Day 91: 8/19/19

Monday brought a new week, as it always does. It also brought some questionable merchandise from Andrew Yang, some questionable logic from Michael Bennet, and some not-so-questionable results from Pete Buttigieg.

I do need to give Amy Klobuchar an overdue shoutout. After complaining about her emails being repetitive, she did something unusual on Sunday and I promptly ignored all my notes to talk about it. First thing today after the numbers, Klobuchar, I promise!

EmailsCampaigns
Total4817
Non-Donor2516
Donor2314
Whenever the donor/non-donor bars are lopsided, I worry I screwed something up.

Cory Booker was the most enthusiastic on a Monday, dropping 3 emails into my inbox. He was followed by Joe Biden, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren with 2 each.

Amy Klobuchar’s 1 email today was asking if I’d like a yard sign to proclaim my support of her. For the low low donation of $15 or more, I could get a free yard sign! Hers is the first campaign offering “free” yard signs, though a few others have put their signs up in their merch stores. However, it was yesterday’s email from Klobuchar that was unique.

It’s a hotdish recipe

Apparently, a hotdish is a Minnesota thing that combines meat, canned or frozen vegetables, and a starch to create a filling and delicious comfort food. And for just $1, I could get Klobuchar’s own recipe! It’s apparently the unofficial food of her campaign as well, because it’s scrappy, stretches your dollar, and come straight from the Heartland.

As excitement goes, I rate this one sad party horn toot. For Klobuchar, though, this is something completely new and out of the box. No other campaign is offering a candidate’s own recipe!

Plus, it’ll be emailed to you, so you don’t have to worry about how long it takes for shipping.

Tis the season for campaign merch?

In addition to Klobuchar’s yard signs from Monday’s emails, Kamala Harris was still offering one last chance to get her limited-edition, limited-stock bus sticker that would be printed to meet the demand. I’m still scratching my head over that one. Beto O’Rourke also has a new sticker, “free” for a simple donation of at least $1.

$1 is the minimum amount

The most incredible thing about O’Rourke’s sticker is that it has color. His logo is very monochromatic, which… sort of works for him, but at the same time, it can be very boring next to the colors of Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, or Pete Buttigieg.

Andrew Yang also had some new merch drop.

I’m a bit confused about the demographics…

I have some… questions.

To start with, everyone looks unfortunate in high school, with very few exceptions. Yang was not one of those exceptions. I really don’t relish plastering his teenage face across my stuff, whether as a button or a journal.

The water bottle and pen are good, the folders are okay. I can’t think of anyone old enough to vote who would spend $12.50 on a standard calculator.

Maybe he’s targeting a younger demographic with these products, with the intent of getting them to sway their parents to the Yang Gang. That might work, because purchasing campaign merch is bound by the same rules and regulations as making a campaign donation: you must be over 18.

I’m still wondering how on earth that is going to work, having a kid try to convince their parents that no, they really do need an Andrew Yang calculator, plus some pens, and also a journal, so they can get the pin.

Don’t get me wrong: I love office supplies. I wish more campaigns had pens. Heck, if campaigns were doing “donate and get a free pen,” I’d probably have donated a LOT more. I’d probably go in and BUY a pen from everyone, and then do a post comparing the different pens. (I’m not a pen snob in terms of how they write or feel. I like how they look. Especially if they have cats on them). This is truly a wasted marketing angle.

But Yang’s merch… doesn’t really inspire me. At all.

Except those pens. I’ve used swag pens like those before. They’re not bad.

Debates are the big topic? Who’d’ve thought!?

Joe Biden launched a new email series called “I Know Joe Biden.” It will be testimonials from people who know Biden best, all talking about his character. The first one came from his little sister, Valerie Biden-Owens, and included stories of how he stuck up for her even as a little boy.

It was sweet. It asked for a donation. It made me scratch my head.

The country does know Biden. That’s actually more of the problem he’s having. We know Biden, good ol’ Uncle Joe, can’t keep his foot out of his mouth or his hands to himself, but a sweet guy nonetheless. Gaffe-prone. Misspeaking more and more as he gets older.

As a person, I like Biden. He’s fiercely loyal and tries to do the right thing, even if he doesn’t always realize why what he did wasn’t the right thing. But Biden is old, and no amount of character testimonials will change that. Especially not character testimonials on what he did when he was younger. Those will only convince me that he did his part for the country and it’s time to let him retire with some dignity and put a new face on politics.

I’m not sure who this email series is aimed at, but it certainly isn’t aimed at me.

Michael Bennet was excited about some positive coverage from the Des Moines Register.

Friends, this is big!

The Des Moines Register is crystal clear: “Iowa caucusgoers…would be well-served to give Bennet more attention…”

…It’s clear our momentum in Iowa is building.

Team Bennet

It sounds like the editorial from the Des Moines Register did give Bennet a lot of praise and brought up many of his selling points (Medicare X, Gang of Eight, free preschool), but at the same time, it’s telling the people of Iowa that they should be giving him more attention.

“You need to pay attention to this man” is not the same as “you are paying attention to this man.” Just because a big news source in the state speaks highly of a candidate doesn’t mean momentum is growing.

Though, to be fair, everyone is claiming their momentum is growing (or needs to be maintained). Momentum is clearly the Thing To Have in a presidential campaign.

Kamala Harris was one of a few who wasn’t talking about momentum on Monday. In fact, Harris wasn’t talking about fundraising at all! She instead tried to get me to accept her bus sticker and she asked me to take a survey for her. The reason she gave for why I should take the survey, though…

Can you take our two-minute pre-debate survey? Our records indicate you’re one of Kamala’s most active supporters, which is why your feedback is so important. Your answers will be critical to our debate prep.

Team Kamala

This was sent to both my donor and non-donor accounts, so it wasn’t actually targeted at me, but it made me laugh nonetheless. One of her most active supporters? At best, I’ve given her $1 and read her emails. If that’s “most active” for Harris’ campaign, she’s in a lot of trouble. Good thing she was just trying to butter me up.

Someone who wasn’t just trying to butter me up was Pete Buttigieg. Last week, he sent 3 fundraising emails in rapid succession. On Monday, he did something fairly unheard of for a Presidential campaign (but not all that uncommon for Buttigieg): he told me how well it worked.

Earlier this week, you heard from our team about a big 24-hour fundraising goal. This community acted: In the span of a single day, supporters like you invested over $210,000 (!!!) in our campaign.

Greta Carnes, National Organizing Director, Pete for America

Trying to get solid numbers from campaign emails is like trying to get blood from a stone. At best, they’ll tell you how much more they need to make to hit their goal. They might actually give you what that goal actually is, or maybe a chart showing that they are some percentage of the way to their goal. More often than not, especially for the big campaigns, they just tell me that they have a goal and they aren’t there yet, with no indication of if they are almost there or halfway there or nowhere close, or if their goal is changing day by day.

With the bulk of donations coming in through online sources like ActBlue (and the bulk of those coming through ActBlue directly), campaigns these days have quick and easy access to their fundraising data. Buttigieg has consistently reported his results in a timely fashion. Instead of hiding his fundraising, he sets it out for the other campaigns to see. Buttigieg was the first campaign to release Q2 fundraising numbers. It turned out he was also the #1 fundraiser for Q2, but at the time of release, he didn’t know that. He simply had promised transparency to his supporters and was following through. He did it again here, with how much money his 3 fundraising emails brought in. He didn’t even ask for specific donations (other than to have the spread of donation buttons), but rather, he asked for donors.

I am just itching to know what the numbers actually are for someone like Buttigieg compared to someone like Harris. Harris’ email campaign is almost entirely fundraising. Buttigieg’s is almost entirely not. Whose is more successful?

In the world of political emails, not everyone believes less is more.

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