On Thursday, 10 of the 25 candidates had finished their debates and another 10 were taking the stage. Of those, 18 who had qualified and 2 who hadn’t all reached out to me, for a total of 20 campaigns sending a whopping 58 emails!
Julian Castro and Tim Ryan took the lead with a whopping 6 emails as they tried to capitalize on their debate success from Wednesday. Kamala Harris was nearly as prolific with 5 emails each. While Bernie Sanders having 4 emails wasn’t unexpected given the volume everyone was working with, both Pete Buttigieg and Marianne Williamson having 4 was a huge surprise, as they were both previously very thrifty with their emails.
The topic of the night was clearly the debates, but the content of the emails were across the board. As I read through the onslaught, there were multiple times where I laughed or groaned out loud.
While no candidate would ever admit to a loss in their propaganda, it was generally accepted that Wednesday’s debate was a tough time for Tim Ryan.
Unless you’re Tim Ryan.
This was the first time Tim had a chance to go toe-to-toe with his Democratic opponents in front of the entire nation and he knocked it out of the park.Mike, Campaign Manager, Tim Ryan for America
Ryan sent so many optimistic, upbeat emails yesterday that I had to wonder if he was participating in the same debate I watched, the one where Tulsi Gabbard shredded him for empty words and not knowing the history of 9/11.
He wasn’t the only candidate heaping up the self-praise:
Did you watch Amy in tonight’s debate? She knocked it out of the park!Justin, Campaign Manager, Amy for America
Amy Klobuchar was another candidate who didn’t come across as well with the pundits, but she didn’t care. Unless “knocked it out of the park” doesn’t actually mean something good? Regardless, she’s preparing to launch a new piece of merch using one of her quotes from the debate, and she’s offered me the chance to vote on my favorite.
Bernie Sanders fully believes that the key to success is not necessarily getting someone younger in the office.
Bernie made the difference clear tonight.
Are we going to settle for the status quo and more of the same, or will we fight for a fundamental transformation of our political and economic systems?
Will we settle and hope to win on just one issue? Or do we know that by building a political revolution, transformative change is possible?Faiz Shakir , Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020
Beto O’Rourke not only gave himself an A for his showing, but his team couldn’t praise him enough.
Did you see last night’s debate? Beto presented a bold, new vision for America and showed what our campaign is all about.Chris Evans, Beto for America
O’Rourke was another candidate from Wednesday’s debate that either did really well or really poorly depending on who you ask.
Bill de Blasio’s team jumped on the quotes coming from the news about his own debate showing:
De Blasio set the tone of Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate: Combative — he was the first to interrupt — and unabashedly ideological, electrifying what had been a sleepy round of introductions and repeatedly pulling the conversation to the left.(Buzzfeed News)
This was the first quote they put in their email. I’m not sure if “Combative” and “ideological” are necessarily the compliments they think they are.
Cory Booker was receiving some good press the morning after his debate, and his team was definitely preening:
In one word, that’s how I’d describe the Cory Booker millions of Americans met for the first time last night.
He was poised and passionate. He had thoughtful, well-reasoned answers on the toughest issues we face as a country. And my favorite part: He showed he’s more than ready to take on Donald Trump.Addisu Demissie, Campaign Manager, Cory 2020
Elizabeth Warren, considered the winner of Wednesday’s debate, surprisingly had little to say about the debate itself in her emails. This is literally the only comment she made in any email from Thursday about the show:
Never in a million years did I think I would stand on a presidential debate stage.Elizabeth Warren
Jay Inslee was floating on his high from the debate on Wednesday, but by Thursday, he was wrestling with the existence of climate change all over again:
No one else has made defeating climate change their top priority. And no one else has outlined a vision on how we confront this crisis, which affects all the other issues we care about — from our economy, to national security, to health care, to immigration, and beyond. Last night made it clear: Jay is the only one with the vision of how to tackle this crisis.Tracy Newman, Senior Advisor, Inslee for America
Joe Biden was under attack by multiple other candidates at Thursday’s debate, and he was also the only candidate who didn’t come out immediately singing his own praises:
We’ve got one debate under our belts. I’m not here to spin you or try to reinforce some talking points.
I’m here to ask you a simple question:
John Delaney was pleased with his performance Wednesday night as well, with his campaign providing many of his quotes from the debate on top of photos of him during the discussion.
There’s no question that last night was a watershed moment for this campaign.John Delaney for President
John Hickenlooper made sure to get in touch with me immediately after the debate, though for him, he was still processing the night:
I’m still collecting my thoughts, but one word sums up the experience: Wow.John Hickenlooper
Julian Castro had an amazing night on Wednesday, and he’s been hyping it up in all of his emails:
Throughout his life, Julián has beaten the odds. He’s from an immigrant family, was raised by a single mom, and he’s fully earned his way.
And now, he’s about to beat the odds again: After he dominated in the Democratic debates, we’re within striking distance of having the best fundraising day of his entire campaign!!Team Julián
Castro also provided a graph to show just how much his fundraising has spiked after his debate performance.
Kamala Harris is being widely heralded as the winner of the Thursday debates, and she came out with a strong email following her performance.
America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on the table. That’s why I’ve proposed a 3AM Agenda with solutions that will have a direct and immediate effect on people’s lives, paychecks, and health care.Kamala Harris
Despite the repetition of her “food fight” line from the debate, I noticed she did not press her advantage over Biden on the issue of race. This leads me to believe that her summary email was highlighting the talking points she knew she was going to try to hit and prepared in advance instead of written in response to the debate. The food fight line was clearly something planned after witnessing the interruptions on Wednesday.
Kirsten Gillibrand also sent an “I just stepped off the stage” email, but rather than talk about the debate or her performance, she launched into her usual stump about how she’ll be fighting for women’s rights.
Now is not the time to play it safe or be afraid of firsts. There’s too much at stake.
And just imagine what we’ll achieve with a working mom in the White House instead of a misogynist.Kirsten Gillibrand
Marianne Williamson arguably stole some of the show last night by simply existing and making people ask “Who is that woman on the end?” Her campaign did the best job of live-reacting to the debate by sending multiple emails throughout in response to things she said.
Marianne just said this on the debate stage:
“It’s really nice that we’ve got all these plans, but if you think we’re going to beat Donald Trump by just having all these plans, you’ve got another thing coming.
Sir, I will meet you on that field, and love will win.“
Americans don’t need more of the same kind of thinking that drove us into these dark times. Americans are ready for a new paradigm of leadership.Patricia Ewing, Communications Director, Marianne 2020
Unfortunately, one of Williamson’s comments during the debate was denouncing the other candidates’ plans as “superficial” and saying we need to go deeper than that to defeat Trump. I’m not entirely sure what she means by going deeper than thought-out policies, but… okay.
Michael Bennet tried something new before going on stage last night. He sent a letter.
A hand-written letter
He seems to have forgotten that one of the perks of digital communication is that you don’t need to try to translate illegible scrawls.
After the debate, he did send another email, not talking about much that happened, but still having a great time:
Team – I just walked off the stage in Miami. What an incredible night. Your support helped us get here and fuels our campaign.Michael Bennet
Mike Gravel wasn’t on stage, but he hasn’t given up yet.
We may have been excluded from the debates, but we’re still getting our message out there.Mike Gravel
Pete Buttigieg was emailing before and after the debate in a rare push for some fundraising. After, he reiterated the importance of this next election. Buttigieg is being praised for his own performance at the Thursday night debates, including a moment where he took full responsibility for the incidents in South Bend.
I’m running for president because the decisions we make in 2021 are going to decide what America looks like in 2055, when I get to the current age of the current president.
And by then, my generation will be held to account for whether we actually changed the course of this country when it came to climate change.
Whether we actually delivered a fair economy instead of more tax cuts for the wealthiest and corporations writing their own rules.
Whether we actually tackled the issue of gun violence.
Whether we actually delivered a country in which a Black person feels safe when they see a police officer approaching, not afraid.
What is at stake right now is not just the next four years, not just the outcome of one election, but the shape of a new American era.Pete Buttigieg
Steve Bullock wanted to chime in as well. Like Gravel, he wasn’t on the stage, but he didn’t want to be forgotten.
We’ll be blunt: there was a critical voice missing from the debate stage last night:
— We didn’t hear from someone who’s won a Trump state.
— We didn’t hear from someone who will win back the places we lost in 2016.
— And we didn’t hear anything about how to save our country from the toxic grip of Big MoneyTeam Bullock
The majority of the emails (31) hit in the hours leading up to and after the debates. Night (9:00 PM – 11:59 PM) is usually a quiet time for emails, but not when everyone is awake and watching a debate, apparently.
The funniest email hit at 8:02 PM, from Marianne Williamson. I kid you not, this is the actual message I received:
The debate is about to begin! You can watch it from 9pm to 11pm ET on NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, or on livestream.
We’re simultaneously excited and on edge thinking about the power and possibility of what’s about to unfold. Sure, you and your debate-watching friends could play a drinking game, but we thought you might want a healthier way to do debate de-stress.
So we’re sharing some yoga moves that you can do throughout the debate.
Instead of downing a shot, do a downward dog.
Instead of throwing back a martini, try legs-up-the-wall pose.
Each time someone says “Green New Deal,” strike an eagle pose.
It’ll relax your shoulders and remind you that the Green New Deal would not only create jobs but also reverse environmental damage.
When the debate ends, hold hands with your fellow debate-viewers, say Namaste, be happy that we have so many great Democrats in the debate, and that we will defeat Donald Trump in 2020.
P.S. Post your Debate De-Stress pics on social with hashtag #Marianne2020 #DemDebates
My debate watch party was not at all interested in trying to de-stress during the debate with yoga instead of drinks, but they did enjoy the laughter Williamson brought to the debate.
Now that the debates are over, it’s time for me to donate! I have been taking this week to prepare, and tonight I will be making 21 donations of $1 each to the candidates who have qualified for the debates. All of the candidates who were on stage Wednesday and Thursday will receive $1 donated through their website opened in incognito mode at as close to the same time as possible. I have 21 new email addresses to track these campaigns (thank you to 33mail for making that possible!) and will be working the donor emails into these write-ups as soon as they start coming in. As the campaigns have been saying, this is a new phase of the race! Will you stand with me?