Day 70: 7/29/19

On Monday, I made a mistake and said Kamala Harris’ Medicare for All plan came in on Sunday. It actually arrived Monday morning at 6:26 AM ET.

Also on Monday, Joe Biden tried to emotionally manipulate me into donating to him, Beto O’Rourke has hinted that a dog influencer will be supporting his campaign, and Cory Booker’s campaign has been dancing.

NEW COLORS! Let me know if anyone doesn’t work.

Kamala Harris has been stepping up her email counts with 5 emails in 24 hours, chased by Michael Bennet with 4. Tim Ryan is no longer blue, so he doesn’t immediately stand out (sorry Ryan, but Bernie Sanders was also blue, and he was polling higher, so he got to keep his color), but he and Elizabeth Warren both tied with 3 emails each.

Michael Bennet was an interesting distribution, as he sent 4 donor emails and only 2 non-donor emails. Most candidates send an equal number of messages, with a few sending one extra to donor or non-donor. However, 2 of Bennet’s donor messages were absolutely identical, down to the subject line. I suspect that instead of sending the message to his donor and his non-donor lists, it got sent to his donor list twice.

Who wants money? Everyone wants money!

Out of Kamala Harris’ 5 emails, 4 of them were asking for donations with some degree of worry.

I just got an email from Kamala. She asked for an update of our progress towards our July fundraising goal — and I let her know that we’re about halfway there.

This means we still have some work to do before Wednesday … but I think we can make this happen

Jenn Liu, Finance Team, Kamala 2020

For the record, this was the chart showing “about halfway there.”

I don’t know about you, but that looks more than halfway to me.

My team is worried about hitting the next fundraising goal, and I’ll be honest, so am I.

Kamala Harris

Here are three facts about this race:

1. Trump has raised well over $100 million for his re-election campaign.

2. Trump and Mitch McConnell received an hour-long briefing about the top threats to his re-election. Kamala was at the top of the list.

3. We have a crucial fundraising deadline approaching Wednesday, and we have a ways to go to reach it:

Team Kamala

Our primary opponents, the Republicans, the pundits, and even Donald Trump himself are waiting to see any weakness from our campaign — and I for one don’t want to give them the satisfaction.

Kamala Harris

These were the arguments given for donating to Harris. I have to admit, I wasn’t very moved.

I was far more moved by Tom Steyer. For just $1, I could get a pack of 5 Steyer stickers!

What can I say, I’m a greedy capitalist at heart. Give me swag!

Steyer didn’t include my favorite of his designs though, the Congress: DO YOUR JOB one, so I didn’t donate.

It seems like only yesterday I couldn’t move for being swamped by “free sticker with every donation!” emails. Those emails have all dried up this past month. I’ve actually been making notes to add that observation to BTE for a couple weeks now, but it wasn’t until Steyer sent me his offer that I actually found a way to include it. You see, my niece (she’s 5!) has already picked out her favorite candidate. It’s not the same candidate as my frontrunner, but I had to indulge her political spirit, so I made a donation. That donation put me on the second political mailing list and triggered the birth of this blog.

Now, despite no real political motivation from her family, not even from me, my niece has continued to maintain her support for her candidate. I wanted to get her a sticker with her candidate’s name on it, but I didn’t want to shell out $10+ for a pack of stickers. I decided that I would do one of the “donate for a free sticker” drives when it came up. And so I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

As of July 13, yesterday’s email from Tom Steyer was the only free sticker email I had received. However, just as I was composing this part of the blog…

Today we launched a new Pete for America sticker!

Chip in any amount to help us reach our goal of 10,000 additional donations before Pete takes the debate stage tomorrow, and we’ll automatically send one your way:

Pete for America

So much for no one sending out sticker emails anymore!

Steyer’s is a better deal.

Stickers weren’t the only way candidates were trying to get my money out of me. Several of them were going the much cheaper route of guilt and emotional manipulation.

IF we don’t raise $110,000 more, we’ll fall short of our fundraising goal for the first month of this new quarter.

IF we fall short of our fundraising goal, we’ll go into the debate with drained resources.

AND IF we don’t have those resources, no one will be happier than Donald Trump, who won’t think that Joe is ready to take him on.

Let me get this straight, Joe Biden. If I don’t help you, you won’t hit your goal. If you don’t hit your goal, that will make Trump happy. Therefore, if I don’t help you, that will make Trump happy.

Of course I don’t want to make Trump happy. But I don’t appreciate my distaste for Trump being used to try to wring money out of me.

Biden also tried to appeal to the past by saying:

Don’t forget, we don’t have corporate PACs, federal lobbyists, or the fossil fuel industry on our side, so we have to beat Trump’s campaign machine the old-fashioned way: with grassroots supporters like you chipping in $5, $10, and $15 at a time.

Team Joe

I raise my eyebrow at the implication that grassroots fundraising is the “old-fashioned way.” Grassroots fundraising may have always been around, but it wasn’t until the widespread adoption of the internet that it really became the way to fundraise. Howard Dean, a 2004 Democratic candidate, really kicked off its popularity when he berated George W. Bush for his expensive fundraising dinner and invited his supporters to go to their computers to “join him for lunch.” His small-donor “lunch” raised an equal amount of money as Bush’s expensive and traditional pay-per-plate dinner, and political fundraising had never been the same since. Barack Obama sharpened grassroots fundraising into a fine tool, and Bernie Sanders shattered records with his grassroots fundraising in the 2016 election.

I realize we’re nearly 2 full decades into the 2000s, but I still don’t consider anything that took off after the turn of the millennium “old-fashioned.”

Green means they asked for more money from donors than from non-donors.

Biden wasn’t the only candidate trying to guilt me into donating. Bill de Blasio leaned heavily on my conscience.

Because the bottom line is this: when people like you don’t speak up and fight back, the status quo and big money win. Guaranteed.

Bill de Blasio

He followed this vague threat up with an ask for money: $1 from non-donor me and $25 from donor me, then reminded me again that if I don’t do this, big money wins.

The people who represent the status quo and big money are trying to silence YOUR voice. They don’t want fundamental change and they don’t want our voices to be heard. If we don’t fight back, the status quo and big money will win. Let’s send a message that we will not be silenced.

Bill de Blasio

One candidate who did not lean on guilt was Beto O’Rourke. He opted for honesty and optimism.

I’ll be honest. This month hasn’t been great for fundraising. We saw an uptick towards the end of the last quarter ($600,000!!) But in July, our numbers levelled off. Now we’re short on where we wanted to be for the month. 

It’s not the end of the world. We’ve got what we need to keep this campaign strong and pay people like me to write these emails and talk to voters. But if we don’t increase our pace, we’ll have to consider scaling back some of the more ambitious projects we’ve wanted to invest in (for example, making Artemis an Instagram influencer*).

It would mean a lot if you could give a donation today.

I know you hear this a lot but it really is true: when it comes to this campaign, grassroots fundraising is the whole shebang. This is a campaign about people, funded by people. Half of our money comes from emails like this one! No PACs, no corporations, no special interests. Just hundreds of thousands of people chipping in to make this campaign a success. And a dog who is an influencer.*

*We are not actually doing this. Yet.

Rob Flaherty, Digital Director, Beto for America

There’s concern there, but no alarm. No threats that my inaction will please Donald Trump or let Big Money win. No wheedling about “doesn’t this candidate deserve to be on the stage” or disastrous deadline failures looming ahead. No, there’s just a statement of fact and mention of a dog.

Artemis is in the bottom right

Artemis is a good girl, of that there is no doubt. Also of no doubt is how much the candidates’ dogs are exploding in popularity. In addition to Artemis, I can tell you about Elizabeth Warren’s good boy, Bailey, and Pete Buttigieg’s good boys, Truman and Buddy, without even googling. Kirsten Gillibrand has Maple, John Hickenlooper has Skye, Jay Inslee has “granddogs” Pepper and Tilly, and John Delaney has Mimi.

Everyone wants to get the best July numbers.

Two campaigns over the moon with their results for July are Cory Booker’s and Andrew Yang’s. Both candidates celebrated yesterday with the announcement that they had qualified for the September debates with both polls and donations. Both Yang and Booker immediately turned around and asked for more money. Yang asked me for $4, while Booker celebrated a little harder:

So as you’re reading this, take a second to do a little dance (seriously, that part is totally necessary)… and then chip in to invest in the future of our campaign before our monthly deadline.

P.S. I want to be clear about one last thing: After you chip in, it’s totally appropriate to keep on dancing.

Addisu Demissie, Campaign Manager, Cory 2020

The real shocker of Monday’s emails, though, came from Bernie Sanders.

I removed “neither” so the difference stood out more.

Most candidates were content attacking no one or attacking Republicans. (Trump is not counted in the above graph. He stands apart.) However, in Kamala Harris’ Medicare for All email, she did reference Bernie Sanders’ plan and explained that while his was good, hers was better, and here’s why.

Sanders did not stand for that. In both of his emails today, he lashed out at other Democrats, and Harris took both blows.

While Wall Street funds some of our opponents, we’re trying to close the gap on our fundraising goals with lots of individual contributions before our July Fundraising Deadline comes to a close. Can Bernie count on your help?

BREAKING NEWS from Wall Street – CNBC reporter Brian Schwartz reports:

NEW: Biden, Harris and Buttigieg rack up donations in the second quarter from big bank executives on Wall Street. At least 15 leaders from J.P. Morgan, Goldman, Citi and Morgan Stanley gave to the three 2020 contenders.

…Like Bernie says, “To me, an $18 check or a $27 check from a working person is worth more than all the money in the world from millionaires.”

…This is not a campaign that will ever beg Wall Street executives for campaign donations at private fundraising events. And that’s part of the reason you can trust Bernie to fight for all of us when we’re in the White House.

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

I’m sorry, I just find it disingenuous for a millionaire to pretend he’s the same as a “working person.”

Medicare for All has the support of a majority of voters and huge parts of the Democratic Party. So it’s no surprise that other candidates for president want to say they also support Medicare for All.

Sen. Kamala Harris released a plan today that her campaign calls “Medicare for All” — you can call it anything you want, but you can’t call that plan Medicare for All.

Her plan is centered around privatizing Medicare, enriching insurance executives and introducing more corporate greed and profiteering into the Medicare system — and even then, waiting for 10 years before any changes happen.

Medicare for All means Medicare for All. Not more private insurance. Not more profits for denying care. And we cannot wait to fix our broken system.

Add your name if you agree: Medicare for All means Medicare for All. We need a strong show of support before tomorrow’s debate to say that healthcare must be a right, not a privilege.

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

The problem with Sander using polls to say “Americans want Medicare for All,” not this public option option, is that those same polls say that Americans think Medicare for All means public option. If asked if they support a healthcare system that removes private insurance, Americans overwhelmingly don’t want it.

This Hill-Harris-X poll from early February illustrates the point:

Government provide universal coverage = 71% = support for Medicare for All
Sanders’ version of Medicare for All is “Universal coverage & Abolish private,” or 13%. Harris’ is “Universal coverage w/ Private opt-out,” or 26%

Is Sanders wrong to get upset that Harris is calling her plan Medicare for All? No, not really. His Medicare for All was first and the name was latched onto by Americans. Other candidates are at least trying to distinguish their plans from his by tweaking the name: Medicare for America, Medicare for All Who Want It, Medicare-X. He’s not wrong to be upset that Harris is using the same name for a different plan and therefore muddying the waters further.

However, if he’s going to be rigid about the name–It’s not Medicare for All if there’s any private insurance–he doesn’t get to be flexible in his use of the polls. No private insurance at all does not have the support of a majority of voters. It doesn’t even have the support of a quarter of voters.

Thank you, Google, for listening!

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