Friday brought an additional 10 more emails than Thursday, with Michael Bennet crying that life isn’t fair, Julian Castro being late to the Texas party, and Joe Biden needing me to bail him out financially again.
Joe Biden and Cory Booker joined Kamala Harris in the 4 emails club on Friday. Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren both came in with 3 emails. Many candidates were trying to get their last-minute fundraising emails in before the traditionally slower weekend, though Tim Ryan restrained himself to just 1 email.
Unfortunately, that email was slightly problematic.
Tim Ryan didn’t make it into the September debates, but he wasn’t about to let that stop him. Instead, he decided to host his own climate debate in his home town of Youngstown, Ohio, and he invited all the other candidates to join him.
On the surface, this seems like a nice example of someone taking initiative. Many candidates have been asking for a climate debate, and the DNC had been digging in their heels. However, the DNC also made it explicitly clear that participation in any non-DNC-hosted debate would result in that candidate being black-listed from all official DNC-hosted debates.
In short, any candidate who joins Ryan for his climate change debate cannot be on the national debate stage again.
While several candidates have complained in the past about the unfairness of this declaration, it is actually a way to keep things fair. For example, this climate change debate: Ryan has argued with Bernie Sanders the most. There is nothing stopping Ryan from not inviting Sanders to this debate, and therefore giving him a disadvantage. With the DNC hosting every debate, they can guarantee that the rules are consistent from debate to debate.
This, of course, does not go over very well with some candidates.
On Friday, Michael Bennet was the only candidate complaining about the unfairness of the rules.
To date, the DNC has not provided information on how or why its unprecedented debate qualification requirements were set nor what the criteria will be for the eight future debates.
It is the job of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to narrow the field of presidential candidates. So why does the DNC believe it should have a greater say than early state voters?Michael Bennet
That was a record-screech moment for me. I live in Michigan. Does my say not matter?
Bennet doubled-down on this declaration in his second email of the day.
It’s supposed to be up to early state voters to narrow the field of presidential candidates, but this year the DNC is trying to winnow the field before the first votes are cast.
For starters, I would like to see the rule that early state voters get to narrow the field. Tradition is not the same as rules, and in the 2016 elections, tradition got the DNC into some trouble with Bernie Sanders’ crowd. Calls of bias and stacking the deck were rampant, and the DNC was accused of rigging the election for Hillary Clinton.
We saw how well that went over.
Rather than keep the same rules in place, the DNC acknowledged it was time to break from tradition. They created new rules to benefit candidates that the voters were supporting. Not the early states, not the DNC itself, but the voters. The ones giving money and speaking in polls. The DNC drew a line and said “You must have this much national support to be invited onto a crowded debate stage.” They set these lines months in advance of the deadlines, and indeed, months in advance of when the polling window even opened. Campaigns were encouraged to plan their strategies around the rules the DNC set up. One campaign specifically tried to game the system: Tom Steyer poured millions of his own money into Iowa ads to inflate his polling numbers there, and it nearly paid off.
Still acknowledging the traditional role of the early states, the DNC allowed both national polls and state polls from the early states to count toward qualifying polls. They ended up accepting 21 polls in the window given. A candidate had to obtain 2% support in 4 of those polls, with no two of their qualifying polls being from the same sponsor of the same geographic area.
The point of this, the DNC said, was to simulate the support that a candidate would need in order to carry a general election. If a candidate cannot sustain interest in 2% of America over the course of four polls, then what chance do they have in the actual election? If a candidate cannot convince 130,000 people to give them $1, then how will they convince enough to give them their vote in the correct configuration of states to add up to 270 electoral college votes?
Candidates like Bennet are crying about how unfair this is that the DNC is taking the choice away from the American people, but by setting up these rules, the DNC is actually giving the choice to the American people. Not just to the American people of four states, but the American people of the whole country of the United States of America. This showed especially by Steyer’s campaign: he gambled on Iowa being enough to get him to the debate stage, and it wasn’t. The country as a whole was speaking and saying “We prefer these ten.”
Now, maybe the candidates not on the debate stage have great ideas and plans to help America. Maybe they really just never got a chance. But if an Indiana mayor and a venture capitalist could gather the campaign forces to take off and meet the DNC’s rules, I don’t think you can argue that the system is biased toward the DNC’s choices and not the country’s.
This means, Michael Bennet, that America just isn’t that into you.
For the record, John Delaney also emailed to let me know that he didn’t make it onto the debate stage. He said this like it was brand new breaking news, as if the lineup wasn’t announced two days earlier and everyone who was actually paying attention to the race already knew. Delaney didn’t get mad at the DNC, though. He just said that he wasn’t about to give up.
Speaking of delayed news, Julian Castro let me know that he’s actually tied with Trump in a head-to-head match-up poll in Texas! He could flip Texas blue! Wouldn’t that be incredible!? One of the reddest states in the nation could go blue if only you elected Castro as your nominee!
NPR: Texas emerges as battleground state
Quickly — there are 3 critical things you need to know:
1. NPR just announced Democrats have an unprecedented shot to turn Texas blue.
2. Polls now show Julián INCHES from overtaking Trump in Texas. Wow.
3. If just 1,465 more Democrats pitch in before Julián’s End of Month Deadline in 24 hours, he won’t just reach his critical goal, he could overtake Trump in Texas, and pull off a HISTORIC upset. Will you rush $15? >>
When the press counted Julián out.
When the establishment said he was a longshot.
When the far right claimed someone from an immigrant family could never be President.
Julián rose up to prove every single one of them wrong.
And now, he’s about to make history in one of the reddest states in the entire country.Team Julian
I can just picture Beto O’Rourke’s face as he reads this. He’s been campaigning on “Texas is purple thanks to me, and I can flip it blue completely” for months now.
He’s also been beating Trump by the biggest margin in these head-to-head match-ups in Texas for months now.
But it’s sweet that Castro thinks this is his doing.
While other candidates have been revving up their debate prep, Pete Buttigieg emailed me twice to remind me about his debate ticket contest (as did Kamala Harris and Cory Booker). While Booker and Harris slipped it in as a “hey, if you donate, you could also get a chance to meet the candidate!” Buttigieg actually went so far as to invite me personally.
Before a winner’s selected, I wanted to make sure I invited you myself. I’m grateful for your support, and should we get the chance, I look forward to meeting you.Pete Buttigieg
Of course, he was only sending these reminders to his non-donor list…
And speaking of donors, that was all anyone seemed to want on Friday! Biggest facepalm went to Joe Biden for, can you guess?
Here’s the bad news: Other candidates spent hundreds of thousands more than us on online ads in August.
Why? Because we didn’t have the money to keep our digital ads live.
Every second our online ads are down, other candidates are convincing voters to support them — NOT JOE.
You know how important it is that Joe Biden is our nominee. He is our BEST CHANCE to defeat Trump. So will you rush a contribution now to make sure we don’t have to make ANY more budget cuts to our online ads?Biden for President HQ
That’s right: he’s out of ad money AGAIN.
Or is he?
This is a really important question. Because a number of our opponents are already on the air in Iowa, and some are spending quite significantly. Including Joe Biden. So thank you in advance for chipping in. It will mean a lot to our campaign in the immediate future.Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020
The truth is that we could be massively outspent if we don’t act now. Other candidates are pouring BIG money into TV and digital ads:
Joe Biden just booked $339k more in TV ads in Iowa.
Kamala Harris is up with another $117k in TV ads.
Tom Steyer, the self-funder, spent a staggering $12 million on ads!Jen O’Malley Dillon, Campaign Manager, Beto for America
Both Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke gave me some details about ad spending by other campaigns. It looks like, aside from Tom Steyer, Biden is the number one ad buyer. Pretty hard to keep buying ads without money…
One way to get money is to sell merch. Andrew Yang has some new releases that made me just cringe deep in my soul.
Again, I really have to wonder what’s going on with his design team. None of this speaks of a presidential campaign to me. Clearly, I’m not the demographic he’s targeting right now, but if he’s actually going to be President, he needs to be representing me too. Right now, this is making me want to run far, far away from him.
Then again, I just want to run far, far away from most of my emails at the moment.