Week Four: June 9-June 15

With 171 emails from 19 campaigns, we were just 1 email shy of tying with the weekly record. If I counted the 7 emails from PAC End Citizens United (ECU), we smashed it.

Despite the volume of emails, the week was fairly uninspiring. Most candidates were focused on the upcoming debates, qualifying for the debates, and hitting their personal mid-month deadlines.

If we cut off everyone who sent more than 10 emails in a week, would the primary really suffer?

Tim Ryan wins the award for “that guy who gets ideas from the email scam about being trapped in a foreign country with no money please send him some…” With 16 emails in 7 days, a full 11 (69%) were asking for donations for his travel fund. At least Cory Booker and Steve Bullock limited themselves to just 2 emails a day, and Joe Biden was one email shy of that even number.

1 Outside and 1 Other

With all of the debate details getting hammered out, asks to volunteer, watch, and take surveys were high as the campaigns tried to get watch parties on the books and figure out which issues their supporters considered the most important. Merch offers were also up, as some candidates offered new Pride merch (Michael Bennet and Cory Booker) while others were offering merch in exchange for donations. Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, and Steve Bullock offered stickers in exchange for a minimum $1 donation. Bernie Sanders was offering his book for any donation amount ($10 would balance the cost, but $16 was what people were donating on average, hint hint), while Mike Gravel was offering a 4-pack of buttons for a $3.75 donation. Meanwhile, Cory Booker was offering his new Pride pin for a staggering $26 donation.

Less tangible rewards were on offer too, as the giveaways continued. Elizabeth Warren continued to offer a chance to win a trip for you and a friend to be flown out to grab a beer with her. Included in the offer was a fun GIF of her and her husband clinking their beers together.

THAT COULD BE YOU! Are you excited yet?

Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke all were offering trips for you and a friend to see the debates on them, though I believe Yang’s giveaway has now ended.

Nobody likes a Sunday email.

Email volumes were definitely heavier at the end of the week, with Friday being the busiest at 31 emails. Many of the emails were concerned about mid-month deadlines, with one from Amy Klobuchar going so far as to explain:

Here’s the thing about tomorrow’s Mid-Month Goal: it really matters. Everyone will be watching this campaign to see whether we have what it takes to win this primary and beat Donald Trump.

Elise C., Amy for America

Except here’s the thing: it really doesn’t.

A mid-month goal is completely campaign-based. Case in point: everyone emailing me about mid-month goals has different end dates for their mid-month goal. The campaign sets this goal, and they use this goal to both motivate themselves and to have benchmarks to see how well they are doing. Mid-month goals are internal-use-only.

Everyone will be watching the campaign? Sure, but mid-month goals (and end-of-month goals, for that matter) are not typically made public. It doesn’t matter if everyone is watching if nobody sees anything. The goals that actually matter are the quarterly FEC filing deadlines. The next ones are at the end of June. These filings are made public to all, so yes, those can be examined to estimate a campaign’s strength.

Take a look at this email from Joe Biden (truncated for length):

At the end of this month, all of our fundraising numbers will be made public. Everyone — and I mean everyone — will use that number to determine the strength of our campaign… The strength of this movement depends on you. Can you stand with me and chip in $5 before Tuesday’s deadline?

Joe Biden

At the end of the month is not next Tuesday. Tuesday is the mid-month goal deadline. End of the month is the FEC deadline that will be made public.

Once again, as always, if you want me to feel happy thoughts about your campaign, don’t just treat me as a pocketbook. Talk to me about the campaign. Tell me what you’ve been up to. Here’s a novel idea: tell me what you stand for. What you’ll do for me.

News Events = Debate Talk

Out of 171 emails, 11 mentioned specific policies. 6%.

Marianne Williamson was the 1 reference to Trump by title instead of name.

In comparison, 22 emails talked about Trump as more than just “we need to beat him.” 13% (I’ve been rounding).

By sheer virtue of the way elections work, any one of the Democratic candidates wins the election has already completely solved the Trump-in-power problem before Day One even begins. Yes, it is an even more pressing issue than climate change, but it will be fixed without the next President lifting a finger.

Should it really be getting twice as much attention as what the President would do for the next 1,460 days?

Or, for that matter, less attention than getting more money for politics?

Every campaign this week asked for at least $1 once.

The average donation ask this week was $22.09, undoubtedly skewed high by Marianne Williamson figuring you don’t get what you don’t ask for and including $1,000 and $2,800 (the maximum individual contribution) donation buttons in an email. Even Pete Buttigieg, notoriously money-ask-shy, suggested a donation of $1 to get an exclusive sticker. Kamala Harris was unusual among the campaigns in that she asked for the same amount with every email, the apparently-default donation buttons of $5, $25, $50, $100, $250, and Other. She never asked for any specific amount outside of her buttons, but she also asked for an average of $86 in all 7 of her emails this week.

1 Folks, 2 Siblings, 2 Supporters

Marianne Williamson did continue with calling me her “Amazing Marianne Supporters,” though at one point she started her email with a double greeting:

Dear Friend,

Greetings amazing Marianne supporters,

Alyssa O’Mara, National Volunteer Director, Marianne Williamson for President

I’m having a very hard time taking Williamson seriously. I look forward to seeing her on the debate stage, though again, Steve Bullock, if she got on the stage, you really don’t have an excuse.

Tim Ryan was the one who called me “Folks” this time, instead of Biden. I’ve noticed he also sometimes signs his emails TR and sometimes signs them Tim, and I’m wondering if that’s an indication of when he actually writes the emails as opposed to his staffers. It’s not like Tim is that much harder to write on a phone than TR (one email from him did include the “this message was sent from an iPhone” footer). If anything, TR is harder to write on a phone because of the all-caps nature of it. Autocorrect doesn’t usually like that.

Bernie Sanders has taken to addressing us as “Brothers and Sisters.” I am not his sister, and he is not a faith leader. I realize he is trying to indicate the inclusivity of his message, indicating we’re all a family, but I can’t help but have been conditioned to think of it as a greeting from one of those Evangelical TV pastors. Sometimes, a message that is meant to have a good meaning has been sullied by how others use it, and it’s not worth trying to reclaim it during an election year. (See “All Lives Matter.”)

I have it on good authority that Tulsi Gabbard DOES email you…if you donated.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, you can always buy me a coffee.

9 thoughts on “Week Four: June 9-June 15

  1. Hey, I was curious about the Pete email–I didn’t get any such email and it actually doesn’t seem like his campaign’s style to send something like that. I’m very involved with Pete supporters on Twitter, and only one person has said he received an email like that, though this person has not yet posted a copy of it.
    I’m not suggesting it’s impossible they sent such an email, but we find it very odd. Could you possibly upload a copy of the email? Or if you’d rather not, could you possibly forward it to me at the address I used to register here?


    1. The asking for a dollar email? Yes, that was sent only to people who have never donated to him, which isn’t most people who are active in his forums. I didn’t get the email in my personal account, and it ended up in my BTE spam folder.

      Let me see if I can find a way to post it in comments, unless you’re willing to share your Twitter and I can DM you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also have to note I was somewhat bemused by the offer of a “brand new sticker”–who would want an old, used sticker? I then realized it was the DESIGN that was new. I guess the design is OK, though it feels kind of kind of “off”–not really consistent with the look of the elements available from the campaign’s Design Toolkit. Still, better than some of the color nightmares you’ve described from the other campaigns.
        Whatev. I should cut the new kid a break. I just hope this doesn’t represent a trend in the messaging. I LIKE the low-key approach, but what do I know about marketing?


      2. According to the Democratic party best practices, your emails shouldn’t always be asking for money. You need to build a relationship with your mailing list. Very few campaigns are getting this right.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! I’m not sure what I think of that as a strategy, but hopefully this doesn’t represent the first of many.

    Very much appreciate your sharing.


    1. Agreed. I’m disappointed that Pete’s emails are asking for more and more donations, though I’d need to see his metrics to have a better understanding. Maybe he wasn’t getting donations BECAUSE he wasn’t asking. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It doesn’t make any sense that they won’t ever ask for donations. “respect your inbox” means sending a limited amount of emails, most of which are substantive. And they really do abide by this, especially if you compare Pete for America emails to the other top 5 contenders.
    A few emails asking for donations is what is expected, if they hold themselves to some impossible standard they won’t be able to reach their campaign fundraising goals.


    1. This is true, you won’t get what you don’t ask for, but I liked that Pete’s emails had more substance than “Money plz.” I know I’m only good for money and spreading their message, but I like the trade of information about what they’re doing in exchange for my money, as opposed to information about they don’t have enough money in exchange for my money.

      Liked by 1 person

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