Day 95: 8/23/19

Friday brought a celebration from Joe Biden of the 11th anniversary of his good friend Barack Obama picking him to be his running mate. It brought anger from Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Bennet as they realized they would not be making it to the September debate stage. And it brought contests from Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Cory Booker as they all tried to get me to be their guest to the Houston debates.

Tim Ryan hasn’t been first in emails since the domestic terrorism.

Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren both sent out 3 emails on Friday. For the numbers 1 and 2 campaigns in the race, they certainly do want to make sure I haven’t forgotten about them! At 2 emails each, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Sestak were staying restrained.

Lots of “sign your name” or “give your opinion.”

Of Joe Biden’s three emails, two of them were asking me to take a “Joe Biden Achievement Survey” in honor of the 11th anniversary of the day he was asked to be Obama’s running mate (his good friend Barack Obama, maybe you’ve heard of him). I didn’t click the survey link, but I did have to wonder what such a survey would entail. Lists of Biden’s accomplishments and questions about which ones I’d heard of? Which were my favorites? Which ones I agreed with? What is even the point of such a survey other than to humble-brag or to remind people that hey, did you know that Biden was Obama’s Vice President?

Booker called Biden out for leaning on Obama when it’s convenient, and I was glad for it. I don’t want to choose my next leader based on their coworkers. I want to choose them based on their own merits. And “Best Friend to Barack Obama” is not a merit. I’m glad he’s such good friends with Obama, but it’s not going to sway my vote one way or another.

When Biden wasn’t reminding me about his tenure as Obama’s VP, he was penning a letter for me to send to Trump.

Dear Donald Trump:

I’ll just get to the point: Greenland is not for sale.

And your obsession with purchasing it is embarrassing.

You do not represent me on the international stage.

Our country is supposed to lead the world, but to do that we need an actual leader in the White House we can be proud of.

That’s why today I’m sending you this letter and making a contribution to make sure Joe Biden defeats you next year:


There are a lot of other things you could be doing instead of trying to buy a COUNTRY that’s not for sale…

You could be:
— Funding health care for women
— Restoring the Equality Act
— Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act
— Protecting voting rights
— Standing up to Russian election interference
— Reuniting families at the border
— Passing gun violence prevention laws, including universal background checks
— Saving our endangered species

But instead, you’re making a mockery of this country on the global stage.

So President Trump — I am joining hundreds of thousands of Joe Biden supporters across the country to make sure this is your last term.



Team Joe

The market is correcting itself. China is beating us in Trump’s trade war. Trump’s pedophile friend hanged himself. The House Democrats are chasing impeachment proceedings.

Trump isn’t trying to buy Greenland to buy Greenland. He’s trying to be distracting. So thanks, Biden, for following the misdirection and playing into Trump’s hands instead of taking this opportunity to educate your own base on the games he’s trying to play.

It’s never a good day when the blue bar is higher.

While Tom Steyer lectured the DNC at their summer meeting on Friday, telling them to lead by example and reject all corporate money the way the Republicans are to corrupt to do, Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Bennet aimed their anger at the DNC directly. “Arbitrary” got leveled at them. Their “arbitrary” rules.

I’ll be blunt: without your help, we may not make the third debate. It’s true that because of you, we’ve blown past the required 130,000 unique donors. And Tulsi has racked up over 26 polls at or above the 2% threshold for the third debate. But only two of those polls are deemed “certified” by the DNC’s seemingly arbitrary criteria, which they have not made public. 

And get this – many of the uncertified polls are ranked by Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight as more accurate than some DNC “certified” polls. After examining the list of certified and non-certified polls, Michael Tracey wrote in Real Clear Politics, “Tulsi Gabbard is on the verge of being excluded from the next Democratic presidential debate on the basis of criteria that appear increasingly absurd.” 

Click here to add your name to call on the DNC to make their standards clear and consistent, and accept robust, highly-rated polls by organizations such as The Boston Globe and The Economist that have rated Tulsi at 2% or above.

It’s not only about which polls were certified, it’s also the fact that hardly any certified polls have been released at all since the second debate! Tulsi had an amazing performance in the second debate and interest in her spiked across the country as we saw her become the most Googled candidate for the second time running, grassroots donations poured in and volunteers offered their time and energy to our movement. We were counting on the polls to capture that interest and momentum. But they never came. 

Only one certified poll came out the week after the debate. As of today, only four of the DNC’s list of sixteen qualifying polling organizations have released any new polls following the second debate in Detroit. If the DNC is serious about including candidates based on their grassroots momentum, they need to step up and ensure that the polls they certify have a chance to capture that momentum. The American people are speaking – and they want to know more about Tulsi. But by restricting the number and frequency of certified polls based on arbitrary criteria, the DNC is turning a deaf ear and taking our power away. 

Don’t let the DNC take our power away. Add your name to stand up for a Democratic Party and government that is truly of, by and for the people. 

Crucial decisions that impact our elections should not be made in secret by party bosses. Those decisions must be made openly, with clear and consistent standards and a sufficient window of opportunity for candidates to demonstrate genuine grassroots momentum and enthusiasm. This is about democracy. This is about the rights of the American people. This is about all of us having the opportunity to make our voices heard.

Vrindavan (Gabbard’s sister), TULSI2020

While Gabbard raged against the criteria for choosing the pollsters, Bennet just raged at how unfair it was, period.

Because of the DNC’s arbitrary rules, I won’t be on stage in Houston next month.

The DNC is stifling debate at a time when we need it most. These rules have created exactly the wrong outcomes and they will not help us beat Donald Trump.

But this fight is far from over.

I won’t be stopped by the DNC’s unprecedented and counterproductive process that rewards celebrities, billionaires who can buy their way in, and perma-candidates who have been running for decades.

I am staying focused on what matters most: talking to voters and beating Trump.

This campaign has never been about being center stage.

Michael Bennet

I do not like these emails for a variety of reasons. I think they are childish and unbecoming of a Presidential candidate.

To begin with, the criteria for getting onto the October debate stage was set months ago. The DNC press release from May 29, 2019 spells out the entire list of guidelines. The list of approved pollsters has not changed since the first debates. At no point before now did Gabbard argue that more pollsters should be included and the list wasn’t fair.

Furthermore, Gabbard argues that only 4 “certified” polls came out since the last debates. I pulled up the DNC press release with the criteria and then pulled up FiveThirtyEight’s poll aggregator, and I opened every single poll from the four allowed states (South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa) and every national poll released between June 28 and today. I then closed any duplicates or any polls that were not on the list of approved sponsors.

I ended up with 12 polls.

Out of all of the arguments I’ve heard for why the DNC rules “aren’t fair,” Gabbard’s made the most sense to me. Why are some pollsters excluded and others not? However, when her argument is backed up with faulty data such as the number of qualifying polls, I find her logic falls apart. If she can’t even argue her point with facts, why should I give weight to her point at all?

But then again, how many of you would actually go and look up the number of polls instead of just taking her word for it?

EDITOR’S NOTE: It was brought to my attention that I had misread: Gabbard said polls “since the last debate,” and I counted all polls during the qualifying period. Gabbard was correct: 4 polls since the last debate on July 30/31, even though the qualifying polls could come from after June 28..

And as for Bennet, as of the end of June, he was at around 20,000 donors. Even if he had the polls, he probably didn’t have the grassroots support needed to qualify.

But here’s my biggest issue with these cries of “unfair.”

A requirement does not become unfair just because you can’t meet it.

Either the requirement is always unfair, and some people have an advantage that allows them to get past anyway, or it isn’t unfair and you just weren’t able to make it. It doesn’t become unfair because you’ve realized that your best effort wasn’t enough. If these requirements truly were unfair, the candidates should have been upset about them when they first found out, not days before the deadline.

Bennet argues that the rule rewards celebrities, billioniares, and perma-candidates. Let’s look at who is on the stage:

  • Joe Biden – Perma-candidate
  • Bernie Sanders – Perma-candidate
  • Elizabeth Warren – None of the above
  • Kamala Harris – None of the above
  • Pete Buttigieg – None of the above
  • Beto O’Rourke – Maybe celebrity? He was a party rockstar after 2018.
  • Julian Castro – None of the above
  • Andrew Yang – None of the above
  • Cory Booker – None of the above
  • Amy Klobuchar – None of the above

I’m not seeing the rewards Bennet is arguing. The two candidates who ran for President before made it to the stage. I would be more apt to argue that this means experience running for President means you do a better job running for President, as experience tends to do in all fields. The richest candidates haven’t made it on the stage. Other than O’Rourke and the two who’ve run before, I’m not entirely sure if any candidate would be considered “celebrity.” (And if Bennet is arguing that candidates who have had viral online moments are celebrities, he’s one of those.)

It’s almost as if the candidates who have appealed to a critical number of Americans and made their messages resonate with the masses are the ones Americans are lifting up to the debate stage.

Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, and Seth Moulton all looked at their numbers, looked at the requirements, and decided that they were not going to make it so they bowed out. They did so with grace, and I have respect for all three of them.

I have no respect for people who want to change the rules most of the way through the game so they can win.

So many contests!

Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker were all eager to get me a chance to win tickets to see them live in Houston. Booker sent 1 email about it, Harris sent 2 emails, and Warren sent 3 (all to 1 donor and 1 non-donor account for each email).

Pete Buttigieg sent only 1 email to my donor account, and his was the one I remembered.

To begin with, his revealed that he absolutely has linked my personal donations to my BTE donations (Pizza-emailers from Twitter, this is probably the reason for the difference in emails! I totally donated many times personally. I wanted pizza!). The subject was “sneak peek,” and he wanted to give me an update before anyone else on how well the Pete-za contest had done.

As one of the donors to our Pizza with Pete contest, we wanted you to be the first to know what you’ve helped accomplish: Your contribution was one of over 85,000 gifts to Pete’s campaign as part of this effort.

We run contests like these because they give supporters a chance to meet Pete. When he connects with people, they hear the conviction and care in his voice and the depth of thought and passion behind his vision for our country.

Beyond entry, there’s something else your gifts make possible — and we do think of donations as gifts. Something profound happens when you give to something you believe in. And we’re trying to win the nomination with organizers and volunteers on the ground in their communities telling their families, friends, and neighbors why they support Pete. It’s one of the most impactful things a campaign can do, but it takes resources: wages, work spaces, gas, clipboards, and so on.

85,000 contributions go a long, long way in making all that happen. Thank you.

We’re also reaching out today to give you the first chance at our next Pete-and-greet. We’re sending a winner and a guest to cheer him on at the Democratic debate in Houston. It’s the same approach as last time around: When you donate to help build our campaign, you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win.

This is a make-or-break moment for our country, and Pete understands the urgency with which we need to respond. We’re building a movement up to the task of securing a fresh start, and supporters like you — who are so committed that you give to our campaign — are at the heart of it.

That’s why you get a head start on this next opportunity. It’s only a few hours before we roll out to the entire PFA community, but we hope you see it for what it is: an expression of our support and appreciation for what you mean to this campaign.

Because you donated before, we’re giving you the first chance to chip in here and be automatically entered to win a trip to the debate. Pete will share his vision with everyone watching nationwide, and he’ll share with you personally, too.

Pete for America

I. Was. Floored. Over 4,000 emails from presidential campaigns, and this was the first one that went “thank you” in a meaningful way. What they gave wasn’t much, but it was something. A number: 85,000 contributions. An advance nod to their own debate contest. A chance for me to give them my money faster, yes, the cynical part of my brain points out, but the exclusivity lights up the lizard part of my brain. “You gave us money,” Buttigieg’s campaign is saying, “so we’ll give you a peek behind the curtain.”

Maybe it’s merely brilliant marketing, maybe it’s genuine camaraderie between a campaign and its supporters, but either way, it didn’t make me feel tricked, manipulated, or used. It made me feel included and appreciated.

That’s the mark of a good marketing campaign.

Congratulations on 200, Joe Biden!

4 thoughts on “Day 95: 8/23/19

  1. Love the blog, but I have to correct you here. The last debates were at the end of July, not June. Gabbard’s campaign is right that there were only a few polls released since then (CNN, FOX, Quinnipiac and a Monmouth poll for Iowa). A candidate would have needed all of them for a second debate breakout performance to get them into the third debate. Gabbard only got 2% in one of those four, so I don’t think she has a strong argument, but it’s true there’s been a dearth of polls lately.


    1. Whoops, good point! I was looking at all of the qualifying polls total, not just the ones after the second debate. Guess I’ll have to go back in and double-check my own numbers. Thanks for keeping me honest!


  2. I’m kind of curious: How long does it take for you to put together these daily e-mails on average, between reading the e-mails, fact-checking candidates’ skewed bull****, writing everything up, etc.?

    Great work as always!


    1. The average post takes a few hours. Writing the post is about an hour long, and I spend a couple hours before bed going through the day’s emails. Some days are worse than others, depending on if it’s the end of the month, if a debate is happening, if FEC deadlines are coming up…

      I’m hoping that after August 28, we have plenty of drop outs to make my job easier. 🙂


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