Day 92: 8/20/19

On Tuesday, Julian Castro wasn’t the first to tell me he’d qualified for the debates, Marianne Williamson makes me doubt her writing chops, and Bernie Sanders explains his baseball card.

This is fairly standard.

With 3 emails each, both Cory Booker and Kamala Harris were the most talkative on Tuesday. Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang were all mildly more restrained at only 2 emails apiece. The only active candidates who did not send me any emails at all were the same two candidates who never email me.

Until there are no more debates at all, I don’t think debates will ever stop being talked about.

Once again, the debates were the topic of the day. Several campaigns had good excuses: they hit certain debate qualifications. However, the first person to give me a debate update was actually someone who had already qualified to be on the stage a while ago: Cory Booker.

Booker is very good at keeping me abreast of the latest debate developments. He frequently sends emails where he names all of his fellow Democrats who will be sharing the stage with him, as well as updates me on how close others are to getting their required polls or when they’ve hit their required donors. Booker’s campaign was the first to let me know that Julian Castro received his final poll and is officially on the September stage.

In true Castro form, Julian Castro told me hours later. Even when the news is good news that he’s been hyping might not happen for weeks now, he’s late to tell me about it.

In case you’re wondering what a standard Castro email looks like, it’s this but without the pictures.

Other notable campaign wins came from Jay Inslee and Marianne Williamson, both of whom hit the 130,000 donor goal and now just need to get their polls. The deadline for qualifying polls is fast approaching, though, and it isn’t likely either of them will make the stage.

I sort of feel like Inslee knows this.

At 7‌:03 a.m. ET on Mar‌ch 1‌st, Amy from New York became our movement’s first donor. Last night, Linda from Kentucky chipped in, too. Between Amy and Linda, 129,998 Americans (and now more!) have invested in this campaign.

Tod‌ay, I’m so thrilled to announce that 130,000 Americans have made a grassroots donation to our campaign. Together, we’ve fundamentally changed this debate and forced my fellow candidates, the media, and the establishment to finally give our climate crisis the attention it deserves.

We are 130,000 strong.

We are from every state in the country.

We are young people demanding action. And we are parents and grandparents dedicated to making sure the next generation has a fair shot at the same quality of life we have known.

We are Democratic activists who’ve fought for progress for years but know that 2020 is our last chance to get this right. We are people who got involved in politics for the very first time because the status quo will mean the end of humanity as we know it. And, yes, we are Republicans fed-up with the vitriol and division that have defined our politics these past few years.

We are as diverse as our incredible country. But we are united by a common call: Together, we will defeat the climate crisis. And we know politics as usual won’t deliver the change humanity demands.

When we started this campaign, when Amy gave that first donation, the establishment had already counted us out. We were told our climate mission would never galvanize a movement. Well, we proved them wrong. And in so doing, we have proven that Americans from every walk of life are demanding action to defeat climate change. And we have proven that America is not going to sit back and wait for it to happen.

We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the first generation who can do something about it. And you know what? You and I, we are doing something about it.

So, to Amy and Linda, and to you friend — thank you. Thank you for being on this team. Thank you for the hope and the energy you have infused into this movement. And thank you for all you will do in the months and years to come.

Now, let’s get to work.

Jay Inslee

Notably absent from that thank you are words discussing how the campaign will continue to push forward and keep fighting for climate change fixes, or how the campaign will be on the debate stage in September, or anything about the campaign still existing, really. Other than the final “Let’s get to work,” I’m getting the impression that Inslee is preparing to bow out if he’s not on the September debates.

Not stop fighting against climate change, but maybe stop running for President. Maybe.

Contrast that with Marianne Williamson’s thank you email:

We got the 130,000 unique donors necessary to make the DNC deadline for the third debate! Thank you so much to those of you who made it happen. Now we need to wait for poll results to come out this week, establishing whether we made the additional criterion of 2% in 4 polls.

From Oakland to Sioux City to Washington, D.C., we’re talking about things that others aren’t talking about, stirring up hope and conversation wherever we go. See today’s Washington Post article re my position on the women of Afghanistan. [ Read on | Read on ] 

heck out videos of my latest talks on the campaign trail, and also see our newest campaign video:

My candidacy is on the move now, and that’s largely because of you. I hope you will continue to support the campaign so that we can open it even further, and not stop until we reach the White House door.

Marianne Williamson

I didn’t get any “about to drop out” vibes from Williamson.

I did wonder about that last paragraph, though. Her candidacy is “on the move” so let’s “open it even further” and not stop? That doesn’t make sense. She’s mixing her metaphors. If her candidacy was unfolding, she could open it further. If it’s on the move, she can push it even further.

I thought Williamson was known for her writing.

That is, by the way, a flaw with being a writer, or being good at anything. If you tell people “I’m good at this,” they judge you more harshly for what you claim to be good at. It’s why I’m not going to show off the missing word from Michael Bennet’s latest email sent by a staffer. I’m sure they’re embarrassed enough when they saw it the moment after they hit “Send” (because that’s always when you see your glaring mistake that’s front and center.) That staffer didn’t claim to be a good writer.

Kamala Harris is back to fundraising. She says that her campaign is falling behind in the all-important money race. This has rattled her so much that she has done what I thought was unthinkable: she changed her donation buttons.

Ordinarily, when Harris asks for a donation, she has a standard spread of $5/$25/$50/$100/$250/Other. This averages to $86 and has been consistent over the past 92 days.

On Tuesday, two of her emails had a spread of $10/$25/$50/$100/$250/Other. This averaged out to $87 and made me think I had entered something wrong. One of them arrived in my donor inbox, the other to my non-donor, but they were not the same email. I was fascinated by this tiny change. Is she trying to A/B test to see if increasing that first button increased her donations?

Is her campaign struggling that much?

Am I reading too much into it?

Other struggling campaigns included John Delaney, Michael Bennet, and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Delaney boasted about being a winner of the second debate, but he has less than two weeks to make the qualification deadline and could really use my help (emphasis his).

Bennet reassured me that while the 130,000 donor threshold is a high bar, it’s doable with my help. People want him to keep talking and are building momentum within his movement. (But not 130,000 people…)

Gillibrand emailed at first with a congratulations for Castro: she’s actually very supportive of her fellow Dems when they make big accomplishments. After Inslee and Williamson announced their 130,000 donors, though, her next email was a bit sadder:

Friend, we’re now just 8 days away from the final DNC deadline to qualify for the next debate. I’ll be honest with you: We don’t have the donors we need yet to qualify for the debates, and at this point, it’s now or never.

I want to be on that debate stage with Jay, Marianne, and all the rest, but I need your help to meet the requirements. At this moment, every donation, of any amount, makes a HUGE difference, but you have to send it right now. I’m counting on you.

Kirsten Gillibrand

I believe Gillibrand is around 110,000 donors, from what she’s said in past emails. I’ve already given her a dollar once, so I can’t help her anymore, but I can say that in my experience, she never emails her donors these days…

One candidate who isn’t struggling, however, is Pete Buttigieg. He just wants to share a pizza with me and several others:

Oftentimes, South Bend surprises people. We were struggling for decades. A national magazine called us “dying.” But we’ve reversed all that, by making a break with the past and embracing new ideas to build a better future.

We can do the same for America. I’d love to share my vision with you, and I’d love to hear yours.

Pete Buttigieg

It’s a subtle genius at play here, advertising Pizza with Pete. While other campaigns have offered drinks with their candidates (or yoga), Buttigieg is making a campaign pitch: come see what I did for my city so you can see what I can do for my country. It’s not just an opportunity to meet the candidate and talk to him face to face. It’s also a chance to see the tangible effect he’s had in his time as mayor. And while his initial Pizza with Pete emails went to donors and non-donors alike, his reminder emails have been going to non-donors only. More subtle, clever campaigning. He’s courting undecideds already, and doing it with free pizza.

I really do like when there are lots of colors!

Bernie Sanders was pushing his baseball card again, but this time, he actually had an explanation. It wasn’t a baseball card for the sake of a baseball card. The Bernie 2020 team, including Sanders himself, played a softball game at the legendary Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. Their team, the Revolutionaries, played against the LBA Foundation, an organization whose mission is “to inspire HOPE in tomorrow’s Leaders, Believers, and Achievers.” In addition to supporting the campaign, Sanders told me, a small portion of my donation to get a card would be sent to the LBA Foundation to support their mission.

I wish he’d told me that on Monday when he first told me about the card.

(On another merch note, I looked it up: Andrew Yang is the only candidate offering pens in his store, though John Delaney offers pencils. A Pete Buttigieg supporter is sending me a self-made Buttigieg pen, though, so my collection of candidate pens has begun!)

After his rather nice email about his softball game with the LBA Foundation, Sanders then squashed my goodwill by attacking another candidate:

A few things we didn’t want you to miss:

Yesterday: we learned that one of our opponents told a group of wealthy donors at a private fundraiser that she’s “not comfortable” with Bernie’s Medicare for All plan (after co-sponsoring his bill in the Senate)

Earlier today: another leading campaign went up with their first television ad in Iowa, which means the race is on to win the first-in-the-nation caucus

Right now: Bernie is counting on all of us to close the fundraising gap from last quarter when we were out-raised by a few others in this race

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

In case it was too subtle for you, that’s Kamala Harris he’s bad-mouthing from “Yesterday,” and probably Joe Biden with the campaign ad in Iowa (since Biden emailed me to tell me about his new ad). Not that Sanders called either of them out by name. They’re the unknown bogeymen in the dark, the faceless “others” that are hurting his chances.

Bad enough he’s lashing out at fellow Democrats, but he’s not even doing it to their faces.

Sanders likes to talk about how his average donation number is too low. Beto O’Rourke had something to say about his own average donation number:

Our average donation this month is $26.53. That’s up a few bucks since last month. But still down since we launched and our average was over $40.

We’re proud that this number is going down! It proves we’re running a grassroots campaign. But it also means it’ll take us a lot more donations to hit our monthly goals. Right now, we need about 7,692 more to be exact.

Team Beto

What’s that, O’Rourke? Low numbers means grassroots support? So, if you were running a true grassroots campaign, you’d want that average donation to be low? Like… around $16? And you’re not asking people to donate extra to make up for a low average donation?

The shock. The audacity.

(The sarcasm.)

Steve Bullock has emailed me as a donor the same number of times Pete Buttigieg has emailed me as a non-donor.

4 thoughts on “Day 92: 8/20/19

  1. Re that moment of angst when you see the typo the moment you hit “send”:

    In 2011, I’d just retired from my job as a prosecutor and was trying to figure out what to do with myself. I was actually considering a freelance writing/editing career, but just in case, I’d updated my legal resume. The FIRST WEEK I was at home I received a list email, from a technical assistance provider for law enforcement professionals on gender-based violence, announcing a position for an “Attorney Advisor.” It seemed PERFECT for me, and since I had just updated my resume and had a terrific writing sample ready to go, I applied for it within about 10 minutes of receiving the email.

    As soon as I hit “send” I noticed the subject line of my email. I was applying for the “Attorney AdvisoN” position. I immediately figured, well, that’s that. Shot myself in the foot.

    Long story short, I’m still working there today. As mortified as I was, not one person noticed the typo in the subject line. Which proves why they needed my editing skills.

    I’m the only person on staff who edits my typos on Slack.


    1. For someone who loves to write, it is an absolutely relatable fear. It happens a lot when I’m writing on my phone. I KNOW I typed it correctly, but then my phone sees the next word I type and decides I really meant something different. Since I remember typing it correctly, I don’t think to check and arrrrrgh!

      I’m glad they were able to look past the typo! Just goes to show how little attention people pay to the finer details in emails!

      (I edit my typos in Discord most of the time)


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