for the week was for just $12.13. Most campaigns asking were far more concerned about getting their donor numbers up, and they came up with a new strategy: giveaways.

Cory Booker led the charge with an invitation to join him at the legendary Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Celebration. He was offering airfare and hotel rooms for one lucky donor and a guest to attend, meet him, get a selfie, and maybe even get introduced to some of his friends running for President. Confession time: I hopped over to my personal email and shot him a dollar. His strategy worked on me.

As if sensing an opportunity, Jay Inslee threw up the next giveaway. If you set up a reoccurring monthly donation to his campaign, you had a chance to be one of ten lucky donors who could be part of a conference call with Inslee himself, to learn about his campaign and strategy and let your voice be heard!

I can’t think of any conference call I’ve ever been on that I would consider worthy of a prize, but maybe it’s working for Inslee.

Elizabeth Warren jumped on the giveaway bandwagon with a much sweeter pot: donate to win a chance to be flown out to have a beer (or anything else you’d prefer) with Warren! Like with Booker’s giveaway, the flight and hotel for you and your guest, as well as 1 drink, would be covered by the campaign. It’s certainly a step up from a phone call, but it felt like a very odd attempt to be “folksy.” The “would I want to have a beer with them?” quality is brought up frequently among voters, and Warren’s trying to tap into that crowd.

Not to be outdone, Andrew Yang stepped up with the biggest prize of all: tickets for two to the Miami debates at the end of June! Donate and you could be flown out, put up in a hotel, given tickets to attend whichever debate Yang is sorted into, a meet and greet with Yang, a photo with Yang, and 2 swag bags of Yang merch including signed MATH (Make America Think Harder) hats.

Maybe because the first giveaway was a success, maybe because he didn’t want to be shown up, maybe because tickets were actually given out, Cory Booker came back with another giveaway, this one also to the Miami debates. Unlike Yang, he didn’t promise a swag bag with signed hats.

Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, did giveaways his own way. Instead of hosting a contest, he offered a copy of his newest book to anyone who donated. The language in his offer was masterful.

There will be some folks who might only be able to afford to contribute a lot less than the book cost us, and that’s fine. I want them to read the book. There might even be some people who contribute $1 because they want to cost our campaign money.

So be it — I hope they enjoy the book too.

Bernie Sanders

Did you catch that? Only donating $1 hurts the campaign. You could only donate a dollar, sure, fine, whatever, but to not hurt the campaign, try to donate more. In a follow-up the next day, he reveals that it costs the campaign $10 to buy and ship the book. That’s another subtle nudge to his supporters indicating how much they should give, minimum, without flat out asking for it.

Trailing far behind the rest of the pack, John Hickenlooper throws out a desperate offer of his own: donate and you might get a call from him to thank you directly. If you think that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Elizabeth Warren has turned her personal thank-yous into a meme. Hickenlooper is about a month late with his offer.

Not all campaigns can afford a giveaway. Tim Ryan has been sending email after email begging for money for his travel fund. He just needs $7,000 to keep moving around the country, spreading his message. He did send a message saying he knew his team was doing a great job keeping me up to date on the campaign, but I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about the Ryan campaign other than it needs money and donors. And money. For travel. And money. And donors.

Steve Bullock has spent the week railing against the DNC for changing the qualifying polls for the debate at the last minute, knocking him out of a sure spot. He’s trying to get the donors he needs now, because there are only days left to make up for this oversight. Jay Inslee is also upset at the DNC for not hosting a climate-only debate. They claim there are too many issues to dedicate a debate to only one issue, and also that such a debate would give an unfair advantage to one candidate. Inslee insists that the only way to get climate change talked about at all is to have a full debate on the topic.

I have to encourage Inslee to check out some of his competitors. While climate change is Inslee’s top topic, it is definitely among the top 5 issues for just about every other Democrat in the field, including Joe Biden, who sent an email declaring that we need drastic action to tackle the climate emergency. This is certainly a change of heart from his “middle ground” comments earlier that riled up many of his fellow Democrats. The email continued by announcing that Biden had released a bold and ambitious plan, though no details or links were provided (and there was no mention of the allegations of plagiarism that have been stalking this plan). Biden instead leaned heavily on needing donations (average ask of $72.50) to be able to spread the word. Combined with his reversal of his Hyde Amendment stance earlier this week, Biden is not demonstrating a good record for sticking to his convictions (or even having convictions in the first place).

Do campaigns try to hit you on pay day?

There was a huge jump in emails between the beginning of the week and the end of the week, but I’m still not entirely positive this is normal for a campaign. The DNC qualification deadline for the first debates is just three days away. The campaigns will be turning in their numbers, and everyone is trying to get the best turn out.

Tim Ryan did ask for money, but Andrew Yang asked for so much more.

Michael Bennet, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Gravel, and Tim Ryan are desperately trying to get 65,000 donors so they qualify for the first debates (and if you are mildly interested in any of them, maybe throw a dollar their way to help them out). Cory Booker, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Jay Inslee, and Amy Klobuchar are all trying to cement their place in the third debates. Steve Bullock is trying to qualify for both debates, while Joe Biden is certain that Trump is going to be looking at his number of donors and just wants to scare him with sheer quantities. Andrew Yang, on the other hand, just reminded his campaign of his $3.5 million goal for Q2, while Tim Ryan is begging for the campaign equivalent of bus fare.

On a lighter note, Marianne Williamson has been filling my inbox with messages of love and peace. She declares herself as the best candidate to defeat Trump because she can harness the power of love to combat the power of fear that he wields. While I do have to give her some credit for pinning down Trump’s core:

Donald Trump—regardless of whether or not you agree with any of his policies—has introduced a mean-spiritedness into our politics that is literally corrosive to our democracy. It assaults the moral fabric of our nation. It shows disrespect for American values. And that must not be allowed to stand.

Trump has succeeded in doing those things despite heroic efforts to stymie him. What has been the key to his “success?” The answer does not lie within the purview of traditional politics. He’s been able to do what he’s done because he is a master manipulator of emotions. He has done what he has done by harnessing the power of fear.

And the only thing that can defeat the power of fear is the power of love. The only one who can defeat a big liar is a teller of big truths.

Marianne Williamson

I can’t really see her sweet platitudes as a viable strategy for President.

I can see that she’s trying out some different color schemes. You may recall her eye-burning rainbow donate buttons?

Just in case you forgot

It turns out that those were definitely just for Pride. Her next buttons were all one color.

And fewer in number, too.

She seems to have settled, at least temporarily, on a different scheme, as the following buttons have made it into two of her five emails:

Neither of these colors are her campaign colors.

Finally, Elizabeth Warren has announced some new Pride pins. I like the look of them and would buy them, but they don’t change her ranking in the Pride post.

I’m going to re-sign-up for the three zeroes just in case something went wrong.

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