Day 87: 8/15/19

On Thursday, Pete Buttigieg made me sad, Joe Biden and Joe Sestak made me curious, and John Hickenlooper made me happy.

Quite a few non-donor onlys

Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren all sent out 3 emails each on Thursday, while Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Bernie Sanders limited themselves to just 2 in 24 hours.

It’s the middle of the month! That means DEADLINE!

August 15 had the dubious honor of being both mid-month fundraising deadlines and mid-quarter fundraising deadlines. This meant, of course, that everyone was on the money train.

Bernie Sanders assured me that he wasn’t going to ask rich people for money, no sirree. He’s doing a huge “Close the Gap” fundraising drive to try to close the gap between how much he raised last quarter and how much he was outraised by (by Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg).

Elizabeth Warren showed me her list of goals to have accomplished by this point.

Each quarter, we lay out a plan of how we’re going to grow this movement and win. We’re halfway through this quarter, so we’re checking in on the goals we wanted to reach by this point:

[X] Take Elizabeth’s 42,000th photo with a grassroots supporter. 

[X] Cross one million grassroots contributions. 

[X] Release plans for a fair and welcoming immigration system, ending Wall Street’s stranglehold on our economy, a new approach to trade, and more. 

[X] Visit Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire. 

[ ] Get halfway towards our quarterly fundraising goal. 

Team Warren

That last item is huge, she tells me. If we don’t make the quarterly goal by the next quarter, we won’t be able to make all the investments we need to win. She’s still dangling her Grassroots Donor Wall as an incentive for me to donate, and even reminded me when there was just five hours left.

Cory Booker was sad that he came up short of his $350,000 fundraising goal, though only by $18,216! He decided to extend his deadline a day, and he emailed me late at night to let me know he was just $5,000 away from hitting his goal. I did have to wonder what he’s going to do about his original fundraising goal for the 15th. Did he add that to what he was behind, or is he now behind that amount?

Joe Biden is comparing himself to Trump, how much Trump made, how he can beat Trump.

Every goal is important for us because we aren’t just thinking one month ahead, we’re thinking about how we can take on Donald Trump and actually win this thing.

This isn’t about just collecting enough grassroots donations to get on a debate stage or tout for a public fundraising deadline.

This is about making Trump know we mean business, we’re building a grassroots foundation, and that he can’t buy himself another term. But we can’t do that without you:

Greg Schultz, Campaign Manager, Biden for President

You already know how I feel about focusing on Trump. By virtue of getting another Democratic President, Trump is gone. What comes next?

Kamala Harris gave me some reasons why they need to boost their usual fundraising goal.

We’re still a bit off of our fundraising pace for this month and we need to double up our usual weekly goal for three reasons:

1. August is a rough fundraising month because folks are sending their kids back to school or wrapping up summer vacations.

2. Some of Kamala’s opponents are outraising and out-spending us in a big way.

3. A majority of our campaign’s resources come from grassroots contributions made to emails like this one.

Team Kamala

The first point makes sense. Biden always said July was the roughest fundraising month, but everyone seems to agree August is pretty bad. The second… yes, that’s a valid reason why Harris needs to push her fundraising goals. The third is just a fact. I get why it can be used to excuse more fundraising emails, but wasn’t it supposed to be explaining why she needed to double up her fundraising goal?

However, none of these fundraising emails detract from the fact that Pete Buttigieg was my biggest fundraising disappointment. Unfortunately for Buttigieg, his emails have been such a refreshing change of pace from all of the other candidates that when he does typical political campaign stuff, it comes across as incredibly jarring. I’ll forgive Warren from sending 3 fundraising emails a day, but when Buttigieg hits his third fundraising email in a week, I start frowning.

Yesterday, Buttigieg set a goal of either 5,000 new donors or 150 reoccurring donors, depending on whether or not I had already donated. He framed it as growing the campaign and not really about the money, which is why it didn’t fall into my fundraising category. However, after sending 2 “updates” that did not actually update me at all on his goals, I did move the last one to fundraising. Even so, Buttigieg’s fundraising emails are well-written.

This entire campaign is an act of hope — a belief that, together, we can win the next generation and improve the lives of our friends and neighbors. That sentiment is catching on with every voter we reach. We can take it even further by growing this campaign, together.

We didn’t want you to miss the chance to be a part of this moment: Will you give now?

In presidential campaigns, we set our sights high. We want to elect Pete as our Democratic nominee, win the presidency, and get America the fresh start it so urgently needs. We do it with victories, both big and small. We do it by showing up for one another.

Pete for America

Buttigieg doesn’t appeal to fear in his fundraising message. He’s not going to have to cut the budget if I don’t give, we’re not going to lose to Trump if I don’t give, he’s not going to have to stop spreading his message if I don’t give.

He still wants me to give.

(On a slightly interesting tangent, I did notice that Buttigieg used blue donation buttons for his donor email and red ones for his non-donor. I wonder if he did that intentionally or if it is an A/B testing to see which color triggers more donations…)

On a slightly non-fundraising note, Joe Biden offered another trip to the Democratic debates in September. Donate anything and win a chance! He claimed the contest was 100% random, and I scoffed. I read the fine print of so many of these contests for the last debate. All of the ones I remembered had a clause that 50 entries would be chosen at random, and then the team would pick the winner out of those entries, running background checks (and probably picking someone with the right background for the image they’re trying to present). However, when I checked Biden’s official rules… yes. His contest winner really will be decided at random. 1 winner, no interference from the campaign team. So, if you’re interested… go donate to Joe. You can have up to 5 entries per person.

Joe Sestak also made me do a little digging. He was very excited that the latest HarrisX/ poll had him tied for 9th place among the 24 candidates it was including. “Not bad for just seven weeks,” Sestak said.

And I thought of Steve Bullock crying that Tom Steyer was buying popularity.

So I dug around, found the poll, and checked the numbers. Sure enough, out of 3,011 respondents, Sestak was the first choice of 8, giving him 1% and putting him in 9th place.

Bullock had 1, and was sitting at the bottom with 0%.

Now, some brief Googling indicates Sestak’s net worth is sitting somewhere around $6 million, which puts him at the 8th richest candidate in the field (including Trump), but it does put him far behind the richest two Dems of Tom Steyer ($1.6 billion) and John Delaney ($200 million). Michael Bennet, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris all have more money than Sestak. Steve Bullock has a net worth of around $1.5 million. While these are both insane amounts to the average American, neither is really enough to buy a presidential election. Bullock’s failure to launch is probably still a problem with the messenger and not the messenger’s wallet.

Money and merch and Michael Bennet’s book

Michael Bennet wanted to tell me a bit more seriously about his book on Thursday. It really does sound interesting and like something I’ll read when I have a bit of time. Kamala Harris wanted to give me her bus sticker again. Jay Inslee was offering a membership card.

Beto O’Rourke was relaunching his campaign. Again.

Moving forward, I will fight with urgency and clarity. I will speak as honestly as possible about the challenges we face and run a campaign that meets this moment.

Beto O’Rourke

Now, I really like O’Rourke as a person. I feel he’s a great advocate for people suffering injustices, and the attack on El Paso really did shake him. But when I read his email talking about how he sees more clearly than ever about the problems in the world, and how “moving forward” he’ll be urgent and clear and honest… I ask “Why weren’t you before?” It feels, to me, like O’Rourke needed people in his hometown to die for him to understand the actual pain and fear that many Americans are feeling, and while I liked his email relaunching his campaign… I feel like it’s the strongest argument that he is not fit for President. O’Rourke makes a great warrior against injustice. He should stick to activism.

And finally, the icing on the cake of Thursday’s emotions was the joy I felt when I received this email from John Hickenlooper.

This morning, I announced that I am no longer running for President of the United States in 2020.

John Hickenlooper

I will be writing up a farewell to Hickenlooper later today, but for now, I will rejoice that we dropped another candidate without picking up a replacement. Slowly, my inbox is whittled down…

Despite my complaints today, Buttigieg still doesn’t spam.

4 thoughts on “Day 87: 8/15/19

  1. I love this blog and share your sense of humor. I support Mayor Pete and I’m glad that you’re holding him to a higher standard, because it confirms my belief that he’s been a class act thus far.


    1. Thanks! I’m having a lot of fun writing it!

      I feel like I give Pete a lot of praise, so it’s important to call out his missteps…But it’s also important to remember how few missteps he actually has!


      1. As another Pete supporter, I agree with the comment and was also disappointed. I remember him saying somewhere early on that he would respect my inbox and intelligence and wouldn’t push spammy artificial midnight deadlines like the exhausting parade others blast out (I enjoy reading about those here). The only time Pete did one of those was at the end of Q2— that was a real deadline and it turned out to be justified in retrospect because I guess he wanted to break the symbolic $25m for Q2 and knew he was really close. In the end he fell just $0.1m short and I actually felt bad later for not heeding his direct ask email and giving more.

        On the other hand, this August 15th push rubbed me the wrong way for a few reasons. 1) It feels like an arbitrary donor target with a made-up deadline; 2) there were three emails in two days; 3) the third email had the first and only sloppy uncapitalized subject line I’ve ever seen from Pete (“you’re giving us hope”). At first I thought it might be fake. As you say, even small missteps stand out in a campaign that’s otherwise strikingly disciplined, consistent, smart and on-brand.


      2. It goes to show that when you set the bar high, you’ll actually be held to your own standards!

        Don’t hesitate to give the campaign feedback if they do something you don’t like. If you’re disappointed in an email, reply and let them know. Maybe it can trigger some change!


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