Day 42: 7/1/19

In response to Life, the Universe, and Everything, the campaigns had one big thing to say: Thank You. After the weekend’s insane email numbers, they all dialed it way back today with only 34 emails arriving from 18 campaigns. 15 of those emails came from 13 non-donor campaign lists, while the other 19 came from 16 donor campaign lists.

Most campaigns matched donor and non-donor emails today.

For once, the most active campaigns only sent 2 emails in a day. Joe Biden, Julian Castro, and Amy Klobuchar were guilty of this. To be fair to Klobuchar, one of her donor emails came in ridiculously early in the morning, around 1 AM, asking me to slip in before the midnight FEC deadline, implying she was operating in a different timezone than I was. Everyone else who bothered to email only sent 1.

I suspect most of the campaigns were catching up on their sleep. It was a busy weekend, after all, and the only thing they really had to say after all those donations was “Thank you.”

Oh, wait… (average donation ask: $5.73)

Yes, you’re seeing that correctly. The very first day after completely smashing her donation goal for Q2, Kamala Harris was asking for more of my money.

Will you pitch in to Kamala’s campaign right now? We have to introduce Kamala to millions of undecided voters, and in a field this crowded, we can’t afford to wait

We need to seize this momentum and introduce Kamala to millions of more voters. Will you help us right now and pitch in a contribution to our campaign?

Juan Rodriguez, Campaign Manager, Kamala 2020

Every single American whose email was in the hands of a political campaign got an absolute pounding in the inbox on Sunday. I’m stunned at the nerve Harris has to immediately ask for even more money from her already squeezed-dry mailing list.

The above chart is just for the non-donor mailing list, though, and an example of how data can be cherry-picked to tell whatever story you want. For example, both Beto O’Rourke and Kirsten Gillibrand also asked me to donate, though they didn’t specify an amount, nor did they really stress the donation the way Harris did. They both threw it in almost as an afterthought: Hey, you can still donate even though it’s past the FEC deadline.

If I already gave money, they’re more willing to ask again. Average ask here: $15.38

For the donor mailing lists, Harris was joined by a few other candidates asking for donations. Amy Klobuchar and Marianne Williamson both technically asked on Monday, though their emails slid in early enough that I suspect it was a time zone error for both of them and they were actually trying to ask on Sunday before the FEC deadline. Andrew Yang’s email was one of his standard welcome emails asking for a $10 donation and not an email actually timed to correspond to the deadline. And Elizabeth Warren?

Warren’s email was the most upsetting in my eyes. She had emailed me 7 times on Sunday asking for money on my non-donor account. On my donor account, she sent me this:

You pitched in to own a piece of this campaign (thank you again!), so we wanted to make sure you got a quick update on what you’ve been investing in.

With your support, we’re building a grassroots movement across the country that’s ready to take on powerful special interests and level the playing field for everyone.

Right now, we’re setting the budget and trying to plan out – month by month, week by week – how many offices we can open, how many organizers we can get on the ground, and how quickly we can grow our team.

These are investments we know we have to start making today if we’re going to win in 2020. That’s why we’re asking our best supporters like you to commit to give a small monthly donation – just $5, $10, or $20 a month goes a long way.

Will you become a monthly sustaining donor and help keep growing this grassroots movement?

Team Warren

An update on what I’m investing in turned out to be nothing more than “we’re growing our team, can you give us more money?”

I know you’re growing your team, Warren. If I had been asked what you were up to before you sent that email, I’d probably have said “growing her team and figuring out where to spend her money.” There was nothing in that email that I could not have figured out independently, no actual update or “insider” information that would make me feel like I got something more for having donated.

Compare to Pete Buttigieg’s email, slipped into my inbox at 5:44 AM:

The fundraising quarter ended just a few hours ago, and we’ve been poring over the results. Here’s what we found: 

Over 400,000 people have invested in this campaign, and in this quarter alone, Pete for America raised approximately $24,800,000.

Mike Schmuhl, Campaign Manager, Pete for America

They also sent me a video showing their success and expressing their thanks.

Within hours of the fundraising deadline, I, as both a donor and a non-donor for Pete for America, knew how successful their fundraising had been. I was given a sip of information that was at the time campaign-exclusive, and I was also given this news before it broke across the major news networks (though I have no doubt they’re all signed up to the campaign emails to get this information as well, in addition to prodding the campaign for details). That is how you deliver an update. You actually, you know, UPDATE. Give fresh information I could not have gathered on my own!

Now, it’s pretty much already being touted across the news that Buttigieg will have one of the top finance numbers of all the candidates this quarter. Hard numbers are still hard to tease out of the various campaigns, as they clutch their investor data to them like hoarded riches. But Cory Booker managed to provide an update that was an update without revealing his full numbers:

Because of people like you, we’ve received nearly 110,000 individual donations to our campaign with an average online contribution of $19.90. And since Cory took the debate stage, we’ve had the three most successful grassroots fundraising days since the day we launched this campaign — bringing in nearly 20,000 new donors.

Cory Booker

While it doesn’t give me anything to compare to Buttigieg’s numbers, it still gives me enough data that I feel like he actually told me something useful. Booker pulled in at least $2.1 million by doing some basic math. Congratulations, Booker!

Julian Castro also deserved a shout-out for finally, FINALLY, pulling his backstory into a point. He talked about his grandmother who was separated from her dying parents when she was seven and being brought to the U.S. and being haunted by never having a real chance to say good-bye to them even on her own death bed, and then connected that to the migrant children in the inhuman camps on the border today, and how they had been forced apart from their living parents and, let’s be honest, may never see them again. He then spun it into his immigration reform policies putting people first. For the first time this entire campaign, Castro finally found a reason to talk about his backstory that didn’t make me roll my eyes.

Most of the “other” was just gratitude.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, simply wanted to invite me to join his Team Joe Organizing Fellowship to take some webinar classes to learn best practices for grassroots and digital organizing to get Biden elected. He encouraged me to share it with a friend too.

I wasn’t interested.

Some of these numbers are just ridiculous.

6 thoughts on “Day 42: 7/1/19

  1. I think Pete’s average donation was like $42 and come change! And yet Bernie is claiming that most of his money comes from corporate sponsors.


  2. It’s amazing how righteous everyone has been getting about their campaign and shaming other candidates for taking “corporate money” from “big donors” and “Wallstreet”. Your updates the last few days are enlightening and show that all of the candidates can be a bit whorish. Two things really stand out to me, Pete’s frequency of asks over the weekend, and Beto’s ask for donations to others. Mad props to Beto for that. He’s one of the candidates I’d like to see continue.

    For your sanity, I hope several candidates drop before the next end of quarter!


    1. Oh, absolutely. Almost all of the campaigns are using “we’re a grassroots campaign, we don’t take money from corporate PACs or lobbyists or fossil fuel execs, so we need you!” as an argument, but then there are candidates who go a step further and say “unlike the OTHER guys, and that’s why we’re better.” It’s such a huge turn off, especially when they then attempt to shame other campaigns for daring to accept money from rich people. Rich people are part of America too! The next president will be their president too! They have every right to help their preferred candidate! As long as the candidate doesn’t give them political rewards, I’m totally fine with them taking from the rich!

      Pete’s asks over the weekend were insane. He went from an average of less than one email a day to three emails a day. It was a huge, jarring jump, and I know many of his supporters complained to the campaign about it.

      Beto has been keeping the focus on the migrant detention centers ever since his ask. He’s mentioned them in every email since. I really like Beto as a person. I just think he could do more good as not-President.


      1. I get not taking money from special interest groups, but who cares if people max out their donations?


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