Content warning: There will be more talk of the weekend’s events in this post.
In the wake of a national tragedy, a country looks to its leaders for guidance, for comfort, and for hope. Though the shootings in El Paso and Dayton and the bloody night in Chicago were not on their own a tragedy of the same scale as 9/11, for example, they are indicative of a greater, on-going tragedy. The country is mourning, and suffice to say, at least half of us are not expecting any comfort from our President. Sure enough, he failed to even name the correct city one of the attacks happened in.
Love her or hate her, Nancy Pelosi is not a leader of the country. She is a leader of Congress. The Democratic party is currently without a single head. President Obama did step up and make a statement on Twitter, drawing hundreds of thousands of sighs of nostalgia, but we cannot go back to an Obama presidency. Instead, we must look to our field of candidates and see how each of them are responding.
Short answer: the candidates are responding with restraint. Kamala Harris, Tim Ryan, and Tom Steyer sent 2 emails each on Monday. Everyone else who emailed sent only 1. The charts today were unlike any I had seen before.
I was actually worried that my inbox had broken with how few emails trickled in. The candidates were giving us Monday (and taking their own time) to grieve and process.
There were absolutely no attacks on fellow Democrats, but there was a wave of anger toward the Republicans, especially Mitch McConnell, for not even considering the gun control laws that had already passed the house.
More than even toward Republicans, there was anger at the President, whether called directly by name or referenced: “The current administration,” “A crisis of leadership,” “The President.” His hatred, xenophobia, and racism were all targets of the Democrats’ ire.
Overwhelmingly, the candidates were asking for donations to groups that fight hatred and gun violence. 6 candidates today called for these, suggesting groups such as Moms Demand Action, the Brady Campaign, March for Our Lives, and the Dayton Victims fund (links will be included below in the full text of the emails).
- Elizabeth Warren
- Kamala Harris
- Cory Booker
- Jay Inslee
- Tim Ryan (2 times)
- Amy Klobuchar
2 candidates asked me to call my senator and demand change.
- Pete Buttigieg (included a tool where I could call his campaign office and get guidance on what to say and then connected directly to my senator)
- Tim Ryan (2 times) (included the Capitol switchboard to be connected to my senator’s DC office)
Kamala Harris set a specific goal of trying to raise $100,000 for anti-gun violence groups. As the donations were going through ActBlue, she was able to track how much her supporters were giving through her links.
Tom Steyer asked for 130,000 donors to donate to him to get him in the debates.
Steyer also only asked for $1 donations from everyone, while Elizabeth Warren used her usual donation buttons, but she swore to fight for flipping the Senate. All donations through her email would go toward Doug Jones, Tina Smith, and 23 as of yet unknown Democratic challengers to Republican Senate seats in the 2020 elections.
While most of Monday’s emails focused on the attacks over the weekend, not all of them did.
Tom Steyer boasted of the first national attack ad against Trump. (Kirsten Gillibrand launched the first attack ad against Trump weeks ago, but hers was not national.)
Unlike Trump, Tom grew his tiny investment business to $36 billion and is donating half of his wealth to charitable causes. Can you imagine how Trump would look against a real self-made billionaire who actually cares about all Americans, not just people who look like him?Team Tom
I really don’t want to imagine Trump standing next to yet another rich old white guy, even if this one is “on our side.”
In his second email Steyer expressed frustration at no Democratic leaders taking real action to hold Trump accountable and asked for a donation to get him on the debate stage so someone up there was taking this crisis seriously.
Kamala Harris, after sending an email denouncing “thoughts and prayers” and instead setting her anti-gun-violence financial goal, sent another email talking about her upcoming Weekend of Action, where communities across the country will be taking action to support her.
Tulsi Gabbard also wanted help getting onto the debate stage. She apparently missed a qualifying poll by 1 person, so she wrote to give me advice on how to increase my chances of being called by a pollster so I can get her the polls she needs.
Notably, Gabbard had not addressed the attacks.
In fact, a surprising number of candidates still have not mentioned the shootings at all via email by the end of day on Monday. Considering that the first shooting happened on Saturday, this is an unconscionably long delay. (The above chart shows ALL references, from Saturday through the time of writing.)
Much ado is made about the “3 AM phone call.” The idea is that, in the event of a true crisis at an ungodly hour, who would you trust to wake up and take action. Though none of these candidates are the President, this is the equivalent of a trial run for them. A crisis happened. How did they react? How did they try to comfort the nation?
For 3 of the candidates, this shooting literally hit close to home: Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke are from Texas (O’Rourke from El Paso), and Tim Ryan is the congressman for Dayton, Ohio. For them, this should be personal.
For two of them, it clearly is.
Castro, so heavy-handed with his emails when he wants something from me, has been absolutely silent on this tragedy. I’m frequently asked what I think of Castro. My answer has remained the same: when he speaks, I like him, but when he writes, I can’t stand him.
Apparently, when he doesn’t write, I can’t stand him either.
O’Rourke has also been largely silent via emails. He sent one video message after the El Paso shooting and nothing since then. I know he has been incredibly vocal on the news, with one answer to reporters where he just goes off spreading rapidly across Twitter, but via email, he hasn’t said much. I am okay with that: he acknowledged there was a crisis and he was heading home to be with the people affected.
To my surprise, Ryan has really risen to the occasion. His emails have been passionate and pained. For the first time, I can say that he’s actually starting to sound Presidential. He has put his campaign on pause to help his constituents, and quite honestly, I think this speaks to his strength. He clearly loves the people of Ohio that he represents, and I hope he will continue to represent them.
While Steyer, Harris, and Gabbard have all resumed campaign emails today, Gabbard was the only one who truly disappointed me. Steyer and Harris had both addressed the attacks (Steyer on Sunday, Harris on both Sunday and Monday), but Gabbard did not even give them a passing mention, the bare minimum that even Joe Sestak accomplished on Sunday.
As far as I am concerned, this was a chance for the candidates to demonstrate how they will comfort us. Everyone who has a blank spot above their name in the chart above has slept through that 3 AM phone call.
As with yesterday, I will include the full text of the emails from each candidate so you can make your own judgments. Let me know if you’d like a special post with all of the emails in one place for easy reference.
CONTENT WARNING: The following text deals with gun violence. Some readers may find this content disturbing.
Monday, August 5, 10:13 AM ET
Subject: If we’re going to address the gun violence epidemic in our country, we need to take back the Senate in 2020.
Yesterday, we woke up to the second mass shooting in just as many days. I’m heartbroken for El Paso and Dayton, and to all the families who have just endured unimaginable loss.
We need commonsense gun reform — now, before the next mass shooting, to stop the daily gun violence on our streets, and to make sure that our families and loved ones are safe.
But Mitch McConnell and Republicans in the Senate are blocking legislation that could help address this epidemic.
During the last election, we flipped the House. And in February, the Democratic-led House passed bipartisan legislation that would make a meaningful impact on this crisis.
But five months after passing the House, and more than six and a half years after Sandy Hook, that bill is still sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk. It’s inexcusable.
It’s clear Republicans don’t have the courage to do something about this crisis. We can’t wait for them to act — because they won’t. If we’re going to address the gun violence epidemic in our country, we need to take back the Senate in 2020.
I’ll fight my heart out to make sure Democrats win up and down the ballot in 2020 — but if we’re going to beat Republicans and the gun lobby, it’s going to take a grassroots movement.
Will you chip in today to help Democrats flip the Senate? Your donation will be split among funds that will go to the eventual Democratic Senate nominees in 23 races and Senators Doug Jones and Tina Smith.
|If you’ve saved payment info with ActBlue Express, your donation will process automatically and be evenly split to support the eventual Democratic nominee for Senate in AK, AR, AZ, CO, GA, IA, ID, KS, KY, LA, ME, MS, MT, NC, NE, NM, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WY, and Doug Jones and Tina Smith:|
As long as Mitch McConnell-led Senate Republicans are in power, they will stonewall and block any attempts for change. That’s because they answer to the gun lobbyists who sign their checks — no matter how many innocent people die each and every day at the hands of their inaction.
Enough is enough. We must call out what happened in El Paso and Dayton for what they are: domestic terrorism. It’s a threat to the United States, and we’ve seen its devastating toll this weekend. We need to call out the president himself for advancing racism and white supremacy. And then we need to take action.
It’s powerfully important that we support Democrats across the country and take back the Senate in 2020 — so we can take power back from Republicans, fight back against the gun lobby, and address the gun violence epidemic head on.
Thanks for being a part of this fight,
Monday, August 5, 3:40 PM ET
Subject: how you can help the victims in Dayton
Last night, Tim attended a vigil in Dayton for the victims of this weekend’s tragic mass shooting in Ohio. There, he shared words of support and condolences and called on Congress to reconvene to take immediate and overdue action to prevent this kind of gun violence from happening ever again.
That’s why we’re asking all of our supporters to call their Senators now and demand they reconvene to find solutions to the gun violence epidemic. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Senator’s office immediately.
The families of the victims affected by these tragedies have a long road ahead of them. To help them heal, you can donate now to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund at The Dayton Foundation.
Together we must work to put an end to gun violence in this country.
Tim Ryan HQ
Monday, August 5, 6:26 PM ET
Subject: thank you for taking action
The horrific events of last weekend are a stark reminder of the severe consequences of a dysfunctional Congress and a fearmonger in the White House.
Today, the president promised bipartisan solutions while simultaneously blaming mental health, the media and video games for the violence we are experiencing across the country.
We don’t need the same old rhetoric, we need to do something NOW. The Senate has a background check bill in front of them that has already been passed by the House and will be a huge step forward in this fight.
Will you add your voice to the call for reform by calling your Senator and letting them know that you demand action? The number for the Capitol switchboard is: (202) 224-3121
The health and wellness of our entire nation is in jeopardy and we cannot go on like this.
Our democracy is at stake and the only way to achieve real progress is for each and every one of us to step up and demand Congress get its act together and pass meaningful reforms right away.
Please join me by taking a stand. Call your Senator and urge them to take immediate action on gun reform: (202) 224-3121
Monday, August 5, 4:15 PM ET
Subject: Who we choose to be
Prayers for the people of El Paso, Dayton, and Chicago in this agonizing moment. And prayers for all the rest of us as well, that we might summon the courage to remove this scourge of gun violence from our midst. Let us pray and let us act.
When I was asked about this subject in last Tuesday’s debate, I said…
“The issue of gun safety, of course, is that the NRA has us in a chokehold. But so do the pharmaceutical companies, the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel companies and the defense contractors. None of this will change until we either pass a constitutional amendment or legislation that establishes public funding for federal campaigns. But for politicians, including my fellow candidates who themselves have taken tens of thousands — and in some cases hundreds of thousands — of dollars from the same corporate donors…to think that they now have the moral authority to say we’re going to take them on, I don’t think the Democratic party should be surprised that so many Americans believe yada yada yada.”
At a certain point in life, it isn’t about what happened; it’s about who we choose to be in response to what happened. Each of us must rise to the occasion now, committing to the electoral defeat of any politician who supports the NRA’s political agenda. Gun safety legislation must be the cry of our generation.
America can either behave responsibly towards our common good, or we can acquiesce to the economic tyranny of gun manufacturers. We cannot do both.
As a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, I hereby pledge to introduce, within the first 100 days of my presidency, comprehensive firearm legislation to establish universal background checks, outlawing of bump stocks, closing of gun show and boyfriend loopholes, plus outlawing of assault weapons as well as the bullets needed to shoot them.
Your support is what got us campaign to this point, and your support is what keeps things going. Please give generously so we can continue to penetrate the field of old-think and bring forth something new for America. It is love, not fear, that will pave the way to a new and better possibility for the 21st Century.
Monday, August 5, 5:02 PM ET
Subject: Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough — we need action.
Content warning: this email contains references to gun violence and mass shootings that some readers may find upsetting.
Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois. Horrifying mass shootings at a festival, a shopping mall, a bar, a block party, and a park. All in the span of a week.
Gun violence is a national emergency.
In the wake of these shootings, our grassroots team has stepped up to raise more than $67,000 for gun violence prevention groups on the front lines of this fight.
Will you help us reach $100,000 raised for gun safety groups by the end of today?
Thanks for taking action,
— Team Kamala
Monday, August 5, 5:23 PM ET
Subject: Today, the president addressed the nation with the same Republican rhetoric and talking points we’ve heard for over two decades — empty words and thoughts and prayers.
A white nationalist drove 650 miles to El Paso, TX on Saturday, then went into a Walmart with an assault rifle and killed 22 people.
Despite protestations that this kind of violence is born from mental illness or violent video games, we must acknowledge the truth:
White supremacy is not a mental illness, and guns are a tool that white supremacists use to fulfill their hate.
And as our country went to bed grieving over this horrific act in El Paso, Americans woke up to news of another mass shooting that killed nine people in Dayton, OH.
Today, the president addressed the nation with the same Republican rhetoric and talking points we’ve heard for over two decades — empty words and thoughts and prayers. We need to act.
I’ll be talking about this more over the coming days, but today, you can act by joining me and donating to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF), Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, Moms Demand Action, and the Southern Poverty Law Center — groups who are working tirelessly to combat white supremacy and gun violence:
PS — On Wednesday, I’ll be speaking about the rising tide of hatred and white nationalism that has overcome our country at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. More to come later. We cannot afford to stay silent.
Monday, August 5, 5:48 PM ET
Subject: What you can do in the face of tragedy
This weekend, America woke up to the second mass shooting in 24 hours. This is a crisis — and a crisis of leadership.
We can’t wait one more day to stand up to the NRA and pass commonsense gun laws.
Gun violence is preventable if we take the proper action. The Alliance for Gun Responsibility is fighting to protect our communities by breaking the gun lobby’s stranglehold on politicians, and March for Our Lives is doing the same to make our country safer by organizing young people to demand sensible gun violence prevention policies. But they need our help.
In moments like these, we can all feel helpless — but making a donation to support commonsense policies that can prevent future tragedies is a concrete step to help others. I hope you’ll join me in supporting these organizations today:
Very truly yours,
Monday, August 5, 5:58 PM ET
Subject: Our country is under attack
Today marks seven years since an armed white supremacist stormed a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six.
Just two days ago, an armed white supremacist — emboldened by weak gun laws and a white nationalist ideology condoned at the highest levels of government — killed 22 people at a shopping mall in El Paso. Hours later, another gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio.
This past weekend’s shootings happened as I was visiting Las Vegas, where just two years earlier, a gunman killed 58 people.
Our country is under attack from white nationalist terrorism, inspiring murder on our soil and abetted by weak gun laws. If we are serious about national security, we must summon the courage to name and defeat this evil.
Instead, this administration is amplifying the hateful rhetoric that validates these domestic terrorists and failing to take the steps necessary to disarm them.
We are the only country in the world with more guns than people. It has not made us safer. We can acknowledge the Second Amendment and still adopt the common-sense gun laws that the majority of Americans support. Many such measures command the support of a majority — even of Republicans and gun owners — but not on Capitol Hill.
The NRA no longer speaks for gun owners. It speaks for the executives of gun corporations. And it shows you that Washington has been captured by special interests that no longer reflect the American people.
This past weekend’s tragedies make us angry, sorrowful, and worried for those we love and for our own futures. But we must confront this darkness head on, and do more than condemn these attacks on our communities. We must act.
Today, call your Senators and tell them you demand they pass common-sense gun legislation that the majority of Americans want. Dial 877-615-7198 and we’ll connect you.
These moments are extremely difficult and we have big challenges ahead. But these are problems we can solve. We can do this — but only if we’re ready to walk away from what hasn’t worked and take bold action. We need to summon the courage to break with the past and focus on specific, practical solutions. We need to confront this threat with the urgency it deserves.
Like so many in the generation that came of age around September 11th, I signed up to fight the terrorist threat to our nation as a military officer. Now, in the face of white nationalist terror, our leaders must stand up to fight this threat to our national security.
We need our leaders to act, but first they need to hear from you. You are part of the light that will drive out this darkness. Together, we will work even harder to create a better future, and make those who come after us proud of how we met this moment.
Monday, August 5, 8:16 PM ET
Subject: We need immediate action
Saturday and Sunday were dark days in America. In less than 24 hours, two men killed dozens of people in El Paso and Dayton. I’m mourning for the lives lost and the families devastated.
We need immediate action. I’m calling on President Trump, Mitch McConnell and all Republicans to come back to Washington right now and work with Democrats to pass the strong gun laws that will protect American lives. And as President, I have a plan to take action in my first 100 days to prioritize passing universal background checks and the assault weapons ban and close the “boyfriend loophole.”
Today, I’m asking you to make a donation to three organizations working to end gun violence: Giffords, Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign. Will you split a donation between these three groups?
Amy for America is only asking for donations of up to $5,000 per calendar year, per individual. Amy for America is not asking for donations from registered lobbyists or foreign agents, or from sources other than individuals.
Monday, August 5, 8:46 PM ET
Subject: ADD YOUR NAME: McConnell must call the Senate back
Let’s be clear about what’s happening in America:
We have people fueled by hate hunting other humans on our streets with weapons of war. That’s the national emergency we have to face.
How many more deaths will it take for Republicans to demand that Mitch McConnell put commonsense solutions on the floor for a vote?
Our colleagues in the House passed two background check bills back in February, but McConnell has refused to even hold a vote on them in the Senate.
We should vote on universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and large magazines, and anti-gun trafficking measures. These are three commonsense measures, supported by nearly all Americans, that will help keep our communities safe.
We know exactly what we have to do. We should be doing it now. McConnell must call the Senate back from recess for an emergency session to vote on these gun reform measures.
In the wake of the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton this weekend, we can’t wait a minute more to get this done.