It was the first day of summer, and the campaigns all paused to draw in a collective breath. Only 24 emails hit my inbox on Friday, from 14 different campaigns. Many of the campaigns were hitting their stride, getting the email formula down to a familiar patter.
Only 5 of the 14 campaigns limited themselves to a single email on Friday, just over 1/3 of the total. Julian Castro tried to prove that he did still have what it took to be a serious presidential contender, sending two emails about the debates (one to host a watch party, and one to sign up to potentially go to them with Julian) and one email outlining his People First Housing platform to discuss how he would make affordable housing a reality.
With the debates and the FEC deadline coming up, everyone was focused on one thing: having the strongest showing possible. Most candidates were asking for new donors or money donations to meet their deadlines, with Cory Booker going so far as to ask his early donors if they could match donations from new donors. I’m going to be honest: I’m not entirely sure how that was supposed to work. I did donate to Booker on a personal account, and I did get his ask… but he asked me to donate $5 to match future donors. Regardless of whether or not those future donors donated, he’d still get my $5…right? And the way the new donor email was phrased, it sounded like he’d only get the extra money from the established donor if a new donor stepped up and donated.
Matched donations have never made the fullest amount of sense to me anyway. I was left scratching my head and decided to move on.
Joe Biden and John Delaney both sent me surveys to ask what I wanted them to talk about at the debates. Biden insisted this was a completely new survey I had never answered before and definitely not any of the 8 other surveys he had sent me in the last month, including the June Campaign Priorities. No, this was his June Debate Strategy Survey. Huge difference. I haven’t interacted with any of these surveys, but I did have a commenter on an earlier BTE post say that the surveys they took, they could only submit their answers if they also gave a donation. This creates a sunk cost fallacy, where the survey-taker feels more of an obligation to give a donation so the effort they put into taking the survey isn’t wasted.
It also makes me scowl. Asking for a donation after a survey is one thing. Asking for survey answers and then requiring payment for said answers is something else entirely. I may have to use my future donor account to take a survey from everyone to see who is requiring payment and who isn’t.
Michael Bennet was technically the third survey, though his consisted of one question: Will you be watching the debates?
Julian Castro had a “petition” of sorts in exchange for a chance to see him at the debates. While all of the candidates had fine print declaring “no purchase required” to enter into their tickets giveaway, Castro was the only one who didn’t ask for an upfront donation at all, just my name on a list. Tim Ryan, Elizabeth Warren, and Michael Bennet all asked me to sign their petitions for various policy stances: fixing the broken food system, banning private prisons, and fixing broken politics respectively. Bennet included a helpful picture to explain what my money would go toward:
The biggest surprise of Friday was the negativity. Specifically, who was offering negativity.
Elizabeth Warren lashed out at the Republicans for their part in private and for-profit prisons, pointing out how former White House chief of staff for Trump, John Kelly, helped lead the Trump administration’s inhuman immigration policies and then got hired by a company profiting off those policies after leaving the White House.
Steve Bullock poured criticism on Roy Moore, running for U.S. Senate in Alabama. Interestingly, despite his email being entirely about Moore and splitting a donation between himself and Senator Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent, his email preview talked about his own poll numbers:
Bullock has technically qualified for the July debates, so he’s technically on my list to get $1 next Friday… but I am so ready to be done with him.
But no, the surprise came from Warrior for Love candidate Marianne Williamson. Her emails have been full of the healing power of love, how love will transform everything, and how we need a U.S. Department of Peace to spread peace and love across the world.
Her most recent email starts: Dear Meghan McCain, bless your heart.
As anyone with a friend in the south knows, “Bless your heart” is a strong insult in sweet words. Williamson was angry.
During my interview yesterday on The View, Meghan McCain dismissed me and compared me to Donald Trump.
Today on the show she said that I should drop out of the race. The energy of “Who let YOU in?!” could not be more clear. And I believe that that energy should be challenged.
I know who let me in: YOU did. And I intend to stay.
While it’s sad to see any woman tell another woman to “just go away,” what’s most important is that we not do that.Marianne Williamson
Williamson’s campaign manager then proceeded to put out an press release pointing out that Williamson is actually a fantastic candidate for the office of the President:
“For the second day running, Meghan McCain has chosen to attack and misrepresent who Marianne Williamson is and her stance on the issues.
Why? Because Williamson’s values-based, morally driven message—combined with the Democratic Party’s desire for all to be part of the American dream—is powerful and is resonating with voters. Meghan McCain owes Marianne Williamson an apology. For addressing Williamson rudely, dismissively and with total disrespect, and for comparing her to Donald Trump which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Meghan McCain should have done her homework:
Williamson was the first candidate in the 2020 cycle to introduce reparations into the conversation.
Williamson has written four #1 best sellers and sold millions of books. Marianne’s millions of supporters are not being polled. They are not regular Democratic voters who vote in every primary. Her support is being significantly underreported because several polls have not included her, and her supporters are not on the lists of likely voters who pollsters call.
Williamson has transformed people’s lives for the better part for 35 years.
Williamson co-founded Project Angel Food, an organization that’s fed 11 million meals to ill and dying people over the last 30 years.
I have to be honest here: I don’t know why Marianne Williamson is still in the race. I don’t know why she’s doing as well as she is. Her credentials seem to be that she’s written several books that a lot of people like. I’ve written several books too. Lots of people like them. I don’t think I’m qualified to be President.
Still, I’m willing to give Williamson the benefit of the doubt. I’m looking forward to hearing her on the debate stage next week. If she can hold her own against experienced politicians like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders and differentiate herself from fellow outsider Andrew Yang, all of whom are on stage with her, maybe she really does deserve a spot in this race.
But I certainly will not support her just because she and I are both female. As much as I’d love a female President for a change, being a woman is not a qualification for being President. (Neither is being a person of color, being old, or being gay. Substance matters for this position)