Week 14: August 18-August 24

In Week 14, everybody wanted money, the debates were still the big topic of the day, and some campaigns had new merchandise. Also, Jay Inslee and Seth Moulton dropped out, but Wayne Messam still clings to his campaign.

Also, I made a correction to yesterday’s post. An eagle-eyed commenter pointed out that Tulsi Gabbard said only 4 polls had been released since the last debate, and I counted all the polls released during the qualified period and called her wrong. Gabbard was actually correct: when I recounted just from after July 30, only 4 polls had been released. I edited the post to indicate my mistake.

I write these in the morning, which is why there’s always a sharp drop-off for the last day.
EmailsCampaigns
Total35821
Non-Donor19821
Donor16020
One by one, the field shrinks.

With Jay Inslee and Seth Moulton dropping out, the field of candidates I’m tracking has dropped to 21.

Yes, Wayne Messam is still officially in the race, even though he has done nothing.

Kirsten Gillibrand was the most talkative campaign this week, sending 16 emails into my non-donor account. I suspect she’s trying to save money and just make it through the next debate field at this point. Joe Biden, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren come in second with 15 emails each, with Kamala Harris hitting a solid third at 14 emails in a week.

I’ve heard August is a rough fundraising month from so many campaigns…

As always, the number one ask this past week has been for money. The tactics different campaigns employ to get my hard earned dollars varies from candidate to candidate, as does the amount they ask for.

Average ask: $25.96

Joe Biden, as I’ve talked about repeatedly on this blog, never has enough money to achieve his dreams. His fundraising emails are always telling me how he’s either out of money, will have to make some hard cuts, or needs more money to scare the pants off of Donald Trump.

Cory Booker, on the other hand, needs money to stand out. He’s been reminding me of all the people on the debate stage and asking me to help him hit his fundraising goals so he can raise his voice above all of theirs and really make an impact.

Amy Klobuchar is all about the momentum. She has big momentum, yo, her events are always packed, and news articles are always saying she’s the only one who can beat Trump (at least, that one article is always saying that, or at least, that one article said it once and she keeps repeating it). She keeps asking me to chip in to keep her momentum going.

Elizabeth Warren will remind me that her time can’t be bought, so can I attempt to buy some of her time by giving a donation? She might call me….! She makes a big deal about how she’s not taking big-money donors, so she needs little-money donors like me.

Bernie Sanders also makes a big deal about how he’s not funded by the billionaires. He’ll rail against the behavior of his fellow candidates and use their behaviors as a reason why I should donate. Alternatively, I should donate to get a baseball card (or sticker, or button, or book), and while I can donate whatever amount I want, he’ll give me a suggested donation amount that is super over-priced for what I’m getting out of it.

Kamala Harris asks for money as a show of support, to silence the people who doubt her campaign, to keep fighting to prosecute the case against four more years of Trump. Sometimes she has goals and deadlines, but mostly she wants my money so she can have more money.

Tim Ryan has a knack of talking to me about one thing, but then asking for money. He’ll talk to me about how he needs more poll numbers, so give him money. He’ll talk to me how people need to hear more about him, so give him money. He’ll tell me that his campaign is building steam and now he’s appearing on many podcasts, so give him money. From the sounds of Ryan’s emails, everything in his campaign is going amazingly well except that he never has any money.

Andrew Yang is all about the math and therefore all about the money. He keeps setting up fundraising deadline after fundraising deadline, confident that if he gets $X, he will win this. He seems surprised when other candidates raise more money than him, and also when immediately after hitting one fundraiser goal, his next fundraiser goal struggles a bit more.

Beto O’Rourke is playing catch-up after taking time off to be a good support for his hurting city. He’s back and he’s angry and he wants me to join him in his righteous crusade.

Kirsten Gillibrand just needs 130,000 donors to get on stage. Please. She needs anyone. Everyone. Anyone who will just give her a dollar, she needs to be on stage or no one will fight for women’s rights…

Marianne Williamson is happy with her donor numbers, though she still needs poll numbers. She is so happy that when she set a fundraising goal to launch some ads this weekend, money came in! She asks me to give generously and with all my heart, and then offers suggested donation buttons all the way up to $1,000.

Julian Castro is a perpetual victim, always being told he wasn’t good enough, always getting bullied by guys like Donald Trump, please can I give him some money so he can show that he can kick butt too?

Pete Buttigieg offers me prizes in exchange for my money. Pizza with Pete or two tickets to the Democratic debates… there’s a chance I might get something in exchange for giving something. And even if I don’t get something, I still get something in the form of information and updates about his campaign.

One day that yellow bar will go away.

Buttigieg isn’t the only one offering contests. Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren are also offering me trips to the debates on their campaigns.

(It may be worth noting that Bernie Sanders has never offered a contest. For anything.)

Other candidates have been offering merchandise, either directly for a donation or to remind me that they have shops. Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang have all launched new designs in their shops, though some are… more questionable than others.

This makes me think “drug dealer” more than “Presidential Campaign”

After Inslee dropped out, many of the candidates turned their attention to climate change, calling for debates or releasing their plans (or reminding me that they already released their plans). Tom Steyer kicked things off with a petition for a climate change debate, which Beto O’Rourke echoed. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren all had climate change plans.

Regardless of what they want, what’s actually happening is the third debate deadline. Campaigns need 130,000 donors and 2% in four or more polls by August 28 to be on the stage in September. Currently, 10 candidates have qualified.

Cory Booker is unusually worried about an 11th getting on stage.

This whole week, heck, this whole month, Booker has been talking about needing to be able to stand out in a crowded field. On Saturday, he announced that Tom Steyer is just one qualifying poll away from being on stage, and there’s a new poll set to drop on Monday that could put him there.

An eleventh candidate would bring the debate from one night to two. That means one more voice on stage competing for valuable speaking time.

Addisu Demissie, Campaign Manager, Cory 2020

Except… this is a situation where candidates should want an eleventh candidate. It will split the debate over two nights, which means that each stage will be smaller. Instead of 10 candidates competing to get roughly 12 minutes of talking time each, it would be 5/6 candidates competing to get 20/24 minutes of talking time each (assuming each debate will be roughly 2 hours long).

By adding one more candidate to the next debate, the candidates’ speaking time would double. If I were a campaign manager, I’d be doing everything I could to try to help one more candidate get on that stage to give my candidate a better chance of making their case to the American people.

And speaking of being a campaign manager, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager asked me to imagine just that.

I am not a campaign manager

I honestly cannot see any purpose in this survey other than to make people think they’re being included. The average American doesn’t know anything about what makes a successful campaign. They don’t know if engagement goes up at big rallies or with free stickers. They don’t know the cost of upgrading technology vs expanding offices. They have no data, and those few who do understand marketing strategies are lumped in with all the Joe Schmoes who think they know how marketing works. (like me!)

If I were a campaign manager, I’d throw the results of this survey out the window. Maybe ask How do you feel about Sanders’ current advertising? or Which of these have you seen? to see if my efforts were making an impact (or hurting the candidate), but I wouldn’t ask the average American to do my job for me!

I am definitely looking forward to some of those long bars freezing!

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, consider supporting me on Ko-Fi. But Their Emails! merch is also available on for purchase here!

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