Day 78: 8/6/19

Content warning: There will be more talk of the weekend’s events in this post.

Time passes and tragedies fade from focus. The candidates all have campaigns to run, and many of them are shifting back into campaign mode. Some are pivoting with more grace than others. Some are not yet ready to resume the trail.

And I am ranting about campaign finances.

Still restrained.

Campaign mode or not, all of the candidates are remaining subdued. Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang all maxed out their emails at 2 on Tuesday, with everyone else who reached out limiting themselves to just 1.

The spread of topics was expanding again.

While the weekend gun violence was still the number one discussion, many candidates were cranking up their fundraising machines again. There is still a campaign to win, after all!

So many asks!

John Hickenlooper aimed for some light-hearted fun by talking about how he was going to be taking the Hickenlooper Winnebago on a tour around Iowa.

This is exactly what I pictured.

Hickenlooper really has an unfortunate name. Hickia? I know it’s for Hickenlooper Iowa, but still… eesh. Not the most inspiring.

Joe Sestak sent me excerpts from an article about himself.

Check out the National Review‘s profile today (read here):
“Joe Sestak: The Most Interesting Democrat You Forgot Was Running”
“There’s a joyful fearlessness in a candidate with nothing to lose.”

Joe Sestak

I still don’t know why I’d want to vote for this guy.

Elizabeth Warren is writing the names of all future grassroots donors on her campaign headquarter walls. Congratulations? She’s trying to use it as an incentive to donate again.

Andrew Yang blew past his $1 million fundraising goal, so he decided to raise it to $1.5 million by midnight last night. As of 9:45 PM ET, he still hadn’t made his new goal.

Joe Biden still wants to send me his Obamacare, it’s a BFD sticker.

Pete Buttigieg launched an action plan to combat gun violence and domestic terrorism and called out the current way of handling gun violence:

Like Pete said this morning, the old politics of cut-and-paste condemnation and letting mass shootings fade from the headlines won’t work — we need a new approach.

Pete for America

Kirsten Gillibrand broke 100,000 donors and is still trying to get on the debate stage.

Bernie Sanders showed off some interesting maps from the New York Times.

Distribution of donors to each candidate.
Blue = Bernie Sanders
Burgandy = Beto O’Rourke
Red = Amy Klobuchar
Teal = Steve Bullock
Purple = Pete Buttigieg
Orange = Joe Biden
Green = Elizabeth Warren
Distribution of donors to each candidate with Bernie removed.
Green = Elizabeth Warren
Burgandy = Beto O’Rourke
Teal = Steve Bullock
Red = Amy Klobuchar
Purple = Pete Buttigieg
Orange = Joe Biden
Yellow = Kamala Harris
Brown = Jay Inslee
Magenta = Julian Castro
Distribution of actual money raised by each candidate
Blue = Bernie Sanders
Burgandy = Beto O’Rourke
Teal = Steve Bullock
Red = Amy Klobuchar
Purple = Pete Buttigieg
Orange = Joe Biden
Gray = John Hickenlooper
Brown = Jay Inslee
Green = Elizabeth Warren
Yellow = Kamala Harris
Magenta = Julian Castro

This is, of course, a chance for Sanders to complain that people aren’t giving him enough money.

Again, let me remind you, as Sanders says “they have more money,” he has raised the most money of all the Democratic candidates this year. He’s trying really hard to run an underdog campaign, but with near-total name recognition and constant high ranking polls, he is anything but. The underdog strategy really comes across as disingenuous to me. He isn’t an underdog, and he needs to stop acting like it.

Of course, he also emailed me to let me know that out of all of the presidential candidates, he is the only one who hasn’t received donations from billionaires. Other candidates have multiple billionaire donors. One even has 23 billionaires.

Virtually every other candidate has at least one billionaire donor. One has 23 billionaires.

Team Bernie

Except… that’s not true.

The list Sanders is looking at comes from Forbes.

Forbes just ran a piece listing how many billionaires have contributed to each presidential campaign.
One candidate had the most at 23 billionaires.
Then you had to scroll…
and scroll…
and scroll…
Past all the candidates…
Until the bottom.
Where you’d find Bernie.
With zero billionaire donors.

Team Bernie

To be nit-picky, Sanders isn’t at the bottom of the list. Tim Ryan is.

#14 Bernie Sanders, Julian Castro, Bill De Blasio, and Tim Ryan: 0 billionaire donors

“Virtually every other candidate,” Sanders said, ignoring the three other candidates who don’t have billionaire donors.

Setting aside Sanders’ flexibility with the facts, let’s talk campaign finances right now.

For personal, individual contributions, you can donate a maximum of $2,800 to a campaign over the course of the primary cycle. It doesn’t matter if your net worth is $2 or $2 billion, you can donate a maximum of $2,800. If you, the person reading this, you right now donated $7 per day to the candidate of your choice for every day until the Democratic primary (in 453 days), you will max out your donation amount before the convention. You will have given exactly the same amount that a billionaire could have given.

That doesn’t sound impossible, right? It’s $49/week. It’s doable. Not pleasant for most of us on tight budgets, but not so extravagant that it’s beyond belief. And it’s even less if you’ve already donated!

Now, the idea Sanders (and Warren) keep pushing is that if that billionaire writes a candidate a $2,800 check, that candidate will then be obligated to do something for the billionaire. But wouldn’t the same be true of someone who gave $7/day?

Except that’s not actually how it works. You get a billionaire to donate, and you get them to tell their friends. They all donate. They then start up a PAC that can give $5,000 to a candidate and that fund then starts working with you, making ads that support your position or bash your opponents. Now those billionaires have indirectly given you hundreds of thousands of dollars in support and you feel obligated to pay them back in some way.

That sort of PAC money is where things get very sketchy, very fast. But every Democratic candidate has sworn off corporate PAC money (PACs with money coming from companies instead of individuals) and most have sworn off PAC money entirely.

Lobbyists are another troublesome angle: a lobbyist is someone who is paid specifically to influence a politician (stereotypically through bribes and donations and gifts). Lobbyist funds have also been sworn off by many candidates.

Bundling is another thing that is talked about a lot as a bad thing. Imagine you are a huge supporter of X candidate. You host a fundraising party for X and invite all of your friends and ask them to donate. They all write checks, you collect the checks, bundle them together, and send them to X. Bam, bundling in a nutshell. Usually, bundling is done by rich supporters who can write the big $2,800 check and who have friends who can, so it brings in a lot of money all at once. Again, a candidate may then feel obligated to do a favor for the bundler for facilitating the large influx of cash, even though the cash isn’t all from the bundler directly.

What Sanders is actually doing is implying that by accepting billionaire money, the other candidates in the primary are allowing themselves to be manipulated in some of the ways laid out above. But that is not what the data says. All it says is that these candidates received some amount of money (presumably $2,800) from Americans who have a net worth of over $1 billion. It doesn’t indicate any additional donations or support.

Now, before any argument can be made that I support the billionaire class: I don’t. Income inequality is a huge problem in our society. But they exist. They are as American as I am. And they have just as much right to donate to their candidate of choice as I do.

What I am taking issue with is that money is important. Clearly money talks. Clearly the person with the most money has the easiest time getting their message heard. Sanders himself is pushing this issue with all of his fretting about his fundraising. More money = easier fight.

If a super rich person wants to give you their money to fight, why is this a bad thing? If your message is resonating enough that you are getting support from both lower and higher income brackets, why is this a bad thing? If you are making allies who will be able to bankroll the fight against the corrupt, why is this a bad thing?

Yes, money tends to corrupt. Power tends to corrupt. But I do not believe people are irredeemably evil because they have more money than they could ever need.

And hey, if money is bad, why don’t we just pick the poorest candidate for President and call it good? (That would be Pete Buttigieg of the 23 billionaire donors.)

The answer isn’t black and white. Campaigns are expensive. Not all billionaires are evil. We need to pay attention to what the candidates are saying and who they’re saying it to. A candidate whose message changes based on their audience is much more likely to be malleable to rich donors than a candidate whose message never changes.

A candidate with a wide base of support is more likely to be able to put up a fight in the general election.

Ryan is 6 away from 200 emails.

Content Warning: The following section will specifically deal with the gun violence over the weekend.

In addition to all of the other asks, many candidates were still focused on the shootings and trying to raise money for the victims and the fight. Nearly all of the serious candidates (and by serious, I mean candidates who have sent me more than 1 email total) have touched on the tragedy with the exception of 3.

Tulsi Gabbard, John Hickenlooper, and Andrew Yang met the shootings with email silence before resuming their campaigning. Neither of them so much as slipped a line into an email, which is the bare minimum that even Joe Sestak managed.

They may have addressed the shooting on the news, or via Twitter, but they all have my email. Why they couldn’t take the time to reach out to me directly is beyond my comprehension.

Emails sent since the attack in El Paso.

Again, I’m going to post the emails in their entirety here. If you read any of them, please read Beto O’Rourke’s. I felt it was an incredibly moving piece of writing.


Tuesday, August 6, 11:46 AM ET

Subject: Our nation is frozen when it comes to gun violence

Twice in 24 hours. Eight times in the last week. 255 times this year. That’s how frequently mass shootings are happening in America.

I’m heartbroken — and I’m angry.

As a Governor, I’ve had to order the flags to half-staff 9 times since the tragic shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.


We know what we need to do. We need action. Now.

Red flag laws. Ending the sale of assault weapons. A significant expansion of mental health. Even 97% of gun owners have supported background checks for every purchase. These solutions don’t need more thoughts and prayers — they just need action. Now.

We also have to confront the hate and white supremacy that stokes too much violence in our country. Each of us has a responsibility to condemn white nationalism. What happened this weekend is no exception. Instead of standing up to this hate, we have a President who stokes resentment and division for political gain. We deserve better.

Our children our watching. Our words matter. It’s time to reject the politics of hate and division and demand leadership that unites the country behind our shared values.


Steve Bullock


Tuesday, August 6, 12:57 PM ET

Subject: El Paso and Dayton

Friends, I’m going to keep this short because honestly, there are no words.

The tragedies this past weekend in El Paso and Dayton are both shocking and horrifying. We must address the gun violence epidemic that is ravaging our country.

Please consider making a donation to my friends at the following organizations who are working tirelessly to end gun violence in America →


There are some awful realities in our country: the NRA’s manipulation of our democracy and the growing threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacists.

Trump’s spineless approach to the NRA enables the first, and his words fuel the second. We can change this. We must change this.

Over 90% of Americans support background checks for guns. We must continue to pressure Congress to pass meaningful, common-sense gun safety reform. Our children’s lives depend on it.

That’s why I’m asking you to please chip in $5 or $10 to any of the important organizations above who are leading this fight against gun violence.

Together, we can end this.

– John


Tuesday, August 6, 1:14 PM ET

Subject: more ways to help

Over the past couple of days, we’ve reached out to you with ways you can help the victims of the Dayton tragedy, but we wanted to pass along more ways to help folks from El Paso, TX and Gilroy, CA as well.



Now, more than ever it is critical to come together and help our fellow brothers and sisters who have been impacted by these terrible events. Every dollar helps these communities begin the healing process. Please, consider making a donation now.


Ryan HQ

Tuesday, August 6, 7:10 PM ET

Subject: RE: more ways to help

Correction: the original Gilroy Foundation link expired, please use the link below to give instead.
Over the past couple of days, we’ve reached out to you with ways you can help the victims of the Dayton tragedy, but we wanted to pass along more ways to help folks from El Paso, TX and Gilroy, CA as well.



Now, more than ever it is critical to come together and help our fellow brothers and sisters who have been impacted by these terrible events. Every dollar helps these communities begin the healing process. Please, consider making a donation now.


Ryan HQ


Tuesday, August 6, 1:21 PM ET

Subject: Inaction is complicity


In less than 24 hours we saw two horrific acts of hate and violence. Thirty-one lives were taken in El Paso and Dayton — but they’re not alone.

In Chicago over the weekend, at least 59 people were shot, including a 5-year-old boy.

Gun violence cannot be normalized, regardless of where it happens.

Lives are being lost every day, and this uniquely American problem lies directly at the feet of our nation’s leaders. The president blames violent video games and mental illness instead of confronting white supremacy and insufficient gun laws.

This isn’t a time for small steps forward. It’s time for decisive, bold measures that will save lives and call out the violence of white supremacists as the acts of hate they are. If you agree that it’s time to stand up to the gun lobby and the people in power profiting from it and condemn white supremacy, add your name.

On national television yesterday, the president said, “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun.” But the truth is a white nationalist pulled the trigger in El Paso, with a gun he never should’ve gotten his hands on.

It’s time to put an end to the empty words we continue to hear after countless acts of gun violence. It’s time to act.

When I’m president, we’ll implement a federal gun licensing program as well as universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. We’ll ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks. And, we’ll close the loopholes that allow domestic abusers and people on terrorist watch lists to get their hands on a gun. Finally, we will bring real regulation and oversight to gun manufacturers and end corporate legal immunity that prevents victims of gun violence from seeking justice.

That’s the future I believe in, friend — where people aren’t afraid to go to their houses of worship or to the mall or to a music festival or just to sit in their classroom and learn.

But that won’t happen if we’re not all in this together. Add your name next to mine. It’s time to take bold action to stop gun violence and condemn acts of white supremacy.

If we’re not doing everything we can to stop dangerous people from getting their hands on guns, we’re not doing enough. Inaction is complicity.



Tuesday, August 6, 1:34 PM ET

Subject: Help families in El Paso and Dayton

Across the country Americans are coming together after these tragic shootings and asking: What can we do? How do we make this stop?

We must call white nationalism by its name and never tolerate it.

And we have to pass common sense gun reform, starting with universal background checks. Americans have been calling for action, but Senate Republicans aren’t listening.

So folks, if you’re looking for ways to help, consider calling Mitch McConnell at (202) 224-2541 and demanding the Senate pass H.R.8 — The Bipartisan Background Checks Act.

And if you can afford to donate to help aide families in El Paso and Dayton, funds have been set up in both cities to provide immediate assistance to victims and their families. You can find links to donate directly to these efforts here →

El Paso Victims Fund:

Dayton Foundation:

We are an America that helps our neighbors and fights for what is right.

We can restore the soul of this nation if we keep working together.

– Team Joe


Tuesday, August 6, 1:52 PM ET

Subject: Let’s help these victims.

I’m heartbroken. I’m furious. And I’m asking you to join me and make a donation to the victims of this weekend’s shootings.

I’m sick to my stomach. 

This weekend, I realized that my family’s lives could be put in danger while we go back-to-school shopping. No parent should ever have that thought. 

I’m heartbroken — heartbroken that in El Paso this weekend, and in Dayton — this was the reality for so many families. 

But I’m also pissed off. 

Because while Donald Trump fans the flames of hate and division… 

While white nationalism festers like a toxic brew across this country… 

While common sense gun legislation sits on Mitch McConnell’s desk at this very second… 

Americans are dying as a result. 

We are fighting both a serious gun violence epidemic, as well as a rise of white nationalism. 

Thoughts and prayers are the only solutions Republicans have to offer. 

But I’m completely out of thoughts and prayers. 

It’s now up to us to rise up and address both of these crises with the urgency this moment demands. 

I’m asking you to join me in making a contribution to the victims in El Paso and Dayton. Let’s show the power of the action behind our thoughts and prayers. 

Donate to El Paso victims >>
Donate to Dayton victims >>

 Thank you, 



Tuesday, August 6, 5:44 PM ET

Subject: Time to act on hate and guns


Yesterday, in the wake of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, you heard from Pete about how our nation is under attack from white nationalist terrorists, helped by an unchecked gun lobby. If we’re serious about confronting this threat, we have to name it and act decisively to defeat it.

That’s why, today, Pete announced an action plan to take on gun violence and domestic, white nationalist terror in our nation: An Action Plan to Combat the National Threat Posed by Hate and the Gun Lobby.

Pete’s plan has bold, innovative ideas — but it doesn’t stop there. Pete knows we need to build political power to enact and sustain new policy. This plan provides both, and we need supporters like you to read it and keep advocating for change.

Since Pete’s first message, nearly 17,000 of you called the Senate to demand common-sense gun legislation. This is a start, and we have to sustain our fight. Like Pete said this morning, the old politics of cut-and-paste condemnation and letting mass shootings fade from the headlines won’t work — we need a new approach. Here’s what you can do now:

By keeping up the pressure and demanding better, we can move past decades-old policy failures with a new approach — and deliver the change our country so urgently needs.

Thank you,

Pete for America


Tuesday, August 6, 7:11 PM ET

Subject: El Paso

I am so proud of my hometown of El Paso. Always have been.

I tell our story wherever I go. This place of immigrants, of people from all over the planet, who came here to do better for themselves and to do better for this country. I tell people about how we are one of the safest cities in the United States. Nearly 700,000 people and we’ve averaged only 18 murders a year.

And I make sure that people know that those two things are connected. It is the very presence of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees that has made us so safe. We don’t just tolerate our differences, we embrace them. We treat each other with the dignity and respect we are owed as human beings. It is the foundation of our success and our safety.

I’ve always thought the example set by El Paso could offer a path forward for a country that is so consumed by our differences and our divisions.

Si queremos asegurar nuestro país, I often say, necesitamos seguir el ejemplo de El Paso.

But on Saturday, we realized that we can take no comfort in our safety, in our ability to see the best in each other by seeing ourselves in one another. That, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

Though El Paso is a safe community, we are part of a country that is violent. A country that has failed to adopt laws that would allow us to perform a background check on everyone who wants to own a firearm. One that still allows weapons designed for war to be sold into our communities. We lost 40,000 of our fellow Americans to gun violence last year — inexplicable but for the stranglehold that the gun lobby has on Congress and the White House, and the fear that our elected representatives have of the NRA.

And though we are a city that prides itself as a home of immigrants, we live in America at a moment that the President seeks to make us afraid of immigrants, to see them as animals and rapists and killers, a threat to our very lives. An invasion that must be stopped. An infestation that must be stamped out.

El Paso vigil

At a rally in Florida in May, President Trump asked how America could stop immigrants from coming into the country.

“Shoot them!” someone yelled back.

As the crowd roared their approval, the President smiled.

That violence, that hatred, that fear found us on Saturday. Drove more than 600 miles to a community that is 85% Mexican-American. A community of first- and second-generation immigrants. It walked into one of the busiest Walmarts in the country, full of families from El Paso and our sister city of Ciudad Juárez and killed 22 people. A 90-year old man shot dead next to the wife he’d been married to for 70 years. A 15 year old boy about to start his sophomore year in high school. Young parents, both of them murdered, as they shielded their 2-month old son.

Death and suffering. Pain and devastation. Families grieving an indescribable loss.

But this terrorist, echoing the words of Donald Trump and hosts on Fox News in his manifesto, will fail to achieve his aims of stopping America from being America. A country of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. A country which 243 years ago chose to define itself not along lines of race or ethnicity but instead on the principle that we are all created equal.

This hatred and violence won’t define us. The people I’ve met at University Medical Center and Del Sol Hospital, shot in the chest, in the stomach, in the back, in the leg, in the arm, in the foot, all of them meeting their pain with courage will do that. All of them recovering as they receive the care and help they need from their fellow El Pasoans. Lines around the block at blood donation centers. Vigils of thousands throughout the community, in Central El Paso, on the eastside, and over in Horizon.

Though on Saturday, El Paso bore the brunt of the hatred and violence in this country, I believe our community also holds some of the answers. Not just to our pain and challenges, but to those of the country.

Because we now know first hand that no physical distance, no set of circumstances unique to your community, can separate you from what is happening to all of us in this country. We are all in this together. Unless we make it harder for people to kill, unless we stop this racism and fear, unless we stop seeing our differences as dangerous, unless we hold those in the highest positions of public trust accountable — this violence will find every one of us, sooner or later.

It is on all of us to stand up and be counted, especially when we feel the consequences of America at its worst, to fight for this country to be its best.

That is the spirit of El Paso, a city where everyone belongs. And the hope I have for America is that we become a country like that too.

– Beto

Find out how to help »


Tuesday, August 6, 9:39 PM ET

Subject: White supremacy aided and abetted by the White House

Friend —

The rise in mass shootings across this country is part of an epidemic with a clear source. It’s the proliferation of weapons and a movement of white supremacy aided and abetted by the White House. No other nation in the world comes close to experiencing the rate of mass shootings that we see across this country, and that’s a fact.

Watch Bill de Blasio address the causes of recent gun violence and what America can do to reduce gun violence the way he has in New York City:

We have to understand something has changed and we have to confront it. Bill is calling on Congress to come back from its recess right this minute and pass the basics to address this issue: universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and waiting periods for gun purchases. That’s what the American majority wants.

And Bill has seen it work. In New York City — a place with some of the toughest gun laws in the country — police are working more closely with communities to stop violence before it starts. The result: New York City is now the safest big city in America.

Check out Bill’s remarks on gun violence now and share them with your friends and family. We need to do something about this.

Bill has proof that strong gun safety laws correlate to reduced gun violence, and we’ve all got proof that Donald Trump has normalized this kind of hate and given it permission. Now we’ve got to stop it.

Thanks for watching,

Team de Blasio

6 thoughts on “Day 78: 8/6/19

  1. I agree with your comments about fundraising. Some of the candidates seem to have overlearned lessons from the 2016 election. Yes, corporate money and influence is bad – but every candidate seems to be indicating that big money in a campaign is good. Is it better to ask for money from a student rather than a hedge fund manager? Maybe. But only if it is clear that corruption and corporate influence will sway a candidate on policy. And that requires a deep dive into a candidate’s record and personal wealth.

    Thanks for all your hard work – your posts are always a treat to read!


    1. Every Dem has been talking about rejecting corporate PACs and the importance of grassroots. The level of extremes they go to is really the only difference. It really is ridiculous, though, that there’s something more pure about asking me to kill my monthly budget and sacrifice quality of life instead of asking someone who can easily afford it to donate. Politicians just need to grow a better spine!

      Thanks for your comment! It’s always nice to get one. Feels less like I’m shouting into the void. 😀


  2. Every Sanders supporter needs to read this post of yours specifically, even if they don’t read anything else on this blog.


    1. I was actually accused of buying into the fact-twisting propoganda against Bernie when I pointed this out on Reddit. Then they got upset that I was just being too anal, it wasn’t like what he said was false. Then they got upset when I agreed that I had never said he said anything false, just misleading, and then they said my standards were too high. All I can do is lay out the facts as I see them.


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