Tuesday didn’t bring much in the way of emails, but it did bring some worrying numbers from Kamala Harris, some worrying trends from Joe Biden, and a worrying lack of respect for our inboxes from Julian Castro.
With only 2 emails, even the busiest campaigns of Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang were taking their time to ramp up again after the holidays. This certainly isn’t unusual, but it always makes a broad chart.
Money asks were starting to creep up again, with a whole 15 emails asking me to donate. Other notable asks were from Bill de Blasio asking me to share stories about what Universal Pre-K means to my family if it’s something I was able to take advantage of (nope) and Marianne Williamson who linked me to a feature article about her campaign in The New York Times and asked me to comment on it to help her campaign grow.
Kamala Harris gave me some good news and some bad news. She made her fundraising goal for August, just barely. Bad news, though: her fundraising dipped over the weekend by a lot more than expected.
Not just over the weekend. I went in and counted up every email in which a candidate was behind or needed my help to close the gap or get back on track. Over 1/3 of Harris’ emails had her fundraising behind. 36.84%. For a front-runner, I found this concerning. (Just for the record, Harris told me 2 times that she made her goal, 3 times that she surpassed it, and 4 times that she missed it. Compare to Joe Biden, who has never missed a goal, made his goal 1 time, and surpassed it 6 times.)
Out of the top five candidates, most of them were struggling with their fundraising. Joe Biden was behind in 28.91% of his emails. Elizabeth Warren was behind in 22.36%. Bernie Sanders was behind in 19.19%. The only candidate in the top five who has never once let me know he was struggling with his fundraising was Pete Buttigieg. He was one of only 4 candidates who has never been struggling, joining Marianne Williamson, Joe Sestak, and Wayne Messam (who honestly is struggling so bad he can’t even afford to tell me he’s struggling). While Messam and Sestak never give me any information about their goals, Williamson has told me 2 times that she made her goal, and Buttigieg has told me 3 times he made it and 8 times that he surpassed it.
There are not a lot of campaigns that could pull this off. But every single time this team has been called “too good to be true,” we’ve met the challenge with urgency, kindness, and innovation.Raven Hollins, Grassroots Investment Manager, Pete for America
I would like to take a moment to call out this quote from an email Buttigieg’s campaign sent me. Met the challenge with “urgency, kindness, and innovation.” Kindness isn’t a word you often hear from a politician. How many of us can think of an exchange with another politician’s supporters that was less than kind? I think it’s very telling that Buttigieg is using kindness to call out his supporters, especially when the current administration’s supporters tend to be identified by meanness.
On Wednesday evening, CNN will be hosting a climate change town hall with 10 of the candidates, the same ones who had qualified for the September debates. Cory Booker released his climate change policy in advance. Bernie Sanders reminded me of his Green New Deal policy and suggested I donate anything to get a GND sticker. Kamala Harris wants my input before the town hall and debates, while Elizabeth Warren just wanted my input on climate change. Tom Steyer, though not in the CNN town hall, was hosting his own town hall on Tuesday and wanted to remind me when it was starting.
Joe Sestak also launched a policy plan, but his was about Native American issues, and it seemed largely to be along the lines of “the government needs to do what it already said it would.”
Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar asked me to host debate watch parties, while Andrew Yang reminded me about his debate ticket contest. “Andrew needs a cheering section,” his email declared. I can’t say it was very convincing.
Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke are also both trying to get ahead of the pack. They theorize that the next set of debates will have an even more stringent requirement to get in, so they’re both trying to gather donors in advance.
Tim Ryan, meanwhile, is just trying to qualify for the October debates. He’s definitely not done, he assures me, no matter how many times people are saying his campaign is over.
Joe Biden sent out another “I know Joe” email from someone who had known him for a while, another character reference to convince me that he was the right guy to be President. Unfortunately, in light of more of his gaffes, this email seemed timed more to be a cover for his words.
And in the age of Twitter and perfect sound bites—people who are most interested in themselves, shaping their own image—Joe Biden is a man who, after more than 40 years of public service, still wants to give. I honestly get chills when I think about his empathy for and dedication to everyone but himself.
At a time when everything feels disingenuous and hand-crafted for a certain audience, Joe Biden is genuine.Captain Kevin Penn, Ret., United States Marine Corps, Biden for President.
Biden has recently been telling stories about a war hero in which he got every detail wrong. He later defended his story, saying the point of the story was correct, “I don’t know what the problem is. What is it that I said wrong?” and that details were irrelevant in decision making.
This last one was said to NPR just yesterday. Details were irrelevant.
We already have a President who believes details are irrelevant and who is praised for being “genuine” and “telling it like it is” instead of resorting to political correctness and… well, correctness. Our Democratic field is still huge. There are 20 “major” candidates that I’m tracking, and 10 in the next debate. We have a glut of options. Let’s not settle on the guy who at least isn’t quite as bad as the last one.
Despite this defense from Biden, Julian Castro was the candidate who made me recoil with the first line of his email. I am lucky enough that I don’t need content warnings, but in light of others in the race using content warnings in their emails, the way Castro began was… insensitive.
Content warning: Gun violence against a child. Next 4 paragraphs.
A 17 month old baby girl was shot in the face this weekend.Julian Castro
The email had the innocuous subject of “I need your signature.” The preview in my Gmail read “I need 50,000 signatures on my petition before midnight: Demand Mitch McConnell cancel the Senate’s vacation and pass gun safety laws…”
And then I opened it up to a child getting shot in the face.
I am a full supporter of sensible gun safety laws. I do not need to be shocked or horrified into action. I’ve called my Senators. I did not appreciate this email from Castro, and I suspect many of his supporters from his home state of Texas also did not need the reminder of the violence at Odessa so blatantly shoved in their faces.
Content warnings are not to coddle special snowflakes. They are simply advance warnings that what you’re about to read may be disturbing, and it’s your own choice to read ahead knowing the danger. It’s like upping the rating on a movie: rated R for violence and gore tells people who aren’t okay with violence and gore that this isn’t a movie they should watch. A content warning about gun violence tells people who aren’t okay with reading about gun violence that they should probably not read this email.
Giving a content warning doesn’t hurt anyone. In an email, it literally doesn’t cost anything extra. Not giving a content warning can hurt people, though.